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View Full Version : Adult wisdom teeth removal with general: How many days off of work?


paa3838
12-19-2004, 06:38 AM
I'm planning on having all four wisdom teeth removed next month, and I am definitely doing it under general anesthesia.

For those of you who have done it this way as an adult, how many days did you take off of work afterwards? (Or, if you could do it again, how many days would you take off of work?) I have a job where standing, talking, and constant alertness to small details is important.

Beware of Doug
12-19-2004, 07:04 AM
I had all 4 out at age 30. All severely impacted, needing gauze pack and a few stitches. You'll probably have at least the gauze pack (mine was clove oil impregnated - everything tasted like cloves for a month - haven't gone near cloves since).

My recovery was protracted - 2 weeks without chew-food, 3 without hard stuff like chips, 4 with the gauze pack (changed 2 weeks out). I've talked to folks who were up and around again after a week, still others who got back in the harness after 2-3 days or even the next day (some ill advisedly).

My first week passed in a haze of Percodan, ice packs and malted milk. (Oddly pleasant actually.) I could stand and talk OK after about a week, and after switching to Advil to kill pain & check inflammation, I was reasonably attentive (I'm ADD, so that's relative). I began a limited work schedule after 2 1/2 weeks or so.

All in all, I'd ask for at least a week (unless your workplace is an absolute Stalag, in which case take it very easy at work and make them feel guilty for having you there). Most importantly - ask your oral surgeon.

Scruloose
12-19-2004, 08:43 AM
I had all four removed in boot camp. I was back to getting my ass kicked the next day.

I got ice cream though!

Moirai
12-19-2004, 09:31 AM
My recovery was faster because I didn't have pre-op drugs. If a general is used, I couldn't see the point of having valium or a similar narcotic to "help me relax" before putting me under! Give me a break. Besides, I'm an addict so drugs were a no-go.

So, instead of being groggy and messed up for a day or two, I was awake and (relatively) cheerful about 15 minutes after the surgery, and able to do just about anything. I think I went back to work in a day or two with no problems. I irrigated the holes with water, tried not to loosen the clots, and smoked although I wasn't supposed to (sucking on anything can tear your blood clots out, and smoking puts really bad germs in your open sockets).

I really suggest no pre-op drugs. Useless to help you go under, and recovery was much faster. YMMV, of course.

mike1dog
12-19-2004, 09:37 AM
Heck, I ate a steak the night of my surgery. My mother and brother were lying in bed in agony for a couple of days. I think it all depends on the skill of the dentist, how badly they're impacted, and your pain tolerance.

LSLGuy
12-19-2004, 09:38 AM
Had all 4 of mine done in college; whether that qualifies as "adult" is up to you. I missed the next day at school more for laziness than necessity, and was back to the grind the day after that. Not aM! big deal at all.

Viscera
12-19-2004, 10:03 AM
I had all mine out at 24 or so. The surgery (with general anesthesia) was early morning, and I was so groggy I don't remember getting driven home afterwards. I woke up in the afternoon sometime. I'm pretty sure I would've been fine to go to work the next day, the pain pills I got (Ultram and Lorcet?) worked really well when I needed to take them (optional).

Two were impacted and two weren't.

don't ask
12-19-2004, 10:12 AM
But let us not forget (http://mirror.co.uk/news/allnews/tm_objectid=14983306&method=full&siteid=50143&headline=wisdom-tooth-op-man-bled-to-death-name_page.html) this little gem

JThunder
12-19-2004, 10:16 AM
Didn't take ANY days off for this procedure.

Mr. Blue Sky
12-19-2004, 10:33 AM
I had the first three done on a Friday afternoon and was back to work on Monday.

The fourth one was done on Thursday afternoon and I took Friday off just because I wanted to.

Quartz
12-19-2004, 12:41 PM
I had all four out - all were impacted - and was off work for a week.

lexi
12-19-2004, 02:07 PM
I had all four out at 25 including one in the bottom which was impacted and they had to break it apart to get it apart - freezing only and I was back to school the next day.

zweisamkeit
12-19-2004, 02:09 PM
Man, I feel lucky!

I only had 2 wisdom teeth and both came in rather straight; I only needed them pulled because I didn't have quite enough room in my jaw and they would eventually push my other teeth out of alignment (didn't want the cost of those braces I had to go to waste ;)).

I just went to my dentist, he used a bunch of novacaine, pulled them out and packed the holes with gauze. I only had to have a couple of Tylenol the first day and it felt softly bruised if I gently clenched my teeth. That was it.

'Course, if there's any deity up there, he probably let me off the hook, pain-wise, for all the freaking out I did about "omigod, what if I get dry socket? OMG OMG OMG OMG". I was seriously freaking the heck out. So I think he threw me a bone, there. ;)

yosemite
12-19-2004, 02:13 PM
It was three days for me. The first day was a haze with some pain pill that made me feel very otherworldly (and not entirely pleasant). I stayed in bed for most of that day. The next day I decided I'd had enough of that, but I was still woozy and unsteady. Day three was better but I was glad I did not have to go to work.

ussentinel
12-19-2004, 06:30 PM
As you can see by the responses, everyone's recovery is different. Maybe try to schedule the surgery for later in the week.

I'm 37 and had mine out last February on a Thursday at noon. I had general anesthesia, but remember parts of the procedure. I suspect my anesthesia level was closely monitored. Although it felt like I was out for five minutes, I had been in the chair for a little over a hour. I crashed in bed for the rest of the day and felt fine on Friday (though I asked for the day off ahead of time just in case), though some told me I looked out of it. I was back to work on Monday. Not to scare you, but I couldn't believe how bloody the gauze was. Make sure they give you a plastic syringe to irrigate your sockets afterward.

Good luck, and keep us posted!

Eva Luna
12-19-2004, 06:33 PM
Totally depends. I've had wisdom teeth out twice (the first time he wanted to do all of them instead of just the side that was impacted, but like an idiot I told him I didn't believe in preventive surgery). I was back at work the next day, albeit a bit groggy and uncomfortable.

The second time, several years later, it really knocked me on my butt for almost a week. Of corse, a court interpreter who can't open her mouth properly isn't very useful anyway, plus I had lots of sick time, so it wasn't much of a problem.

I tried to avoid the post-op painkillers and stick to ibuprofen as much as possible after the first day or so - feeling groggy from codeine to me was worse than just dealing with the pain.

BobT
12-19-2004, 06:38 PM
I took 3 days off because the doctor wrote me a note saying I had to take 3 days off.

On day 2, I went to Disneyland.

Lamia
12-19-2004, 06:47 PM
The general anaesthetic is going to make it take much longer before you feel yourself again, although "much longer" could mean anything from a few hours to a couple of days. It's usually best to avoid the general unless there's some kind of complication that's going to make the procedure more lengthy, difficult, or painful than usual.

Two of my wisdom teeth had already partially emerged when I had them out, so they just had to be pulled. No cutting, no big deal. Just a shot and a yank.

My other two were copming in impacted and did have to be removed surgically, but that wasn't a whole lot worse. I mean the procedure itself wasn't much worse. The recovery was, because I developed the dreaded "dry socket". This is easily treatable (the above-mentioned clove-soaked gauze), but extremely painful.

So if you manage to avoid dry socket you'll probably be fine in a day or two, otherwise you could be in for a week or more of suffering. Unfortunately, it's not always possible to predict or prevent dry socket, although some people are at more risk than others.

I Love Me, Vol. I
12-19-2004, 07:11 PM
I had general anesthesia, but remember parts of the procedure. I suspect my anesthesia level was closely monitored. Although it felt like I was out for five minutes, I had been in the chair for a little over a hour. If you remember parts of it then it probably wasn't general anesthesia (unless the anesthesiologist really screwed up).

I suspect what some people are calling general anesthesia in this thread is really a "twilight" anesthesia. Something like a valium IV drip that basically knocks you out so you don't remember much if anything, yet you are still not completely under thereby reducing the chance of something going really sideways.

And don't you need a mask over your mouth and nose for a general? If so, how would the surgeon get to your teeth??

kunilou
12-19-2004, 11:00 PM
All right, now count backward from one hundred.

One hundred. Ninety-ni...

I had two cut out in the afternoon and was back at work the next morning. Big mistake. That was during my era as a broadcaster, and my boss pulled me off the air after less than an hour -- apparently I was suffering from a full-blown case of mushmouth.

Standing? Not a problem. Constant alertness? Not a problem. Talking? Big problem.

Take a long weekend.

Zsofia
12-19-2004, 11:44 PM
It entirely depends on your individual teeth and surgery. I wasn't an adult - I was 13 - but I needed the whole Spring Break week and could have used more. Swelled up like a chipmunk and bruised from my cheekbones to my collarbones. Miserable. And then, some of my friends had them out under the general and could have been up the next day. It all depends on your teeth.

paa3838
12-20-2004, 03:22 AM
Thanks for the opinions, everyone. I'm a bit of a wuss... I think I'll ask for 3 days, at least.

(That story about the man bleeding to death freaks me out a bit, but certainly validates those fears that have kept me with my wisdom teeth for the last 15 years... )

Chastain86
12-20-2004, 10:43 AM
I just had mine out in April of this year.

Ask for a week. I was fine after about 3 days, but a week will definitely hedge your bets.

ussentinel
12-20-2004, 12:03 PM
If you remember parts of it then it probably wasn't general anesthesia (unless the anesthesiologist really screwed up).

I suspect what some people are calling general anesthesia in this thread is really a "twilight" anesthesia. Something like a valium IV drip that basically knocks you out so you don't remember much if anything, yet you are still not completely under thereby reducing the chance of something going really sideways.

And don't you need a mask over your mouth and nose for a general? If so, how would the surgeon get to your teeth??

Point. And I should've clarified that. I apologize for any misunderstanding.

However my bill said I had "general anesthesia," and if that's what I was charged for (the majority of my bill), I'd certainly want them to knock my ass out.

I'm not an expert, and I don't know if you need a mask over your nose and mouth for a general. Some I've talked to, said they had an IV to put them under general.

Asteroide
12-20-2004, 06:18 PM
I had mine out a few years back, and it was a little like the guy in the article.

The actual surgery lasted about an hour, and got pretty physical towards the end - she had to break up a couple of the teeth with various power tools, and then yank the fragments using brute force. Six years later I still have a footprint shape indelibly scarred on my forehead - well not really, but it was still kind of rough.

So I made it home, and lay down to take a nap. A couple of hours later I woke up feeling kind of damp and dizzy, and opened my eyes to find that I was lying in a slowly spreading pool of blood.

Got on the phone to the medical center where I'd had the teeth out, explained my problem as I bled into the phone, only to find that they were closing for the day and my surgeon was away teaching a class at the medical school.

Got a cab to the medical school, and ended up getting re-stitched in front of a group of gawking students - without benefit of anesthetic (can't do you twice in one day without an anesthesiologist y'know).

Not a happy memory.

So I guess the moral of the story is - don't use aspirin in the weeks before an operation (aspirin was apparently the probable culprit), and you may need a couple of days to recover, depending on your particular condition.

Medea's Child
12-20-2004, 06:32 PM
It really depends on how much damage your head is going to be taking to get them out.

I had all four out and was social and together within three days. (That was also when we discovered that I am alergic to sulfa drugs and that vicodin makes me puke. It was a *fun* week.)

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