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Wisdom Teeth Removal: What To Expect

Wisdom teeth removal can seem scary when your dentist first suggests it, but taking these teeth out is a fairly common dental procedure that most people will have to deal with in their life. Here is some more information to get you prepared for your upcoming tooth extractions.

Why Take Them Out?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the very back of your mouth. It varies from patient to patient but your wisdom teeth can start to in from 14 and up. Your dentist will monitor their eruptions at your regular checkups and will likely take a panoramic x-ray as well. The main reasons for removal in most people are:

  • They’re impacted. Because they’re so far back in your mouth, wisdom teeth may not come in normally. They can be trapped in your jawbone or gums, which over time can cause discomfort.
  • They come in at the wrong angle. They may press against your other teeth.
  • Your mouth isn’t big enough. Your jaw may be too small to allow another set of molars, which can lead to crowding or other dental problems if not removed.
  • You have cavities or gum disease. You may not be able to reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or dental floss, which can lead to decay or other dental problems.

If your general dentist recommends that you need your wisdom teeth removed, they may want to refer you to an oral surgeon. Some patients aren’t required to see an oral surgeon for the extractions, in this case, your dentist would set up your appointment and go over any questions you may have.

Before Surgery

You’ll meet with the oral surgeon to talk about the process. At this appointment, make sure you:

  • Talk about any health problems you have.
  • List any drugs you take on a regular basis.
  • Ask any questions you have about the surgery.
  • Discuss what type of anaesthesia you’ll have. There are many options for this including sedation or just general freezing, so be sure to ask about what is available to you.
  • Plan time off from work or school to have your surgery and rest afterwards at home.

After Surgery

Everyone responds differently to anaesthesia. Be sure to speak with your dentist or oral surgeon prior to your appointment to know what to expect, you may have to have a caregiver for the rest of the day and someone to drive you home, so it’s best to get a clear outline for what to expect.

Follow your doctor’s instructions for a healthy recovery. Here are some tips for the first 3 days after surgery:

Dos:

  • Use an ice pack on your face to curb swelling or skin colour changes.
  • Use moist heat for a sore jaw.
  • Gently open and close your mouth to exercise your jaw.
  • Eat soft foods like pasta, rice, or soup.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Take the drugs your doctor prescribes to ease pain or swelling.
  • Call your doctor if you have a fever, or if your pain or swelling doesn’t improve.

Don’ts:

  • Don’t drink through a straw. Sucking may loosen blood clots that help your mouth heal.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth too harshly. Your doctor may suggest rinsing gently with salt water.
  • Don’t eat hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that may scratch your wounds, as well try to avoid seeds that may get stuck in the surgical site.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking can slow your healing, and in some cases can lead to dry socket.