The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

Breaking News
  • May 28The DCP wishes everyone a happy summer!
  • April 30Staff Writer Ella Johnson earns Top 10 Emerging Journalist award!
The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

The student news site of Dowling Catholic High School

The Dowling Catholic Post

Getting Wise About Wisdom Teeth

The good, the bad, and the ugly
E. Johnson
A collection of Dowling Catholic students who responded to my survey and kindly shared photos taken after their wisdom teeth removal.

Wisdom teeth; the third molar; a segment on every episode of America’s Funniest Home Videos; the perfect reason to stock up on ice cream. For many high schoolers, myself included, it is how we answer the question “What did you do over break?” 

I had my wisdom teeth removed during Winter Break, and exactly six weeks later, I consider myself a lucky one. The morning of the removal, I was admittedly grouchy because 1) My brother, who has had two knee surgeries, a nose surgery, a ruptured eardrum, a separated shoulder, a scaphoid fracture, a cellulitis infection, and numerous twisted ankles, deemed his wisdom teeth recovery the worst of them all 2) I hate getting IVs 3) I was having a bad hair day 4) I did not know what to wear for surgery 5) I had to wake up early 6) I could not eat or drink anything. Despite my trifling setbacks, my mother and brother remained steadfast supporters as they accompanied me to the surgery center.

Fast-forward an hour, I was four teeth lighter. I felt absolutely nothing during my surgery, and my very kind nurse put on Taylor Swift as I came out of anesthesia. Mouth packed with gauze, I did not stop talking on the drive home from surgery and only resigned to humming Olivia Rodrigo after a couple of the gauze fell out from the movement. Once home, I marched immediately upstairs to the safe confinements of my bed and slept for the next three hours. That nap set the tone for my recovery. I never nap. Ever. So I believe that beginning my healing process with the best medicine, sleep, was a critical step in the right direction. 

A progression of my swelling over the course of recovery, starting with my nap. (E. Johnson)

After I woke up, I began taking actual medicine. And for the next three days, my routine did not change. I would wake up, get a fresh ice pack, have a glass of pineapple juice and water, take painkillers every four hours, bundle up in blankets, equip a travel pillow around my neck, and watch TV until lunch, at which point I would eat some jello or mashed potatoes or whatever soft food was on the menu that day, and proceed to watch TV (maybe read) until dinner, where you’ll never guess what I ate, and then back to bed. The only thing that changed was which pair of pajamas I had on. But this, my friends, was how I survived my wisdom teeth recovery with virtually no pain and just a whole lot of swelling.

Post recovery, I wanted to know how others compared, so I posted a survey around school and received responses from Dowling Catholic students who had their wisdom teeth removed between September 2023 and January 2024.

When asked to rate the pain of wisdom teeth surgery and recovery on a scale from 1-10, the average score was 5.5.

When asked to rate the amount of swelling experienced after their wisdom teeth recovery on a scale from 1-10, the average score was 6.2.

Once I understood that the average wisdom teeth survivor seems to experience moderate pain and swelling, I wanted to understand how they approached recovery and any recommendations they had to offer.

To begin, let’s address pineapple juice. As my wisdom teeth removal loomed, I was repeatedly advised to drink pineapple juice because it “reduces swelling.” My follow through on this advice was unprecedented. I drank close to 200 ounces of pineapple juice during my recovery, but my swelling did not go down. 

Upon further research, it appears I was conned. According to the National Library of Medicine, it is the enzyme group found in pineapple called bromelain which is accredited with the fruit’s anti-inflammatory powers. However, the East Georgia Center for Oral and Facial Surgery cautions that the quantity of pineapple juice required to reap the benefits of bromelain is likely to cause more harm than good, side effects being nausea, diarrhea, and enamel damage from high amounts of sugar. Instead, the surgery center recommends taking a bromelain supplement in capsule form which offers a more concentrated dosage of the enzyme group. 

Spot the difference extreme edition: my swelling with and without the Snapchat baby filter. Thanks for nothing pineapple juice. (E. Johnson)

In the survey, when asked if they drank pineapple juice, 

  • 33% did not.
  • 33% drank pineapple juice before surgery.
  • 17% drank pineapple juice after surgery.
  • 17% drank pineapple juice before and after surgery.

Suffice it to say, those who did drink pineapple juice did not experience reduced swelling according to the survey results. While there may be no inflammation benefits to pineapple juice, I highly recommend pineapple sherbert for the taste alone.

Other recommendations from a collection of the surveyees include:

  1. “Make sure you are not allergic to Ibuprofen so that you can take it which helps swelling go down.”
  2. “No matter how tempted you are, don’t post on your story because your friends will take a screenshot.”
  3. “Don’t eat popcorn for at least three weeks.”
  4. “Stay on top of your meds.”
  5. “Wet the gauze before putting them in your mouth, otherwise they will not absorb the blood.”

Readers, please utilize the comment feature below to share your wisdom teeth stories, recommendations, or questions for an upcoming removal! Let’s face it, teeth are weird, and getting them removed may be even weirder, so starting right here at the Dowling Catholic Post, let’s #normalizebadwisdomteethphotos. 

View Comments (2)
More to Discover

Comments (2)

We appreciate your comments! Please keep comments brief and verify your email when prompted. Thank you!
All The Dowling Catholic Post Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • F

    Franny UmsteadFeb 19, 2024 at 7:19 pm

    Ella… you drank so much pineapple juice… are you ok?

    • E

      Ella JohnsonFeb 20, 2024 at 7:47 pm

      There have been no signs of chronic damage…yet.