Wisdom tooth removal can make some people feel scared or apprehensive before they sit down in that dentist’s chair. But you don’t need to worried or afraid about having this type of work done. It’s often a simple procedure with a short recovery time.
So if your dental professional has suggested that you have your wisdom teeth taken out, here are the five most important things you should know about this type of dental operation, courtesy of your friends at Affordable Dentist.
1. When to Have Them Removed
Believe it or not, being selective about when you choose to have your wisdom teeth removed can make the procedure easier for your dentist to perform. That means less discomfort and recovery time for you.
So when should you have your wisdom teeth taken out? Ideally, you want to have the extraction prior to the root of the tooth becoming fully developed. Once the tooth has taken root in the socket that can make it tougher to remove. Our teeth develop starting at the crown, so the roots are the last to develop completely. If you have the teeth taken out earlier than later, that will make the surgery less complicated.
2. Anesthesia Options
Let’s face it, dental or any kind of surgery is going to require some amount of anesthesia to numb the area and avoid any discomfort. But you have choices as to the type you receive during your extraction.
Many patients will opt for a local anesthetic in which you receive injections near the surgery area in order to dull the nerves and minimize discomfort. Sedatives can also be administered alongside local injections. In both of these cases, you are awake while the dentist extracts the teeth but you feel no discomfort at the site of surgery.
You can also choose to be put to sleep through a general anesthetic so when you wake up, the procedure is finished and you have no memory of the surgery being performed.
3. Post-Surgery Recovery Time
Your dentist has completed the procedure and your wisdom teeth have been removed. Now what? How long will it take until you’re able to speak, eat, and drink like normal again? That depends.
In most cases, the standard recovery time is roughly a week. If the removal was relatively simple and the dentist didn’t have to perform any other complex procedures to complete the job, it could be as few as three to four days.
But what are the factors that dictate how long or short or your recovery time can be? One of the more significant among them is the anesthesia you chose to have administered prior to surgery. Local anesthetics wear off quicker than other types.
Sedatives and general anesthetics can last longer, leaving you groggy and woozy for hours after you leave the office. Some patients might even feel dizzy or nauseous for a day or two after the surgery.
Your recovery time can be reduced if you follow your dentist’s post-op instructions. You will be told not to drink through a straw, hold your head elevated when possible, and to avoid brushing your teeth for at least one day after the extraction.
Adhering to these instructions will help speed up your recovery time and prevent you from developing what is called a “dry socket”.
4. Get a Ride Home
Considering all of the various options available for anesthesia, you can be sure that they all work rather effectively to minimize discomfort at or near the site where your wisdom teeth will be removed.
But when you’re ready to leave the dentist’s office, you may not be able to get back home by yourself due to the remaining effects of the anesthetic. You will also be in no state to operate a motor vehicle safely and public transportation poses too many potential problems as well.
So ask a friend or relative to come along with you to the dentist for your appointment. They will be able to provide you with friendly reassuring support prior to the procedure and help you get home safely after the work has been done.
Some dentists won’t even perform an extraction, or any other surgery for that matter, unless they know you have someone coming into the office with you or coming to pick you up once you’ve had the wisdom teeth pulled.
5. Shop for Soft Foods
Your dentist will advise you to eat only soft foods in the first couple days after surgery. This means you’ll need to adjust your normal diet and if you don’t have these types of foods at home you’re going to need to go shopping and grab a few items.
Do it before you go to the dentist, you’re not going to be in much shape to swing by the supermarket while you’re waiting for the anesthesia to wear off.