Not everyone will develop that pesky third set of molars known as "wisdom teeth."
However, nearly 85% of people need to have their wisdom teeth extracted during their lifetime.
A wisdom teeth extraction is an extremely common dental procedure, yet there are still many questions looming around what to expect, what foods are safe to eat, how long the surgery is, and many more.
If you are preparing for your wisdom teeth removal surgery, then you probably have those questions and more.
Let's break down what patients ask most about getting their wisdom teeth extracted so that you are prepared for your upcoming surgery.
We understand how nerve-wracking awaiting a surgery can be, especially one that you have never had done before.
Below, we answer the most frequently asked questions regarding wisdom teeth removal so your mind can be at ease as you prepare for your surgery appointment.
Article Table of Contents:
How do I know if I need my wisdom teeth removed?
How long does a wisdom teeth extraction take?
What is the difference between Anesthesia and Nitrous Oxide?
What are the side effects after wisdom teeth removal?
How much pain will I be in after removing my wisdom teeth?
What can I eat after getting my wisdom teeth removed?
How long is the recovery process for wisdom teeth removal?
Am I able to brush my teeth afterward?
At any of your routine dental appointments, your dentist will be able to notice if you have an erupted or impacted wisdom tooth.
Impacted wisdom teeth are third molars that can't break through the surface of the gums because they don't have any room to grow normally.
You can also tell if you need your wisdom teeth removed due to any discomfort they may be causing you.
If you've started to develop your wisdom teeth (this usually occurs around ages 17 to 25), you might have experienced pain while chewing, swelling in the back of your mouth or jaw, or limited jaw movements.
However, it is also possible for patients to not experience any symptoms as their wisdom teeth develop, which can be just as problematic as having symptoms.
The time varies between cases, but it could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour and a half.
The time length of the procedures depends on the following components:
When you choose to sedation dentistry (general anesthesia), you’ll receive a dose of antibiotics to take before the appointment.
It's also strongly urged and recommended not to eat or drink anything at least six hours prior to your appointment.
During the procedure, you’ll be asleep as the dentist works.
When you wake up after surgery, you’ll feel sleepy and less alert.
If you choose to have nitrous oxide, remember: yes, it won’t hurt, but you’ll see – and hear – everything.
You'd be able to feel the vibration of the surgical drill if your teeth are deeply impacted, the chatter of the dental assistants, and occasionally, you'll feel the pressure when the dentist is pushing on the tooth.
However, inhaling the nitrous oxide should relax you and eliminate any anxiety about the procedure and having a drill in your mouth.
The bottom line: choose what you are most comfortable with.
An important note: For either option, it is best to have a family member or friend as your driver to and from the dental office.
Directly following your surgery, you will experience bleeding.
Bite down on gauze supplied by your dentist and swap out for new as the bandage gets soaked with blood.
Blood clots should form in the first 24 hours.
You may notice bruising and yellowing along your jawline.
These are both normal.
Don't be surprised to find yourself resembling a chipmunk with your mouth and cheeks swollen, either.
Swelling usually peaks around 48-72 hours and disappears after a week.
Of course, pain is also a side effect of this surgery as well.
The level of pain you may experience could differ from the level of discomfort your friend dealt with, so let's now look into ways of managing that pain.
Pain is relative - which means it depends on the person.
Whether your pain is minimal or overpowering, you can take medication to relieve the pain.
Dentists usually prescribed narcotics such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet or Vicodin.
These medications work to alleviate pain.
Taking over-the-counter medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, work well to minimize pain levels.
Ice cream, soup, and smoothie lovers rejoice!
A liquid and soft food diet are the best routes to take for the first week or so.
A liquid diet is recommended for the first 24 hours.
However, avoid drinking from a straw.
Drinking from a straw could loosen blood clots and create a dry socket - when the bone and nerves are exposed.
Dry sockets are extremely painful.
A soft food diet should be implemented for the following four to five days.
Avoid any foods that require a large amount of chewing (such as cereal or steak).
Think of smoothies and bowls of ice cream as well as pasta, mashed potatoes and soups (preferably at a cooler temperature).
The recovery process is gradual, but progress towards healing should be seen every day.
The healing process for wisdom teeth removal can essentially be broken into the following stages:
As always, you want to maintain good oral hygiene habits.
So yes, brush your teeth and tongue as carefully as you can.
As dentists, we understand that following wisdom teeth extraction, the jaw is a little restricted in its movements.
Be cautious while brushing: don't brush roughly around the areas where your wisdom teeth were removed.
It's not advised to floss around the surgical sites.
Maintaining good oral hygiene the following four to six weeks is critical to prevent food debris and bacteria from collecting - this is a time where if they aren't careful, patients will get an infection.
At Hylan Dental Care, we use gentle approaches and techniques to remove those pesky third molars.
If you live in the greater Cleveland area and want to see if you are ready for your surgery, click the button below to book your wisdom teeth consultation today!