Some people don’t have any trouble with an extra tooth at the back of their mouth, it’s called a wisdom tooth, yet it doesn’t make you wiser. However, for some, these extra teeth may cause extreme discomfort and pain when they erupt and crowd your existing teeth.
In worst cases, wisdom teeth can contribute to sinus issues, damaging cavities, and jaw misalignment. To ensure optimal dental health and prevent your wisdom tooth from creating more damage to its neighboring teeth or your mouth as a whole, your dentist may recommend you to have it removed.
This article shares the basics of wisdom teeth, what you should expect, and how to prepare for wisdom tooth removal.
A wisdom tooth is the last teeth to erupt and is situated at the back part of your mouth. This third set of molars often develops between ages 17 and 25. During this age, you’ve lost all your baby and adult teeth, and the permanent set has already taken its place. It means that there’s no room for any more teeth to grow. And this is when the sudden eruption of your wisdom tooth becomes an issue.
Due to lack of space, your wisdom teeth may grow from various angles and can cause pain and damage to their neighboring teeth. Some wisdom teeth may stay hidden or erupt partially through your gums, becoming impacted or trapped within the jaw or accumulating food residue and bacteria that may cause infection.
For these reasons, your dentist may recommend removing your wisdom teeth even if they don’t fully emerge to avoid significant damage later on.
Before proceeding to have the procedure of wisdom tooth removal, you need to be equipped with the following tips to be prepared:
If your dentist recommends wisdom tooth removal, ask them about everything you need to know or any concerns about the procedure. They can help you prepare and tell you what to do in the days before the surgery. Your dentist can also discuss with you the type of anesthesia to be used, as well as how you’ll recover after the surgery.
In addition, you should ask for the cost of your wisdom tooth removal. In general, the cost will depend on the number of teeth being removed as well as the level of impact. Thus, make sure to check with your dentist on whether the surgery is covered by your insurance.
Medications like Advil and aspirin can increase your risk of bleeding problems. So, if you’re taking these medications or any other medicines, make sure to tell your healthcare provider or dentist.
They will let you know if it’s safe to take your current medications or if you should stop taking them when in preparation for surgery. Also, to avoid complications, tell your dentists about all medications, including over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription drugs, vitamins, or other supplements you’re taking.
Other than your medications, your dentist may also recommend you to make some temporary lifestyle changes. They may ask you to stop drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco for at least eight hours before your wisdom tooth removal surgery to prevent complications and ensure a faster recovery.
Follow your dentist’s directions for your diet before the surgery. Instructions will depend on the sedation that will be used. If you’re getting intravenous anesthesia, then you need to have an empty stomach before the procedure–you won’t be able to drink or eat anything after midnight before the day of your scheduled appointment.
In addition, you also want to shop for soft foods and healthy drinks in advance since you may feel groggy after the procedure. On that note, you also want to make arrangements on how you’ll get home after the surgery.
Wisdom tooth removal surgery can take about 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the complexity and the number of wisdom teeth to be removed.
The dentist will sedate you, and you will either be conscious or asleep during the surgery. After sedation, your dentist will start to numb the area of your wisdom teeth with a local anesthetic. The dentist will then remove any gum tissue covering the area to access the wisdom tooth.
If you have an impacted tooth that’s partially or fully covered with bone, your dentist will drill through and remove the bone that covers the tooth. From here, your dentist will loosen the wisdom tooth. Depending on the positioning of the tooth, your dentist may also cut it into sections for easier removal. The dentist will then remove the tooth, clean the area and close it up via stitching.
You’ll be brought out of sedation and moved to a recovery room to be monitored for a few minutes. Once the dentist sees that you are stable, you can go home.
You may not feel any pain after the surgery, but it will occur as the local anesthesia wears off. For the first 24 hours, avoid brushing your teeth next to the extraction site. Don’t gargle vigorously, and avoid alcohol or mouthwash with alcohol.
Expect some pain, swelling, and bleeding in your cheeks and mouth for a few days. Also, you may not be able to open your mouth during this time. You can resume your normal activities after a day or two. However, you should avoid strenuous activities for a week. In general, it should take up to six weeks to completely heal the extraction site.
You can’t stop a wisdom tooth from growing in. However, by staying on top of your dental health and regular dental exams, you can receive early treatment as needed and avoid complications and issues.
In case you’ve been recommended to have your wisdom tooth removed, we hope that this article can help you better prepare yourself for the procedure.