What You Can Expect During Your Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery

It finally happened to you: Your dentist told you your wisdom teeth have to come out. If this describes your situation, chances are he will outsource the procedure to an oral surgeon who specializes in wisdom teeth removal. After the procedure is complete, you should recover fully in a few days to a week.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Have To Come Out?

Wisdom teeth are the last to come in of the three sets of molars that are located in the back of the mouth. Most of the time these molars come in during the late teen years but can come in as late as the mid-20s. Most people will have no problems associated with their wisdom teeth but occasionally they can cause issues like those listed below which will require their removal.

– They are impacted. Wisdom teeth are located far back in your mouth and because of this location they often come in abnormally. Instead of erupting fully like your other teeth, they may become partially trapped in the gums and jaw, which can lead to pain and chronic infection.

-They come in misaligned. When they come in misaligned, they have a tendency to grow against nearby teeth.

– Your mouth is too small. If your mouth isn’t big enough to accommodate this third set of molars, there won’t be room in your jaw for them either.

– Gum disease and cavities. Because of the location of wisdom teeth in the mouth, it can be difficult to reach them with a toothbrush which could lead to cavities and other dental issues.

Pre-Surgery Preparation

Before any extraction occurs, your oral surgeon will schedule an appointment so that he can discuss the procedure with you. Be sure to bring the following information with you to this appointment:

– Let the dentist know about any health issues you have.

– Give him a list of any medications you are currently taking.

– If you have questions about the procedure, be sure to ask.

– Since anesthesia will be used during the procedure, be sure to discuss this with your dentist as well. Wisdom teeth removal is performed while the patient is either asleep or awake with the area numbed by an anesthetic. If you have a preference, let your dentist know and he will accommodate you if possible.

– Don’t forget to schedule time off for the surgery and the recovery after. If you have children or pets, make sure you make arrangements to have them taken care of during this time, and don’t forget to have a ride home available if you will be unable to drive yourself.

The Surgery

In most cases, the entire wisdom tooth removal process will take around 45 minutes.

To make sure you feel no pain during the process, you will receive one of the anesthesia types below:

– Local: If your doctor has decided to go with a local anesthesia, he will inject the area to be operated on with a shot of Novacaine. Some doctors also use nitrous oxide to help patients relax. Any effects experienced from novocaine or nitrous oxide are temporary and will wear off soon after the procedure is finished.

IV Sedation: some dentists like to combine a local anesthesia like Novocain with IV sedation drugs that are administered via a vein in your arm. The anesthetic delivered via IV will make you drowsy, and it’s quite likely you will sleep through the entire surgery.

– General: When receiving a general anesthetic, the drugs are delivered either via an IV or through gas that is breathed in through a mask. These general anesthetics will knock you out completely, and you will be sound asleep during the entire procedure and likely for an hour or so after as well.

Post Surgery

Anesthesia affects each patient differently. If your dentist used a local anesthetic like novocaine, it’s likely you’ll be able to drive home just fine after the surgery. If necessary, going back to work that same day may be possible. General anesthesia is a different animal, however, and it is most likely you’ll still feel a little drowsy after waking up and will need someone to get you home because you won’t be able to drive yourself.

After surgery, you should suffer from very little pain. There may be some swelling and minor soreness for a few days at most. However, it will likely take 2 to 3 weeks for your mouth fully heal.

Just be sure to follow any post-surgery instructions that your doctor gives you to make sure your recovery goes smoothly.