Wisdom tooth removal: it’s surprisingly common, yet it does make people super nervous. So we’ve compiled a short guide to what you can expect when you need to have one or more of your wisdom teeth extracted.
Your wisdom teeth are also referred to as your third molars, and they’re the very last teeth that will erupt, all the way in the back of your mouth.
Fun fact: Did you know that some individuals won’t ever develop wisdom teeth? They won’t have to worry about impactions!
Your dentist or an oral surgeon can perform wisdom tooth extraction, and you’ll have an opportunity to talk to your dentist at an appointment before your procedure. Take this time to discuss health problems you’ve been diagnosed with, as well as medications that you’re taking.
During this appointment, you’ll receive important instructions regarding how to prep for the extraction, but don’t be embarrassed to ask loads of questions as well. For example, you can ask about what you can expect during and after the extraction, what type of anesthesia will be best for you, what the risk of complications is, and what you’ll need to do to ensure a speedy recovery.
Note: You’re more likely to have to see an oral surgeon if your wisdom tooth is severely impacted and will require a more surgical approach.
Depending on how difficult your wisdom teeth will be to remove, your dentist will choose the appropriate anesthesia so the procedure can be a pain-free experience.
During the actual procedure, the oral surgeon may need to make an incision in your gums, remove any bone that’s preventing access to the roots of the wisdom tooth, and divide the tooth in order to extract it in pieces. Then, the site of the extraction will be cleaned, and you’ll get stitches to close the wound, if necessary. Finally, a piece of gauze will be set in place to encourage the formation of a blood clot and control any bleeding.
This sounds pretty intense, we know, but not all wisdom tooth extractions will be the same. It depends on how badly impacted your tooth is.
Once the procedure is over, you’re sure to feel a huge sense of relief. But now it’s time to recover. Your dentist will give you instructions on what you should do to help your body heal. For example:
Generally, discomfort and swelling can last a few days, and it could take weeks for your mouth to totally heal. However, if your condition isn’t improving, or it’s getting worse, be sure to call your dentist right away.
Long-term complications don’t often occur after the removal of wisdom teeth. When complications do happen, however, they may include damage to the jawbone, nerves, sinuses, or nearby teeth, as well as infection within the socket where the tooth used to be. Dry socket, which is painful, might also occur.
Sure, any dental procedure can be scary, but with an experienced dental expert performing a wisdom tooth extraction, you can rest assured that you’ll be in good hands and that everything will be just fine. Remember, a lot of people have their wisdom teeth removed, so you aren’t alone, and this is a procedure that’s done on many patients every single day. Plus, if your wisdom teeth are causing you loads of problems, you’ll feel so much better when they’re out of your mouth!
One final note: Having your wisdom teeth removed is daunting enough without having to worry about how you’re going to pay for it. That’s why the right dental insurance can come in super handy, so consider signing up for a plan that will help you cover the costs of extractions. That way, you can focus more on prep and recovery, and less on payment, when a wisdom tooth needs to come out.