It is fair to say that my fear of dentists was an all consuming fear. One that would fill me with anxiety even at the thought of having to lie in a dentist chair without a soul in the room.
This fear stemmed from a horrific (and might I add, completely unnecessary) experience as a child. Think pain, tears, being pinned to the chair and complete lack of control… not great. Which is why when I was told 15 years ago that I would need to have my wisdom teeth removed, I RAN in the other direction. I put it off again and again and again (15 years to be exact). I have used every excuse in the book. That was until last year when I knew I had no where left to hide.
In a bid to overcome this fear, I went searching for a local holistic dentist, who wouldn’t put me under a general anaesthetic. I searched high and low and I found the incredible Dr Chris. With some coaxing, I booked in for a 2 x 2 removal (2 at a time). He also removed my amalgam fillings (you can read all about why I wanted this done here).
After a long chat with Dr Chris, I felt better about the procedure, but as the build up to the big event occurred, I stupidly went searching for comfort from others. Some word’s of advice… DON’T DO THIS.
Every time I mentioned “wisdom teeth removal” it was always attached to an unpleasant story filled with black and blue bruising, cascading blood or unbearable pain. Even when I bought up the stories with close friends (who I was hoping would protect me from the truth), it was met with “oh geez, that sucks”, “oh you poor thing” with these sympathetic ‘oh my god, you don’t know what you’re in for’ looks on their faces. As you can imagine, the fear and apprehension that Dr Chris laid to rest, was raring it’s ugly head again.
I started to feel sorry for myself. I started my own ‘pity party’. Why couldn’t all my teeth just fit, they were so close to doing so, why was it that they just couldn’t? Why couldn’t I be one of the lucky people who didn’t have all four teeth? If I didn’t put it off for so long, it would be over already! Oh don’t worry, I went into a full list of ‘why me’. It was during this ‘oh poor me’ wallowing that I realised I had to change my mindset.
I knew that in order to make it through this experience, l had to break it down into steps. The worst part (the extraction) is over in less than 30 minutes, then the recovery begins. I am not the first person to go through this and I won’t be the last. I look after my body, I am healthy and my recovery will be quick and simple, I am avoiding a general anaesthetic (winning), my wisdom teeth are causing unnecessary inflammation that my body has to cope with, having them out is for the better. It will improve my health. I can do this, I can do this, I can do this. I replayed this over and over in my head until I felt empowered about the situation and I am pleased to report… I did it!! Twice!!
For those who are yet to have their wisdom teeth removed, I am pleased to report there was no cascading blood, no black and blue jaw, no unbearable pain. It was nothing like I was made to believe, even with an impacted tooth on the bottom jaw, stitches and the works! It’s fair to say the ‘pity party’ build-up to the event was far more daunting than the actual procedure. I honestly feel like all the unneccessary stress I put myself under was far worse than the actual event itself. I honestly came out of the chair and turned to Dr Chris and said “Is that it?”. He laughed and sent me on my way.
All of this got me thinking. Bad news stories travel fast, they travel wide and they stick in our minds much longer than the good ones do. Since having my wisdom teeth removed, I have gone searching for ONLY the positive ‘wisdom teeth’ experiences. What I realised was just how much can change when you change your mindset, it’s amazing the number of people that came forward. I can wholeheartedly say that I have now heard (and experienced) more positive stories than I have negative (including that of the people that have returned to work after their procedure!).
What I took from this experience:
- Don’t make a mountain out of a mole hill, other people’s experiences aren’t necessarily your own.
- Go with your gut instincts – I could have easily surrendered and gone under a GA to have my wisdom teeth removed, but I persisted with what I knew was right for my body and I avoided it completely – gut health saved!
- Find someone you trust to look after you – I can’t thank the amazing Dr Chris and his team enough.
- Realise that if you look after your body, it will heal in ways you never thought it could. I even skipped the heavy duty pain-killers! I am still so proud of my body and how quickly it has recovered. I am so grateful for my health.
Have you got a positive wisdom teeth story? Make sure you share it around!
Additional Info: A few tips for those yet to have their teeth removed:
- I took my iPod into the dentist chair. I turned it up and played music and podcasts through the whole procedure.
- I applied an ice-pack as soon as I got home and throughout the afternoon. I swear this reduced my inflammation ten fold.
- During the first few days of recovery, I organic green juiced my way to recovery. Thanks to ‘The Living Juice Co‘ for making it possible. My reducing the task of ‘digestion’, my body was able to focus it’s attention on repair.
- I skipped the mouthwash (it’s kills good bacteria as well as bad) and opted for a gentle warm salt water wash only.
- I was given a prescription for some heavy duty pain-killers after they removed my impacted wisdom tooth. I am so pleased to report that I managed to get by on a paracetemol tablet alone. Have a little faith in your body and switch on the positive mindset. You won’t believe how much it helps.
- If you have to take antibiotics (or go under a GA) make sure you follow up with a course (or 5) of probiotics. See your naturopath or holistic health specialist for a reputable recommendation. These procedures can damage our gut-health considerably and your gut health MUST be repaired in order to ensure ongoing health. Changing Habits also provide an organic, food based probiotic range available here.
- In addition to the probiotics, ensure you start a whole host of restorative gut health procedures… see my posts on Bone Broth and Sauerkraut.
If you have any other tips of tricks for wisdom tooth recovery, please be sure to add them below.