Wisdom Teeth Removal Made Easy
Wisdom teeth, the informal name for the third set of molars in the back of the mouth that grow between ages 15 and 25, can be extremely problematic. Because they cause pain, swelling, infection, and overcrowding that can interfere with your bite, most dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth as soon as possible. If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain or you want to know your options, Spearmint Dental is always here to help.
Why Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
There are a few reasons for wisdom teeth removal, and they can vary from one patient to another. These causes include:
- Impaction: impacted wisdom teeth can get trapped in your jawbone or within the gums, causing pain and interference with other teeth
- A small mouth: while some patients have room in their mouths for an extra set of molars, most don’t, creating crowding issues
- Cavities or gum disease: if you cannot clean your wisdom teeth properly, oral health may be at risk
Steps Before Surgery
If your dentist decides that you’re ready for surgery, you may be a little worried or concerned. However, your dentist will do everything possible to calm your nerves, asking you questions that will help in your course of care and ensure a definitive plan is in place. Before your surgery, your dentist will discuss:
- Any drugs you take that may interfere with treatment
- Any questions you may have about how surgery work
- Your anesthesia options, ranging from local anesthetic to general anesthesia
- When to schedule your surgery; recovery often takes two to three days, so be sure to plan child care, pet care, and coverage at work if necessary
You will be kept comfortable for the duration of your surgery, which will span approximately 60 to 90 minutes.
You will have a choice of several forms of anesthesia, including local, general, and twilight.
- Local anesthesia: A shot in your gums will fully numb the area, keeping you fully pain-free during surgery. You will be awake during surgery, but your dentist may administer nitrous oxide to help you relax during your procedure.
- Twilight anesthesia: Also known as IV sedation, twilight anesthesia will combine a numbing agent with drugs that make you drowsy. You may sleep or be partially unconscious during surgery.
- General anesthesia: A form of anesthesia that puts patients fully unconscious throughout surgery, general anesthesia must be provided by an oral surgeon.
In some cases, your dentist may need to cut through gum or bone to extract teeth. If this occurs, most practitioners will use dissolvable stitches to facilitate faster healing.
Recovery time will vary from patient to patient. Some will feel ready to go to school or work within 24 to 48 hours, while others will require more time. Your mouth may feel numb, achy, or painful for around 72 hours. If needed, your doctor may prescribe pain medication and give you gauze pads to ease your recovery.
Dos and Don’ts
Want to feel your best after surgery? Follow these dos and don’ts for an easier recovery.
- Use ice to reduce swelling and skin color changes
- Exercise your jaw by opening and closing your mouth
- Eat soft foods, like rice, soup, and pasta
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Take all medications as prescribed
- Contact your doctor if pain worsens or you develop a fever
- Avoid straws and smoking; this action can dislodge blood clots and cause dry socket
- Don’t rinse too harshly or brush against any blood clots
- Do not eat hard, sticky, or crunchy foods