Do you know those four extra teeth in your mouth that you always thought as a kid gave you extra knowledge? That’s right, your wisdom teeth. Well at some point, you will likely have to have them removed. But don’t worry, they don’t actually give you wisdom. In fact, they can cause you quite a bit of pain and interfere with the positioning of your other teeth.
Having teeth pulled or removed never sounds like something you want to experience, so if this surgery is in your near future, you are likely wondering what to expect.
Contrary to most surgeries, Wisdom Teeth Extractions are quite common and generally don’t take more than 45 minutes.
Depending on your doctor and the extent of your surgery, you will either be given local anesthesia, general anesthesia, or an IV sedation. Regardless though, you won’t feel a thing.
Upon waking up or coming off of the anesthesia, you will notice some pain, swelling, and tenderness. You will also have a mouth full of gauze to help with bleeding.
The extent of your surgery will determine if your doctor will stitch the wounds shut. Stitches are very common and typically dissolve after a few days. From this point, it is all about your post-operative care.
Now that you have withstood the wisdom teeth extraction, it is time to begin the healing process. The post-operative time period is vital to your overall wisdom tooth extraction experience – it can make it or break it.
At least minor pain is unavoidable, considering you had someone pulling your teeth out. However, unnecessary pain, infections, and other complications can easily be avoided as long as you are diligent about your post-operative care.
Everyone experiences a different level of pain, but some discomfort is to be expected. Your gums and mouth will be tender and swollen. But with proper care and pain medication, the pain is only minor.
Here are a few vital recovery tips to follow:
1. Take advantage of ice packs. As with most operations, you will notice a little swelling as you start to heal. While it can be frustrating and painful, an ice pack can help eliviate some of that. Apply a cold ice pack to either or both sides for intermittent 20-minute periods.
2. Rinse with warm, salty water. We recommend that you rinse your mouth with warm, salty water for 24 hours after the surgery to help your mouth to heal.
3. Restrict your activities and allow yourself as much time to rest as needed. You will naturally be tired from the anesthesia, but you will also need extra rest as your body recovers.
4. Eat soft foods. No, mashed potatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner might not sound the most appetising, but your mouth will thank you. Between the swelling and the stitches, anything more than minimal chewing of soft foods will cause irritation. Avoid drinking and chewing on the surgical side for at least 24 hours.
Rather you are having one wisdom tooth removed or all four, surgery is surgery. Ultimately, everyone has a different experience and recovery time, but the best thing you can do is be prepared and diligently take care of yourself following surgery.
While the anticipation leading up to the day of surgery is scary, it will all be over before you know it and it will be far better than the pain you would endure keeping your wisdom teeth in.