What to Expect With a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth might be an indicator that you are getting older, but for those who have to get them removed, the mere thought of what is coming is often enough for you to wince and dread the upcoming procedure. This sense of dread is amplified due to the anxiety surrounded by the procedure, but knowing what to expect and how to prepare can help you stay calm and be ready. This guide was put together to help demystify the process and so that you know how to heal after a wisdom tooth extraction.
The Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure
There are a few different steps involved with a wisdom tooth extraction, from the anesthesia step to the tooth removal to healing.
Types of Anesthesia
Local Anesthesia numbs the area but keeps you awake. You will feel pressure and movement but not pain.
Sedation Anesthesia is administered through an IV. You will be conscious, but you might not remember a lot of the procedure. You won’t feel any pain.
General Anesthesia blocks pain and knocks you out so that you won’t remember the surgery. This option is often best for long operations.
Steps Taken By Your Dentist During Your Appointment
The steps your dentist will take after you have been administered anesthesia include:
- An incision is created to expose the tooth or teeth being removed.
- The tooth might be divided into smaller pieces for easier removal.
- The tooth is removed. Extra care is taken to ensure there is nothing left behind.
- The wound is then stitched closed, and gauze is placed on top to promote healing.
What to Expect Following a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
- Difficulty Eating or Swallowing
How to Take Care of Yourself Following Your Wisdom Tooth Removal
Caring for your health following a tooth removal is paramount:
Use Specialty Gauze
Gently bite down to reduce bleeding and promote clotting over the wound. You will want to change this out at least every 20 minutes.
Keep Your Head Elevated
Minimize the amount of blood going to your head by keeping it elevated. This will reduce the bleeding.
Use Cold Packs
The area where your tooth or teeth were extracted will be swollen, bleeding, and tender. The first 24 hours are typically the hardest, so applying cold packs on the outside of your cheek for 15 to 20 minutes can help manage the pain and reduce the swelling.
Stay in Bed
Physical activity – even just walking around or trying to go to work – can and will make the bleeding worse. If your wound breaks open consistently throughout the day, it will take a lot longer to heal.
Eat Soft Food and Stay Hydrated
You won’t be able to chew for a few days, so stock up on soft foods like soups, yogurts, and so on. When you drink, try not to use a straw as this can irritate your mouth and break up the clotting in your mouth.
Use Warm Salt Water
You won’t be able to brush your teeth until 24 hours after the procedure, but during that time and until your wounds are healed, you will want to rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep the wound clean.
Smoking can severely complicate the healing process and should be refrained from for at least 24 hours.
Prepare Before Your Surgery
Wisdom teeth removal will cause post-op pain, but knowing what to expect and how to prepare your home can take the stress out of your healing process.