Wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly common oral surgical procedure. Dentists will typically prescribe the wisdom tooth extraction process under one of two circumstances. If one or more of the patient’s wisdom teeth are impacted (problematic), the process is usually necessary. Sometimes, dentists will recommend the process if they believe the patient could encounter problems in the future.
As you contemplate going through this very important procedure, it would beneficial be for you to learn some details about the wisdom tooth extraction procedure. The following discussion will focus on why the process could be necessary, how to prepare for surgery, and what to expect during the post-op period.
Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction is Necessary
Not all people have wisdom teeth. For those who do, they will typically start to erupt (come in) between 17 and 25 years of age. When they do come in, they can cause problems if an individual’s tooth/gum formation does not provide enough space for the tooth or teeth to come in naturally. When this occurs, the tooth will often become impacted, causing infection and pain.
A good dentist will recommend a patient for wisdom tooth extraction because impacted wisdom teeth can cause a bevy of dental issues. The list of potential issues includes:
- Pain caused by the wisdom tooth getting trapped within the jawbone
- Tooth causes periodontal disease of the gums
- Tooth decay of an embedded partially erupted wisdom tooth
- Damage to connected teeth
- Orthodontic problems with jaw and tooth alignment
As was indicated above, wisdom tooth extraction can also be used as a preventative measure. A dentist will usually choose this course of action if they believe future dental problems are imminent and could be prevented by removing a wisdom tooth or teeth prematurely.
How To Prepare for Wisdom Tooth Extraction Surgery
Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical process. As such, patients are required to follow certain protocols, protocols that are quite similar to the protocols one would follow if they were having another type of surgery.
The first thing you want to do after your dentist recommends the process is to ask questions. You need to make sure you ask all of the questions you want until you feel comfortable and confident about the surgical process. Remember, while dentists consider wisdom tooth removal to be a rather routine surgical procedure, it’s still surgery and comes with some risk.
Some of the things you might want to focus on during questioning would be the time requirements of the procedure, the inclusion of anesthetics, and how long you should set aside for recovery. This is your time to build trust in your dentist/oral surgeon, which should help mediate any anxiety you might feel about the procedure.
Here’s a couple of things to note before you report to surgery. First, you will want to avoid taking any nonprescription medications or eating and drinking anything before surgery per your dentist’s written instructions. You will also want to make you have transportation going home as this is very much a surgical procedure that requires the use of an anesthetic.
Use of Anesthetics
It’s no secret that the use of anesthetics is usually a patient’s primary concern. To put your mind at ease, you can expect the dentist to use one of three options:
- Local anesthesia = Dentist will inject medication into the area of the procedure, which is intended to numb that area. The numbing effect will leave the patient to feel nothing but a little pressure during the procedure.
- Sedation anesthesia = Dentist will administer a sedative via I.V., leaving the patient in a twilight state where they feel nothing and remember little.
- General anesthesia = Anesthesiologist will administer a general anesthetic as an inhalant or through an I.V., leaving the patient in an unconscious state during the procedure. The dentist will generally prescribe this option under special circumstances with an anesthesiologist monitoring the patient’s process.
After surgery, you can expect to spend a short time in recovery until the effects of the anesthetic have worn off.
The success of the procedure will depend somewhat on your ability and willingness to follow the dentist’s/oral surgeon’s post-op written procedures. You can expect pain. However, you should be able to address your pain issues with over the counter medications. If not, you can request prescription pain medication.
For the first few days, you will notice a little swelling and maybe mild bruising. This is normal. What you don’t want to see is persistent bleeding. If this occurs, contact your dentist as soon as possible. You should confine your eating to soft foods for the first few days while also avoiding carbonated beverages and beverages that contain caffeine or alcohol. As long as you follow instructions, you should be back to normal in short order.
If you are looking for a reputable and highly professional dentist, you should consider John Paul Gallardo DDS, PA, an award-winning Periodontist in Miami, FL. His dentistry practice proudly provides a full menu of dental and dental hygiene services, using the latest in dental technology. For more information about his services and to schedule an appointment, you can contact the office at 305-447-1447.