Because even though I was told by some dentists that I have enough room for my wisdom teeth, when a periodontist looked into it, she had a different story. There is just enough room for them to be there, but it is a tight enough fit that with the changes in my aging jaw, they cause tension for my other teeth. All of my teeth aside of them were “mobile”. I could wait and gradually lose teeth one by one, but we’re not accepting this as inevitable anymore. So I told them, “Do what you gotta do to fix this.”
The solution is to have all four wisdom teeth, plus maybe two lower molars that took root damage from the tension removed. To undo the damage and prevent further bone loss, there is the Emdogain implants. Emdogain is a gel with animal derived proteins that help your stem cells to regenerate tissue.
There is lots of information about what Emdogain is supposed to do. It’s a few decades in use, but for some reason, there is very little out there about the experience of having Emdogain treatment. I had no idea what to look forward to except that all the promotional material and dental surgeons who used it reported that within two weeks patients were fine with little or no swelling or bad side effects. It is supposedly better than conventional grafting.
Shai had Emdogain a few years ago, but he is a stoic and half nihilist, so I knew he was hurting, but didn’t understand how much. Pay attention, kids, he hurt for a month. I chalked it up to dude drama. You know, stereotypical men and masculine people who are used to being in control of everything around them having hissy fits and thinking they’re dying because there is some discomfort they can’t relieve immediately. Since he wasn’t having hissy fits, I thought he was basically alright but sore. What I didn’t understand before last Wednesday is that it was probably something more akin to shock.
Because pain can be relative, I will relay an equivalent experience that describes the pain of Emdogain. It is as if you put a ghost pepper in your mouth, chewed it up, and you could not swallow, and your mouth closed. For an entire week, once the anesthesia wore off, this was how I felt.
Now, I felt this even though I took painkillers. It took prescription painkillers plus 600mg. Ibuprofin plus 1000mg. Paracetamol just to not feel like I was going insane with pain. I just started to feel somewhat okay after a week. I still can’t chew anything without the ghost pepper level pain returning. Even drinking water hurts. Bread (I stupidly tried this a couple of days ago because I was starving) is like ghost pepper plus running a tiny cheese grater over that.
I would describe the pain as hellish.
At the moment, I feel okay as long as nothing touches the roof of my mouth, but this leads to the problem of dry mouth. So I have to suck it up and apply a bit of petroleum jelly to the roof of my mouth with a cotton swab a couple times a day.
Through it all, I have had to gently brush my teeth starting day 2, and use mouthwash.
I am grateful to whoever invented the hand blender or my diet would be just yogurt and milk right now.
I’ll update this post as the situation develops. I just wanted to put this out there so that if anyone is thinking of Emdogain, it is worth it but the pain may be a lot worse than you’ve been led to believe. The preparation you need for this is not a week of liquids, but around a month to a month and a half. The first few days you may not be able to function at all.
Do what you will with this information. Just be well.
Blessings and Ashe!
Updates October 15, 2021
Shai says that his pain wasn’t caused by the Emdogain but by a bit of a wisdom tooth that had been left in. I believe him, but I hold out some suspicion that the Emdogain did not help matters pain-wise. It can be hard to differentiate sources of pain when the whole lower jaw is lit up to maximum before passing out levels.
If he is right, it could be that I am just the one person on the planet who found Emdogain extremely painful. I keep reading in their promos and other periodontists’ glowing reports of how great it is, that any pain is just pain that would be there for any other aspect of dental surgery. I wonder if this matters. It looks like doublespeak that is not necessary, and just serves to make people suspicious. I’m starting to understand why even though it does work the way they say it does, it isn’t covered by many insurance services. I had to pay full price for it even though I have great dental insurance. The product is being held back by shady marketing.
If they just told people it’s gonna hurt, but not for as long as conventional grafting or other method would, this would be enough to make the sale. Just prepare people in advance for the pain. A month is nothing compared to six months to a year plus repeat openings and stitchings.
Whether or not the Emdogain itself is the cause of the pain is irrelevant. An arrow lodged in someone’s chest isn’t the source of the pain. It is an inanimate object. The source of the pain is technically the nerves in one’s chest, some severed and some signalling trauma to the brain. One could say they aren’t bleeding from the arrow, but because blood vessels tend to leak when they are cut open by arrows. No more pain is experienced from arrows than from any other acute projectile being fired into one’s flesh. If the pain of the procedure required to implant it hurts like hell, this is important information. So here’s what I would say to a patient I wanted to consider it because it does the job well.
It’s dental surgery. We are going to have to cut open sections of your gums and inject a gel in there. Then we are going to have to stitch you up. Thing is, we would have to do this anyway with a normal graft. Either way, it’s going to hurt because we’re cutting your gums open and injecting a foreign material. The difference is the time that you will be in pain. This foreign material won’t be foreign for long, and it will help your tissues and bone grow back to how they were before (whatever) damaged them. If things go as usual, most of the swelling will go down in a week, and you’ll have some leftover soreness for about a month. In two or three months though, you’ll see a big improvement that you wouldn’t see as soon with other treatments. Bonus, it is all yours and will hopefully last as long as you live.
Isn’t that a better pitch than, “Everything will be wonderful,” and if you complain about the pain, “It can’t be from the Emdogain.”
:: sigh ::
Anyway, I hope that this will help anyone out there who is considering it. If you don’t have some major reason not to, if it is one of your choices, do it. The benefits in the long term may be about the same as normal grafting, but why put yourself through more pain and expense than you need to?
Okay more on what’s going on now, the swelling went waaaaaay down. It went down to the point that three of the stitches were dangling in my throat, so I had to trim them. The skin they had been wrapped around was taut and closed, so whenever I swallowed or spoke, they would cause me to gag a little. Plus they were catching little bits of food, as I found when we trimmed them. This was despite brushing and rinsing.
I still have the rest of the stitches, mostly in the front area of my upper gums. They’re somewhat loose, but holding. Clipping the ones that were dangling into my throat also relieved some pain from their being tugged on every time I breathed.
So I’m still in pain, but not as much as the first few days. At least the combination of drugs is offering some relief. I feel it climbing as soon as they start to wear off, but it’s much more bearable. I even ate some grits this morning without tears involuntarily falling like the first week.
At this point, I can differentiate sources of pain. I am having no pain at all anymore from the wisdom teeth extraction. It’s all the roof of my mouth. It hurts, but I have no regrets. From the relief I got from snipping (not removing, just trimming) the danglers, I suspect I’ll be feeling much better once the stitches are removed.
Another theory on that note is that some of the pain could be caused by African-ness. Something I found out from tattoos, piercings, the knee surgery, and scarring from a bad allergic reaction a long time ago, I have keloid skin. I don’t get big bulbous ones like some folks, but it’s like anytime something is in my skin, it overreacts and tries to push it out. I get my brows done by a woman who is a specialist in dark and keloid skin because otherwise, it would be a puffy scab and fall off in a couple of weeks. I had to have multiple sessions for my chest tattoo to catch, and it still fell off in spots.
So my body’s first reaction to anything foreign is to reject it. Technically, the pain and stitch straining inflammation could have been partly because of the stitches. Apparently my flesh is trying to push them out. While I am writing, the rest of the string that was attached to the danglers has just kind of mostly slid out like a worm emerging from a hole. Next appointment is going to be interesting.
Pics (or it didn’t happen)
I was reluctant to post these since psychospiritually, it’s a bad idea to post too much of one’s good fortune online due to evil eye attraction potential. This is in a kind of gray area. It’s something I can have done because I’m financially stable enough, but then it is an excruciatingly painful experience. So it’s worth the risk I suppose, for education, and again, so others thinking of doing this understand what they may be in for.
You might be one of those people who has no problems. Then again, you might be someone like me who has severe pain and swelling. Be prepared for the worst, and grateful if things go better for you than for me.
Here are the photos from October 12, 2021, 6 days after the surgery:
As you can see, the roof of my mouth was swollen to the point that the stitches were digging into my flesh. I had been in ghost pepper level pain and swollen like this since the first day, and I was going between despair and shock every day. I was even much more cruel to Shai than he deserved. I remember an incident in which I ridiculed him for not knowing enough biology to understand the significant differences between the human and feline gut. I accused him of believing that every mammal was a human with different looking skin and bones. I was awful.
That was the level of pain I was in. I am well known for my resilience and resistance to pain, but I basically called my husband of over two decades a religious person with a prehistoric mysticism around what is basic anatomy. It was bad.
At this point there is still pain even with the drugs, but mostly in the spots where the stitches cut into me.
So my theory is confirmed. This was made worse because of the silence about what Emdogain implanting is actually like for the patient. My pain was not normal. It happened because the periodontist and myself had zero information on what could happen with this procedure done to people who have over-reactive (or normally reactive for Africans and many other dark skinned people)’s skin. If people knew the possibilities, they could prepare in advance.
I would have been aware of what level of pain and inflammation to expect, and what was really okay and what was something going wrong.
I would have been given more “slack” in the stitches because it would be known in advance they would swell up. I would have been asked if I ever had a tattoo or other facial work done (brows, eyeliner, mole removal, whatever) or the periodontist would have known what was coming from my knee scars.
I would have been sternly instructed that there was no “wiggle room” at all for the timing of taking Ibuprofin. It should have been every 4-5 hours on the dot.
I would have known to stock up and prepare liquid foods for two weeks and not “a couple of days”.
A whole lot would have been different if I had just had the information.
So now I am preparing for the lower jaw next week, and have some things to inform the periodontist. Updates will come as things unfold, but I expect this time will at least be less traumatic.