Oh boy, your dentist has told you that you need to have your wisdom tooth—or teeth—removed. First, take a deep breath, and rest assured that this is a common procedure that is performed countless times every day by professionals all over the country. To get you prepared for the operation, here are a few helpful tips on what to do as well as what you can expect throughout the process.
First, Ask Lots of Questions
To begin preparing for your oral surgery, you should ask plenty of questions (and you probably have a ton of them, right?). Don’t hesitate, don’t be afraid, and don’t be embarrassed to ask these questions, as any good provider will be happy to talk with you to put your mind at ease.
You might want to know what the recovery will be like, how many wisdom teeth are being removed, how your teeth will be removed, and how difficult the surgery will be. You might also want to know if there is the possibility that nerve damage will occur as a result of the extractions, and you could also ask for an estimate of how long the procedure will take.
Basically, by asking all of these questions, you can get specific answers about your teeth and the procedure that you will be going through. Asking questions is the best way to get all of the facts as you prepare for what’s ahead.
Prepping for the Day of the Surgery
The good thing about wisdom tooth removal is that it’s almost always going to be an outpatient procedure. This means that you will be able to go in for the procedure and then leave once it’s over and you have recovered. That’s good news!
Has your dentist told you that he or she will use general anesthesia to remove your wisdom teeth? In the days leading up to the procedure, it will be necessary to get in touch with a friend or family member who will be able to drive you to the oral surgeon and back home. You don’t want to be driving while woozy from the anesthesia!
Also, if general anesthesia will be used, there will likely be restrictions set upon what you can eat and when you can eat prior to the procedure. For example, the dentist may tell you that you need to start fasting the night before your appointment, as the anesthesia might make you feel nauseous and cause you to vomit. Be sure to follow these instructions closely.
Keep in mind, too, that prescription medications may not be safe to take prior to your surgery, so ask your dentist about what you should do if you take medicine daily for any reason. And even if you take over-the-counter medications that you can get without a prescription, it’s best to ask your dentist about taking them the day of your surgery, just to be sure it’s safe.
You might also be given antibiotics prior to and after your procedure, so it’s important to remember to take those according to your dentist’s instructions, as they could help prevent infection.
Here’s What You Can Expect
Not all wisdom tooth removals will be the same, as some are more complicated than others, especially if the teeth are impacted or infected.
Generally, though, in order to remove a wisdom tooth, the oral surgeon will start by making an incision in your gums in order to properly expose the wisdom tooth. Then he or she will remove bone in order to get to the root and remove the tooth in its entirety.
After the extraction is complete, it’s time to clean the area, stitch up the wound, if necessary, and put a piece of gauze over the extraction so that a blood clot can form and bleeding can stop.
What About After the Surgery?
Your dentist will be able to give you instructions on how to take care of your mouth following the extraction of one or more wisdom teeth. You may be advised to keep your head up and use a cold compress to help reduce swelling—there might be quite a bit of swelling and maybe some bruising.
Your dentist will also give you pain medications that you can take, and will likely advise that you get plenty of rest to allow your body to heal. Also, you might not be able to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth for at least a day after the procedure.
It’s a good idea to stick with soft foods and liquids, such as lukewarm soup, applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes, pasta, smoothies, yogurt, and ice cream (yay!) so that you don’t irritate the area where a tooth was removed in the days following the surgery.
Try to Remain Calm—We Know It’s Hard!
It’s totally normal to feel nervous about having your wisdom teeth removed, but experts recommend getting as much rest as possible the night before your procedure. It might be hard to get some sleep, but resting will help your body and mind remain as alert as possible the day of your surgery, and it could help prepare your body for healing afterwards.
Get the Support of a Great Dental Insurance
The info above will hopefully help when it comes to reducing your fears as you prepare for wisdom tooth removal. But to ease your mind regarding the financial burden of having this procedure done, consider signing up for a dental insurance plan that will cover the cost of major services.
Once your problematic wisdom teeth are removed successfully, you should start feeling better within a few days if you follow your dentist’s instructions closely. So if your wisdom teeth are causing you problems and your dentist has recommended extraction, view this as a positive step towards having a healthy, pain-free mouth again.