Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, usually appear around early adulthood. While some people may not experience any pain associated with their wisdom teeth, others may find these teeth problematic and will need to have them removed. A wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure often conducted by oral surgeons. But what exactly happens during this procedure? How long does recovery take? And what can one expect during the healing process? Here is what you can expect during wisdom teeth removal and recovery.
Step 1: Consultation and Preparation
Before undergoing the removal procedure, you will have to undergo a consultation with the dentist to determine the position of your wisdom teeth. A dental x-ray and consultation with your dentist will help you determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary.
You may be prescribed antibiotics before the procedure and asked not to eat or drink for several hours prior. It is important to follow these instructions. Secondly, arrange transportation to and from the surgery, as you may feel groggy and unable to drive.
Step 2: Procedure
Once at the dentist's office, the procedure will begin with anesthesia, which may be general, local, or sedation. The dentist will make an incision in your gum tissue to reveal your tooth, remove any bone blocking the tooth, and then 'loosen' your tooth. Finally, they will extract your tooth. Depending on the position of the tooth, the dentist may need to consider stitches.
Step 3: Recovery
Although the extraction procedure itself is short, the recovery process may last a couple of weeks. The following guidelines may also help during recovery:
- Bite on a gauze pad for a couple of hours after surgery to minimize bleeding.
- Apply an ice pack to your cheeks for the first day to help reduce swelling and bruising.
- Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy food, and avoid drinking alcohol or smoking for a few days after surgery.
- Take over-the-counter painkillers and prescribed antibiotics to help with the healing process.
Step 4: Follow-up and Care
Your dentist will give you a follow-up appointment after the surgery to check up on your healing process and remove any stitches if necessary. It is imperative to continue to follow instructions on care for an effective recovery.
Wisdom teeth removal is a common and safe procedure, but it is important to prepare yourself and follow guidelines for an effective recovery. Contact your dentist to learn more about wisdom teeth removal.