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Wisdom Tooth Removal: What You Should Expect

When recommending wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to do the procedure. But why must they be removed in the first place?

Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that may be impacted and grow so far back in your mouth, preventing other teeth from coming in normally. Wisdom teeth may also be trapped in your gums or jawbone, and that can seriously hurt. They can press against other teeth and also cause pain, or they may simply be too big for your mouth to accommodate (what with all your other teeth). Another reason is that they can increase the likelihood of cavities or gum disease since they are usually difficult to reach with a toothbrush or dental floss.

Before Surgery

Prior to the surgery, your oral surgeon will thoroughly explain how the process goes. During this first consultation, be sure to mention all health issues you have, if any, as well as any drugs you take on a regular basis. Create a plan for the day of your surgery and the next few days, which you are to spend resting. Set up child care or pet care as needed, and arrange a ride home after the extraction.

During Surgery

Wisdom tooth extractions usually take 45 minutes max. Either you will have local anesthesia, which numbs your mouth area; IV sedation, which will also numb your mouth area and make you feel drowsy at the same time; or general anesthesia, which makes sure you’re asleep the whole time during surgery. It’s also possible that your surgeon will cut some gum or bone in order to extract the tooth before stitching the wounds close for faster healing (the stitches usually dissolve in a few days). While performing the surgery, he may stick gauze pads into your mouth as well to absorb blood.

After Surgery

People have different ways of responding to anesthesia. If you were given a local anesthetic, you will most probably be allowed to drive yourself home following the procedure. You may even go right back to your daily routine as though nothing happened. Clearly, if you had IV sedation or general anesthesia, you’ll want a family member or friend to take you home.

There may or may not also be pain after the extraction, but swelling and mild discomfort are highly possible within the next three or four days. Or it can take a week for your mouth to heal completely. Lastly, do as your dentist says, whether he wants you to use an ice pack to relieve swelling, apply moist heat to relieve a sore jaw, or rinse your mouth very gently.

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