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Post-wisdom tooth surgery anxiety

alwaysworried

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Got my wisdom teeth taken out yesterday. I was terrified, nearly had a panic attack in the chair. They used IV sedation so once I was out it wasn’t too bad. Surgery went well, but I’m really anxious now. My anxiety tends to be triggered by physical sensations and you can imagine I’m feeling a lot of different ones right now. Constantly worrying about dry socket, infection, too much swelling, etc. even though I am following post op orders and resting. I have a follow up in a week. To make matters worse, I happened to get my period on the same day as the surgery (double the anxiety...fun) which comes with its own side effects and I haven’t been able to sleep that well even after being sedated which I’m sure doesn’t help with the anxiety.
I guess I just need to vent a little bit. I hear after the first 4 days it gets much better. I’m actually not really in much pain which is good. I’ve been taking Advil every six hours. They prescribed pain killers, and I took half of one yesterday, but the Advil is enough for me right now and doesn’t make me feel weird. Just wish I could sleep better, and I feel so on edge. I feel really tired, almost to the point of being “woozy” (though that could also be anxiety) yet I just can’t fall asleep. My family keeps reminding me that I’ve just had surgery, and that plus not getting much sleep before OR after surgery is bound to make me more tired than usual. It’s just hard to know I’ll feel like this for the next few days too. Anxiety makes everything worse. Anyone have some tips or words of encouragement? I worry a lot about infection even though I (gently) rinse my mouth out after eating and they have me on antibiotics for 10 days to deter infection. There’s just so many things runnning through my head, so many worries, and as I’m confined to the couch for a few days I can’t seem to shake myself out of it.
 

The Worried Well

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Sort of an "it is what it is" situation, but obviously you must have needed the procedure. I remember when I was dating my wife she had I think 2 or 3 wisdom teeth extracted. She was of course miserable, but I recall it got better slowly each day. By the time you go back next week you should be 90% better. Infections can be treated in the off chance that happens. This too will pass.
 

suzzeeb

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Oh my gosh! You sound exactly like me! I had 2 wisdom teeth removed in September (had 2 out when I was younger). I knew I needed them out for a long time but even thinking about it would raise my anxiety so much I never did it. Well this time I knew I had to, so 2 months after a heart procedure, which was no big deal but terrifying to me, I was scheduled to have my wisdom teeth out. Bad decision. I was in such an anxiety spiral already that I wasn't sleeping and feeling terrible but went through with it anyway. Like you, I could not sleep afterwards. My pain wasn't bad either. I only took 1/2 of a pain pill because they make me sick and feel terrible so was only taking ibuprofen. I was constantly worried something was wrong and must have called that office a million times in the first few days afterward. I even went in once because I thought they were infected because I thought they were bleeding too much. He said everything looked good and it was fine, but I seriously have not been the same since all that. I'm still in my anxiety state! I think the 2 procedures within a couple months just pushed me too far or something. The wisdom teeth thing is so not a big deal so I have no idea why its so devastating. I'm glad they are out but yeah it was rough mentally for some reason.
 

alwaysworried

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Thanks guys, this made me feel better. I'm now on day 4 post-op and am feeling much better, probably because my physical symptoms (mostly just pain) have lessened and the sedative and painkillers I took on the first day are out of my system. Feel pretty good today to go without Advil (we'll see, anyway) but still going to take it easy. Still continually worrying about dry socket but I guess all I can do is follow the instructions they gave me. I did cough accidentally this morning, which can dislodge the blood clot, so I'm a bit worried about that but I guess all I can do is wait and see. So far I seem to be healing nicely, wasn't even too swollen (I was lucky though, none of mine were severely impacted and they were all pretty close to the gum line). Fingers crossed I'm out of the woods for dry socket soon and that these holes close up in a week or two!
 

Natsuka

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Still continually worrying about dry socket but I guess all I can do is follow the instructions they gave me. I did cough accidentally this morning, which can dislodge the blood clot, so I'm a bit worried about that but I guess all I can do is wait and see.
Hello, there!

Interestingly, your situation is so close to mine. I had two upper back teeth removed last thursday. So this is monday, basically 4th day after the operation, or 5th, depending on how to count it.

I didn't need to take pain medication after the operation - it has been almost painless - just slight throbs and such here and there. I was also very worried when I had to cough and suddenly sneezed and such. But I take 'no pain' as a good sign, I started eating solid food on sunday, and today continued that trend. It was a bit sensitive and throbbing while and after eating (potatoes, tuna, soft bread, cheese, sort of lettuce, bananas, yoghurt, mandarins for dessert), but after I 'cleaned' it carefully with just water, and used the disinfectant (also very carefully), it's been fine.

I am also worried about dry socket, but I think that would've happened to both of us already, and it would be very painful, I think.

I understand your situation very well - my situation has some social components (no people in my life, and the only individual that was in my life for almost a week, kinda dumped me), some unspecified components (I have no idea why the anxiety started around 10th of November, and ever since, have been on-and-off, fluctuating, always back there, waiting to have me for lunch, and yesterday really pounced and tore me apart so I had to cry and go for a long walk and pray and play video games until I finally felt good enough to let exhaustion force me to sleep).

I have an appointment in a couple of days, and my sleeping rhythm has been bad - so when I only slept for 5 hours, I figured it's a good opportunity to just stay awake until evening and try to go to sleep. Apparently I am here instead, d'oh!

Anyway, how is your situatio now? I would be very glad to hear how you are doing. Did they stitch you? They had to stitch my hole as it was so big from two neighbouring teeth having been removed.

I am hoping that the 'hygienist' I have appointment to, can inspect how well the holes are doing, and doesn't accidentally bump into it with some sharp object (so many worries)..

It's odd, how tough it can mentally and psychologically be to lose teeth. It should be like clipping nails (except teeth don't grow back), but somehow it's some kind of 'self-identity' and 'personality' issue - I feel like lesser being now that I don't have full teeth anymore.

Then again, I have no one in my life, so there's no one that can judge me or think less of me because of missing teeth.

I hope I can sleep early tonight.. anyways, I hope you great feeling and hopefully your anxiety will lessen as you get more and more used to your new teeth setup.

Do you have more teeth that have to be pulled out? I probably do, so it's also very scary.. do I have to do this soup+yoghurt-thing again with another teeth or more than one? Agh.. this is already enough of a hassle.

But thank Goodness, it has been pretty much painless - so much so, that I sometimes forget, and my tongue has this reflex of touching the tooth that are suddenly not there, and bumps into the back tooth instead, so it feels a bit weird, and sometimes I feel the stitches, too. But I try my best to not let my tongue wonder towards that area.. I hope to also post here at least after the tooth have had time to heal properly. Maybe I can start chewing with both sides in a couple of weeks.
 

alwaysworried

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Anyway, how is your situatio now? I would be very glad to hear how you are doing. Did they stitch you? They had to stitch my hole as it was so big from two neighbouring teeth having been removed.
Hi! I'm glad your extraction went well, and you're right! No pain is good! It's been 2 weeks since my extraction, and I'm doing well. I didn't get any stitches so I've had open holes in my mouth for a while now, but they're almost completely closed now. I think in a few days or so they will be completely closed! I had a follow up last week and they said everything looked good, so that was a huge weight off my shoulders.

Luckily I got all four teeth out at once, so I don't have to go back for another extraction. The first few days were definitely the worst. I hope you can sleep better soon! Like you, I am looking forward to chewing normally and eating foods that aren't super soft. I still have to rinse my mouth out every time after I eat until the holes close up though. I feel pretty good about chewing (no pain), but I'm too scared of getting food stuck in the holes to chew normally with my back teeth so I've been sticking with softer foods and chewing with my front teeth. Not super fun, but the holes should close up really soon. Otherwise, I'm back to "normal" life, and feel I have enough energy to exercise which has helped my mood. I've also been sleeping a lot better now that I can sleep on my side and without my head elevated.

Going back to get the bottom teeth out doesn't sound like fun, but if it makes you feel better, I think the bottom ones are easier to take care of. I can actually see the site and make sure I'm keeping it clean, and make sure it doesn't look red or inflamed. And you'll be a pro the second time around!

For me, the anxiety was not so much that I was missing teeth, but I was afraid of infection and dry socket. The good news for you is that dry socket usually happens with the lower teeth (and even then it's pretty rare), and you're already on day five, so it's looking good! Just keep doing what you're doing and all will be well. I'm sorry to hear you've been having a difficult time lately. You can always come here to talk, there are a lot of helpful people here. I would love to hear how your follow up appointment goes! Wishing you the best!
 

Natsuka

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Hey, and thank you for your kind and informative reply!

I am glad to hear you are doing so well, it gives me hope, too. I had a pretty good morning today.

When you rinse your mouth, can you 'swish' already, or do you have to be careful? I don't know what I am doing, so I just try to be as careful as possible, but I would like to start being able to 'swish' a bit.

Also, I plan to use 'salt water' instead of regular water soon, but not sure, when would be safe.

So basically you had all wisdom teeth taken out, so you have a hole in every back portion of the jaws? I mean, upper left, upper right, lower left, lower right? That must be so scary, there's no 'safe side' to fall back on.

I have a 'hygienist' appointment tomorrow, I have no idea what they're going to do, besides probably removing the remaining ~20% of the tartar and plaque and such.

The tooth that has a deep cavity hasn't really been bothering me, except a very tiny throb here and there - nothing to affect sleep, for example.

It's actually a top left back tooth, sorry if I was a bit unclear about that. My top right two back teeth have been removed.

Did you use a disinfectant for the holes? I am using something for after meals, because I usually eat two times a day, and it has to be taken two times a day, and can't be taken right after brushing.

That's so neat that they're almost completely closed already for you, I hope everything will be fine and you can chew normally soon. I sometimes accidentally chew a little bit also on the right side, although mostly on the left, of course. So far, so good.

I kind of envy you that you know exactly what caused your anxiety. To me, it just came out of the blue sky (although 'dark, cloudy sky' would be more accurate), and I had no idea what caused it.

It's just this new, unexplainable feeling of 'have to escape' combined with 'pressure inside that makes it hard to breathe', and every memory or thought somehow makes it worse.. it's a terrible situation, when anything can 'trigger'.

Can you please elaborate why the first few days were worst? For me, it was because I didn't dare eat much, and I am struggling with coffee, so I didn't dare drink that, either, and then the anxieties and all. And then having to only eat 'liquid' stuff became annoying after awhile.

And of course the worry of 'am I doing it right', and all the other worries, like dry socket, etc.

Do you live where it's very dark as well, and not many hours of daylight yet?

I can usually sleep all right, but for some reason, my sleep has been kinda short lately

(although last night, I -think- I slept about 8ish hours - I just forced myself to stay in bed even though I wasn't 'sleepy enough', but I wasn't too anxious, so I don't know when I finally fell asleep, but I went to bed about 23:30 pm or so)

The thing is, my sleeping rhythm causes me extra stress, because I have to be awake tomorrow at 06 am and I got so tired at 14:00 today that I had to take a nap, which only lasted 1.5 hours, so maybe I can sleep more tonight. If not, I can just drink coffee, and hopefully get to the 'hygienist'.

All these 'appointments' that collide with my 'natural sleeping rhythm' cause me to try to force my sleeping rhythm to a certain pattern, and that causes incredible amount of stress, because I usually fail..

The small details also worry me, like .. should I brush before a nap, and with my weird sleeping on and off, I can't always know if I have taken something 'twice a day' or not, because it the day might change while I am still awake.

I am glad you also have no pain when chewing - you're so brave for having 4 extractions simultaneously, but it'll be better in the long run so you don't have to go through this many times.

I also try to make my food still as soft as possible, I mash the potatoes a lot so they're just a 'mass', then mix it with similarly mashed boiled eggs and tuna, then eat 'bun'-type soft bread.

However, this is close to my normal diet anyway, but I guess I can say goodbye to pizzas and more artificial desserts that contain lots of sugar and such. (The kind of wiener-style stuff I used to eat, is hard to explain)

Do you floss? I have never been able to do it, but now I have started to try it, and it's really difficult and I think I am doing it wrong, and I can't even reach every tooth gap.

I plan to buy a 'water flosser' so I can at least do that part properly.

They have created a device that all you have to do is bite on it - it's like 'teeth-shaped', so you can just bite into it, and it flosses and brushes for you (you just have to provide the toothpaste), and then you just take it out of your mouth.

This would be the best thing ever (I think it'll catch on), but with missing teeth and those holes left behind, I wouldn't dare use it until it's customizable to different tooth configurations.

The left tooth is too far back for me to visually inspect it, and I am a bit colorblind, so I can't see this kind of 'shades of red' so well to know if it's inflamed or whatnot. But thank you for your advice.

My exercize is usually long walks, but today I was too tired (probably sleep debt and no coffee for a couple of days, I am saving that for when I really need the coffee to stay awake so I can at least make the appointment), and my muscles feel strangely exhausted.

What kind of exercize have you been able to do? I wish I could get back to 'normal life', too..

One interesting thing I want to mention - I started having it pretty bad yesterday, anxiety-wise, and I found this youtube video about 'hypnosis', so I watched it (well, listened to it eyes closed), and I think it did help.

The first part of today I was tired, but I didn't feel too bad, I almost felt small bits of joy and was able to work on an old project of mine a bit (programming - but it's the fun kind, making something visual happen, like a tiny story).

Dry socket happens with lower teeth? That's great news! Unless my lower teeth need to be extracted (I hope not). Thanks a lot, that is a load off my mind!

Yeah, I am hoping this is a temporary anxiety period in my life, and that spring will help it, and hopefully I could meet some people so my life wouldn't be completely devoid of social contact, like it is now.

I mean, obviously there are forums and 'online voice chat' systems, but somehow I am a bit shy to use everything, I only do those rarely.

Anyway, just in case you might be interested, the video that helped me at least take the edge off the anxiety was something called "Stop Panic & Anxiety - Hypnosis CD - By Minds in Unison".

I am getting kind of nervous about tomorrow - the unknown always scares us people, I guess. I have no idea what they're going to do, how long it's going to be, what the fate of that 'deep cavity tooth' in the back might be, and whether more tooth will be extracted, and when, and which, and how many.

It's hard to make peace with all this kind of stuff so suddenly, but at least my gums don't seem to bleed anymore when brushing, and if I am not mistaken, the color might be more healthy (but as I mentioned, hard to see as a bit color blind individual).

Sorry to hear about your front teeth chewing trouble - my front teeth don't even touch or align properly, so it would be impossible for me.

In any case, I hope we can both soon just 'enjoy normal life' - I am looking forward to when I can just focus on life and enjoyment, and feel actual joy again, and not have the Damocles' sword hanging over me all the time anymore.

Thank you for your reply again, this kind of correspondence really cheers me up! I hope you are well and will be able to feel great joy.




Hey, and thank you
 

alwaysworried

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I started rinsing my mouth the second day with warm salt water, I was very gentle at first because I didn't want to dislodge the clot but as the days went on I started doing it a little more vigorously. I'd say after day 4, 5 ish I was able to swish "normally". Of course, it all depends on the person and how fast they're healing. At that point I didn't have any pain and it didn't hurt, so I felt comfortable being putting a little more effort into it.

I floss with regular old dental floss. I only did the front teeth the first few days because I couldn't open my mouth wide enough to get near the back teeth (my jaw was very sore), but I'm flossing normally now and have been for a week or so. I've never used a water flosser! They sound great, but I'd be sure to ask your dentist before you go and buy one - I know that they recommend to avoid water flossers for a certain amount of time after getting extractions, not sure how long though.

I hope your appointment goes well, and I hope your anxiety gets better as well. I've had anxiety for many years, but I've been in a rut of severe anxiety since August. I think I'm slowly starting to get better each day. At the worst points I couldn't even exercise, something I normally enjoy, because my heart rate would increase and my brain would just associate it with a panic attack even though I knew it was from exercise. So I've been slowly working my way up, getting back in shape and just doing a little at a time - that's why I'm so happy I've been exercising again, it feels good to make some progress! It was so frustrating to know that exercise would probably help with my anxiety, but being to anxious to actually do it. There have definitely been a lot of setbacks, but I think I'm slowly but surely getting closer to "normal" (though I can't even remember what "normal" feels like). It's bad enough to have anxiety, and when you think of all that's happened in the world, it's no wonder that people are feeling more anxious than ever right now. There are a lot of great books out there on anxiety that can help, and if you're able to do so therapy might help as well. I myself haven't been to a therapist yet (kind of scares me), but a lot of people swear by therapy.

I'll be taking a break from the forums for a little while, but I hope your appointment goes well! I'm sure it will! The unknown is scary, but they'll probably just poke around in your mouth for a minute or two to make sure everything is healing nicely. And you'll feel better afterward too :) I hope your sleep sorts itself out soon as well! I think being sleep deprived can really make everything harder to deal with. Good luck!
 

Natsuka

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Hello again, and thank you for the quick and sympathetic reply!

Sad to see you leave the forums, but I am glad that you are getting better.

I had no idea you have had anxiety for so long, that must be devastating. I am actually having hard time breathing even right now, and I don't know what could help. I tried camomille tea earlier in the day, and even that video I mentioned, but it didn't help this time for some reason.

I am not sure if what I have is 'anxiety' exactly, but I don't have another word for it. 'Hard to breathe' is the base physical symptom, and complete lack of joy and ability to enjoy anything. Then almost any thought or video or sentence or text can trigger a horrible feeling of being 'trapped' and that everything is a catastrophe. I read the words 'mystical birdhat', and that felt scary and awful for some reason.

I can't understand what's going on, and what's happening to me. I can't wait to feel more 'normal' again, I can't even think of trying to sleep, there's no way I could close my eyes and just try to sleep - and it's kinda late already now (01:13 am, I have to take a shower at 06:30 am to get to the appointment in time).

What scares you about a therapist? All they really do is talk and ask questions, I think. I have been to a couple long time ago, and could consider it if nothing else helps. But it's difficult nowadays, and could be a bit expensive in the long run.

I have been afraid to exercize, as they said you're not supposed to strain yourself 'during the post-surgery days'. But it didn't mention how many days.

You already swished at that point, and already used salt water that early? Ooh, I have been too careful?

Thank you, I guess I can start swishing from now on, and use salt water, too.

Yes, you are right about sleep deprivation, I haven't had a proper good sleep for a long time, and I have probably lots of sleep debt. But I am SO alert when I am in this panicky anxious mode, can't sleep for sure. If I go lay down, my own thoughts will probably murder me..

I am trying to find youtube videos that could give some solutions or relief, my next plan is also to, if I can, tomorrow go to a natural food store and try to possibly buy multiple 'natural calming things', camomille tea doesn't seem to have a strong enough impact.

I am thinking of alcohol more and more every time I get this kind of awful anxious feeling - at least it would feel different. However, I am afraid I might become addicted and.. well, it's just not a long-term solution.

I am also very worried about aging - I never thought about aging that much, I figured it will take care of itself and all that, but now that my body is becoming older and starts to exhibit this type of symptoms, like gum disease, my mind races towards all kinds of horrible future possibilities so easily.. I don't know what can happen. If THIS can happen, maybe something even worse can, too.

No one plans to get old and sick, but many people do.. the body is so resilient, so it can keep going even when sick.

Frankly, I'd rather take some more familiar, or purely physical illness (except toothache) instead of this anxiety. If my arm muscle got a wound or something, it'd be easier to deal with than this abyss of deep horror inside of me.

I am so sad to hear that you have had anxiety for that long - have you taken medications? What relief have you tried? Did you try all the recommended things? I watched some youtube videos of someone explaining about things, like "3 Instantly Calming CBT Techniquest for Anxiety", but those kind of things don't really remove the feeling, even if they calm me down. One of them kinda worked somewhat. Thinking about the future 'expected good feeling' made me almost experience that good feeling, so thoughts can possibly alter the condition a little bit.

But I feel it's something so deep and it's always underlining my life, it's just there in the background, even if I am not fully panicking about it, and when I try to just be calm, it's suddenly there, making me worry and react with horrible feeling about any thought, memory or video.

Things that normally haven't, and would never make me feel anything bad, can make me feel like it's the end of the world (or more like, I wish it was, so this would end.. sorry).

I guess part of the problem is that I don't have a life - I have no people in my life besides these online forums and such, I don't even have an email companion anymore, or a pen-pal of any kind. I don't have a career, prospects, or place to go every day. So I just sit at home, looking at the daylight hopefully get brighter, and then get depressed when the daylight disappears way too soon every day.

The evenings and nights are the worst - I can never go to sleep at good hour, like 21:00 pm or even 00:00 midnight... I usually get exhausted, sleepy and tired JUST when I am not supposed to.

My karma must be pretty horrid.

Anyway, I hope you can get good sleep and are able to heal yourself, and I am happy you are able to exercize - it supposedly helps a lot! I tried playing some exercize games on my Wii, and I got a bit out of breath, but it didn't prevent the anxiety.

Enduring this seems impossible - if I couldn't play a certain online video game (which has a small social component, too, which helps), I don't know how I would be ever able to cope with this. It's the only thing I can use to make myself kind of forget how bad I feel. The feeling is still there, but when I am not focused on it, my mind is 'elsewhere', so I don't experience it fully and can sort of forget it for awhile.

I wish I can soon get to a point in my life where I don't have any 'appointments', 'meetings' or such, so I can just sleep whenever I feel tired and sleepy, so at least I don't have to stress about sleeping rhythm so much. Right now I am so worried, I just KNOW I will start being sleepy in a few hours, just when I am supposed to start preparing for leaving for the appointment.

It's in a bit difficult-to-get-to place, but I have checked the bus routes and it should be doable.

Thank you for comforting me about what they're probably gonna do - my own image is that they will remove the remaining tartar and plaque, discuss with me about that possibly problematic tooth that might have to be removed at some point, and then maybe tell me if any other teeth need removal as well (I sure hope not).

I have been trying to brush every morning and evening (or before and after I have been able to sleep), and this flossing thing is not going so well. I have two separate flossing things, one is the one you can hold in one hand and it has small string that you can slide inbetween teeth and I am sure I am doing it wrong with it anyway. I can do the front teeth with that one. Then I have the 'soft gum' type sticks that I can push inbetween the back teeth and move it a bit back and forth.

I don't know if I can use the same stick/floss for every tooth, or if I have to use a new one, or if I have to rinse them inbetween or .. I just wipe them on paper inbetween every teeth. Or every 'inbetween teeth gap'.

I can't be sure if I have reached all teeth, and the back of the last tooth just before the holes worries me, as I don't dare go poke around that area with anything. I try to gently brush it from a weird angle with the toothbrush, but I am afraid it's not enough.

Oh, thanks for the info about the water flosser, I didn't know (but should've realized) they can't be used in my situation yet. Phew, danger avoided (I hope). But I might ask the hygienist about them if I remember.

Ok, I don't know what to do next, I guess I'll just try to stay up until I get tired, then get some coffee so I don't sleep and can do all I need to do today. The thing is, I have to be awake at 15:00 pm next monday because of a building maintenance thing I have to be present for. Just my luck to have everything done at the same time so I can't ever sleep..

Then the next week from that, at unknown day (so I have to be alert every day) they actually work on that maintenance, so it's like this neverending 'can I ever sleep' thing with my weird sleeping rhythm and sleep deprivation.

I hope you have a better situation.. I am trying everything I can, from those natural remedies to youtube videos to these forums to anything else I can find, I am trying to even find some discord group about anxiety. Maybe we can conquer this thing if we just try everything possible.

In fact, writing all this seems to have helped a bit, I feel a bit better now. Anyways, have a fun vacation, I hope you can heal and feel normal again as soon as possible.

And hey, thank you, you have been really helpful and kind to me, and reading about your troubles has made me almost forget my own, and wanting to help you has taken focus off my own feeling and I don't feel like the Universe hates me as much now that I know you're also going through such hard times.

I wish you wonderful dental health and good feeling, joy and enjoyment in life. At least the ability to enjoy things is a treasure I will appreciate more than ever. If I ever get it back..
 
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