While the thought of wisdom tooth extraction is enough to scare most people, it’s reassuring to know the procedure is actually not as nerve-racking as it seems. Your dentist will recommend wisdom tooth extraction if it’s the best alternative for your case.
If you are a candidate for wisdom tooth extraction, here are some of the fundamentals you need to know:
When is wisdom tooth extraction necessary?
The third set of molars situated at the back of the mouth is called the wisdom teeth. They usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom tooth extraction is often recommended in the following scenarios:
- They are impacted. Since wisdom teeth are situated really far back in the mouth, they may not come in properly. In other words, they can get trapped in the gums or in the jawbone and can be very painful.
- Your mouth is not big enough. Wisdom extraction is recommended when your jaw does not have enough room for an extra set of molars.
- They appear at the wrong angle. When your wisdom tooth presses against your other teeth, an extraction is often considered the best course of action.
- You have gum disease or cavities. Because of its location, it can become hard to reach the wisdom teeth with the toothbrush or even a dental floss.
How should you prepare for the procedure?
Before the surgery
Before the procedure, you’ll meet with your dentist to discuss the process in detail. Prep for the appointment accordingly by:
- Informing your dentist about any health problems you may have.
- Listing down medications you take on a regular basis and informing your dentist about them.
- Listing down any questions you may have about the procedure.
- Discussing the type of anaesthesia you prefer. You can either be asleep or numb during the surgery.
- Planning time off from school or work to rest and heal accordingly.
During the surgery
The procedure will often last 45 minutes or less.
So you won’t feel any discomfort or pain during the removal, the following types of anaesthesia might be recommended:
- The anaesthesia will be administered through the vein or you will breath gas in through a mask. Either way, you will be asleep the entire time and won’t wake up for an hour or so.
- IV sedation. You will be given anaesthesia through your vein or your mouth will be numbed to make you drowsy. You can also be asleep during the whole procedure.
- You will be given local anaesthesia so you can relax or even doze off for a bit during the procedure. However, unlike the two other options, you will feel alert right away.
After the surgery
If you have had local anaesthetic and you’re already feeling alert after the procedure, you can drive home so your recovery can begin. If you had general anaesthesia and still feel a little drowsy after the procedure, consider it best to have someone drive you home.
Most people who have undergone wisdom tooth extraction report little to no pain after the procedure. However, mild discomfort and swelling might be experienced for 3 days or so. Typically, you’ll need a few weeks to heal completely.
To hasten the recovery process, below are some tips you need to keep in mind:
- Use moist heat when your jaw is sore.
- Curb swelling by placing an ice pack on the affected area.
- Eat soft food like soup or pasta.
- Brush your teeth on the second day and make sure you avoid brushing against any blood clots.
- Take any medications prescribed by your dentist to ease swelling or pain.
- Inform your dentist if you have fever or if any of the pain or swelling does not improve.