Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If you're thinking, "Why me?" let's break it down for you.
Wisdom teeth will need to be removed for a number of reasons, ranging from logistic reasons to others that are more aesthetic.
1. They're Impacted
When wisdom teeth are impacted, they're essentially stuck in your gums or jawbone. This might be because they're growing at a strange angle or they don't have enough space to emerge normally.
Leaving impacted wisdom teeth in your gums can cause complications down the line, including pain, swelling, and infection.
2. They've Come in at the Wrong Angle
Wisdom teeth aren't necessarily the wisest. Sometimes, your wisdom teeth emerge from your gums at an angle that presses into your other teeth.
This can cause pain, discomfort, and it can completely undo the work done by braces.
3. Your Mouth Isn't Big Enough
Our mouths used to be big enough to fit an extra set of molars in. Over time, our jaws have become progressively smaller. Now, molars don't always fit!
If you don't have enough room for an extra four teeth, removing them keeps you from discomfort and pain.
4. You Have Cavities or Gum Disease
Because wisdom teeth come in at the back of your mouth, it can be difficult to reach them with your toothbrush or dental floss.
If this is the case, you can develop cavities or gum disease. Removing the wisdom teeth helps prevent the issue from occurring again.
Before having your wisdom teeth removal surgery, there are a couple of things you need to do.
First, your dentist or oral surgeon will talk you through the process. This is your chance to ask them any questions you have regarding the procedure.
Make sure to talk about what type of anesthesia they will use. You will either be numb or fast asleep during your surgery.
Do you have to stop eating a certain number of hours before the procedure? Are fluids allowed?
Do you have any health issues currently? Are you on any chronic or regular medication? Do you have any allergies? Your dentist needs to know!
Once you've chatted through everything with your oral surgeon, make sure to plan around the surgery too. Make a plan for child care, pet care, and a ride home. It can take some time before you can get back to normal - plan to rest after the surgery.
What to Expect During Wisdom Teeth Surgery
Removing a wisdom tooth can take anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes, and removing each of one of yours will be different! On average, you can expect the entire procedure to take 45 minutes or less.
Your oral surgeon will use one of the following types of anesthesia to keep you from feeling any pain during the procedure:
This uses novocaine, lidocaine or, mepivacaine to numb your mouth. These do not cause you to lose consciousness, which means they don't require special preparation before their use and they wear off soon after the procedure.
Some doctors will also give you nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax or doze during the surgery.
General anesthesia is administered through a mask worn on your face or through an intravenous line. This puts you into a deep sleep and temporarily paralyzes your muscles, meaning you breathe through an endotracheal tube.
It can take a while for general anesthesia to wear off after your surgery; you may still sleep for an hour or so after it's complete.
Also called conscious sedation and monitored anesthetic care, IV sedation involves injecting anesthesia (usually Midazolam, a type of benzodiazepine) through one of your veins. You can still breathe on your own but will be drowsy or in a deep sleep for the entire procedure.
For cases where your wisdom teeth haven't emerged yet, your doctor might need to cut your gums or your bone to get them out. If they do, they'll insert stitches to close the wound and encourage faster healing. Stitches typically dissolve after three or four days.
Your surgeon may also use gauze pads to absorb excess blood in your mouth.
What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Removal
You've made it through the surgery! Now what?
Anesthesia affects everyone slightly differently. You may find that after local anesthesia you can drive yourself back to the office and get straight back to work. You may feel extremely groggy, drowsy, and in need of a nap.
Most people experience little to no pain directly after surgery. In the first 24 hours, your body produces blood clots in preparation for the full healing process.
It's common to experience chipmunk-like swelling for 3 or so days following the surgery. You may feel some discomfort, so try to stick to softer foods to give your mouth a chance to heal.
After a week, your dentist can remove any stitches that haven't dissolved on their own. A few days later and all your jaw stiffness and soreness should ease.
To ensure a quick recovery, follow all of your surgeon's instructions. Here are some tips to help you along:
- DO use an ice pack to reduce swelling
- DO use moist heat for jaw pain
- DO exercise your jaw by gently opening and closing your mouth
- DO eat soft foods (pasta, rice, soup, custard, etc.)
- DO drink a lot of fluids
- DO brush your teeth from day 2, being careful around blood clots and stitches
- DO take medication your surgeon prescribed for pain management
- DO call your doctor if you get a fever, have increased pain, or if the swelling doesn't go down after a week
- DON'T use a straw to drink
- DON'T rinse your mouth harshly
- DON'T eat hard or sticky foods
- DON'T eat extremely hot food
- DON'T smoke
By following these instructions and those given to you by your surgeon, you'll be back to normal in no time.
The nicest part about wisdom tooth removal is that dentists usually remove them all at once. When you've gone through the procedure, you never have to do it again!
Wisdom Teeth Care in Parker, CO
If you've been dreading your approaching appointment, you hopefully now see that you don't need to.
Knowing exactly what to expect before, during, and after your wisdom teeth removal procedure helps keep the nerves down.
If you have any further questions about wisdom teeth removal or you need to schedule any other dental service, contact Ardas Family Dental today. We can't wait to keep your smile as dazzling as ever!