Wisdom Tooth Removal: What You Should Expect
When it’s time to remove your wisdom teeth, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon. But what are the reasons for taking them out?
Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that may be impacted and grow so far back in your mouth, preventing other teeth from coming in normally. When they are trapped in your gums and jawbone, wisdom teeth may also cause great pain. They can press against other teeth and also cause pain, or they may simply be too big for your mouth to accommodate (what with all your other teeth). Another reason is they are a potential cause of cavities and gum disease, being typically hard to reach with a toothbrush or dental floss.
Your oral surgeon will discuss the process to you before performing the surgery. During this first consultation, be sure to mention all health issues you have, if any, as well as any drugs you take on a regular basis. Plan some time off from school or the office, not only for the surgery but for your recovery period. Set up child care or pet care as needed, and arrange a ride home after the extraction.
Wisdom tooth removals typically last a maximum of 45 minutes. Your surgeon will probably make you choose between local anesthesia, which numbs your mouth; IV sedation, which numbs your mouth and makes you sleepy; and general anesthesia, which will put you to sleep all throughout the procedure. Your surgeon may also cut bone or gum to remove the tooth and then stitch the cuts close to promote speedy healing (in most cases, the stitches dissolve after a few days). While performing the surgery, he may stick gauze pads into your mouth as well to absorb blood.
People have different ways of responding to anesthesia. If you received local anesthesia, it’s likely that your surgeon will let you drive yourself home. You may even go right back to your daily routine as though nothing happened. Obviously, if you had general anesthesia or IV sedation, you’ll want someone else to take you home.
You may or may not also feel pain following surgery, but there is likely to be swelling and a little discomfort for the next three or so days. Sometimes, it takes an entire week for your mouth to heal. Lastly, do as your dentist says, whether he wants you to use an ice pack to relieve swelling, apply moist heat to relieve a sore jaw, or rinse your mouth very gently.