What to expect when you get your wisdom teeth removed?
Chances are you’ve heard a horror story or two about wisdom teeth removal.
Whether it’s shocking confessions made under the influence of laughing gas or a procedure went wrong.
Wisdom teeth removal stories can be unusual and sometimes downright hilarious.
My personal experience getting them out at sixteen years old was definitely interesting.
Unbeknownst to me, I had fallen into a fit of loud hiccups after being placed under anesthesia.
The loud noises echoed like thunder around the clinic, prompting my sister who was about to be next to panic and attempt to escape and fight off the doctors.
I woke up peacefully an hour later with no idea of the commotion I had caused.
I only found out about it until days after my appointment, as my family did not want to stress me out with the news of the incident.
If you’re reading this article, there’s a chance you’ll be able to one day share your experience one day too!
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is an experience talked about by many and enjoyed by none.
When it’s your turn to undergo the dreaded procedure, it’s important to know as much as possible before you set foot in the dentist’s office.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Your wisdom teeth, also known as back molars, are four teeth located at the back of your mouth, one in each corner of your mouth.
They typically begin to grow after you have lost all of your baby teeth and gotten permanent ones.
Although the earliest humans needed a third set of molar teeth to break down their food, nowadays, in many people, they do more harm than good.
If you begin to feel pain or swelling inside of yourmouth, this is a sign your wisdom teeth could be coming in.
You may even see the tips of them peeking through the skin at the back of your mouth.
If your wisdom teeth are “impacted” and press against your other teeth, they can lead to infections and permanent damage if not removed quickly.
It might be a good idea for you to talk to your dentist and possibly get an x-ray.
The majority of people who have their wisdom teeth removed are in their late teens to early adulthood.
However, it is not uncommon for people outside of that age range to have problems with their wisdom teeth.
There are also some people whose wisdom teeth grow without any problems.
However, one in four will later go on to develop gum disease.
Even if you do not have any pain or symptoms, your dentist may still decide you’re a candidate for wisdom teeth removal. You can also get a procedure to prevent any problems from happening later on.
What to expect when you get your wisdom teeth out?
Once you receive the news, do not panic! Millions of people have had this procedure before and lived to tell the tale.
The next step is to discuss your options with your dentist.
Although some dentists perform the procedure in their offices, others may refer you to an oral surgeon.
Either way, you’re in good hands. It may be necessary to shop around for the best price, however.
Depending on the type of anesthesia you will receive and the complexity of the procedure, the cost of having your wisdom teeth removed will vary greatly.
It may cost between $75 to $200 for each tooth without anesthesia. If you opt for local anesthesia, you will remain conscious but will not feel anything.
Although it is cost-effective, not all dentists will have this as an option.
General anesthesia, the kind where you fall asleep, will make your procedure a bit more complicated as you may need to spend a little bit of extra time in a recovery room.
It is also considerably more expensive, costing up to $800. Some dentists will even use a combination of the two.
How should I prepare for wisdom teeth removal?
Once you decide on where you’re going to get your procedure done, set up an appointment and request time off for recovery.
If you have a family member or partner in the house who is willing, ask them to drive you home from the clinic and take care of your everyday duties while you recover.
If you attend school, it’s a good idea to ask your teachers for the assignments you’ll be missing so you won’t fall behind.
Most people recover in around three to four days. However, if your wisdom teeth are at an awkward angle or are too deep, you may be looking at a few more days of rest.
Depending on how soon your appointment is, you’ll want to begin looking for soft foods.
Some examples of foods you’ll be able to eat following the surgery include mashed potatoes, smoothies, soups, applesauce, yogurt, and of course, ice cream.
One of the best parts of having your wisdom teeth removed is having an excuse to eat as much ice cream as humanly possible.
If ice cream isn’t your thing, popsicles are a solid alternative and can help numb the area.
There are some foods you will want to hold off on until you’ve healed more, though. Crunchy, chewy, and spicy foods can delay your recovery, as pieces may find their way into the wisdom tooth holes and irritate them further.
Speaking from personal experience, a backrest pillow works wonders when it comes to post-extraction mealtime in your bed.
Complications to Consider
It is important to understand the risks of wisdom teeth removal before agreeing to the procedure.
In some cases, you may experience an unusual but harmless side effect, such as my anesthesia-induced hiccups.
However, as with any surgical procedure, there is always a risk for severe infection, a broken jaw, or even nerve damage.
Do research on your specific needs, especially if you have other health conditions that may further complicate the surgery.
It may be risky to have your wisdom teeth removed and you may have to go to a hospital instead of the local dentist’s office.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Day One
Before The Procedure
The night before the procedure, do not have a heavy meal or drink liquids past midnight if you will have general anesthesia.
When you arrive at the clinic, you’ll need to check in with the front desk. Depending on which one you go to, you may also need to fill out some paperwork regarding your health history beforehand.
Plan on arriving twenty to thirty minutes early to get situated.
Once you’re taken to the seat where you’ll get your teeth removed, make sure to ask the surgeon and anesthesiologist any questions you may have because afterward, you’ll wake up with a numb mouth full of gauze.
Your surgeon may also give you a nosepiece to wear for extra oxygen if you receive an IV or laughing gas.
At this point, try to remain as calm as possible. It’s easy to get scared if you’ve heard tales of what could go wrong, but you’ll make it through.
Wisdom teeth extraction in most cases takes less than an hour to complete. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way home to recover.
During the procedure, the surgeon will cut the gum covering your wisdom teeth, remove them, and stitch up the holes.
Unlike regular stitches, these ones will dissolve in a few days and do not need to be removed.
After the procedure, the surgeon will place gauze on the wounds to clot the blood. If you opted for local anesthesia, you will be sent home right after the procedure.
If you had an IV and were unconscious, the surgeon will lower the level of anesthesia in your blood so you can wake up and return home.
This may take a bit longer, so make sure your driver is able to accommodate you should you be finished earlier or later than expected.
Before you return home, your driver may want to stop by a drugstore to pick up any antibiotics or pain medicine you have been prescribed.
In addition, you can get additional gauze from the bandage aisle. Until the bleeding stops, you can replace the gauze pads the surgeon has provided with fresh, dry ones.
When you feel like your gauze is getting too heavy or wet, check it to see whether you are still bleeding and continue to replace it as needed. You’ll want to bite gently on the gauze to hold it into place, but be very gentle.
Wisdom Teeth Recovery: What to Expect After Surgery?
Avoiding Dry Sockets
After you get your wisdom teeth extracted, there are multiple side effects you may experience. One of the most common ones is a dry socket.
Avoid straws at all costs! While sipping on them may seem like a good alternative to opening your mouth to drink.
It can dislocate the blood clot that forms in the holes, causing additional pain and lengthening your recovery time by a week.
It’s also a good idea to eat with the front of your mouth for the first few days, as your stitches are still fresh.
Even though they are secure, the area still may be tender and harder to clean.
Cleaning the Wound
You may be advised by the clinic to buy or make a salt rinse. As an alternative, you can get a premade cleaning solution through a prescription at the local pharmacy.
If that isn’t the case, you can mix half a teaspoon for every 8 ounces of water.
To prevent infections and keep your mouth clean, your surgeon may advise you to rinse out your mouth with this liquid five to six times a day at a minimum.
Do not spit the solution out; instead, tilt your head downwards and let it exit your mouth without any force.
Keeping your mouth as clean as possible will make your recovery much quicker and protect you against any unnecessary pain.
So it’s important to follow these guidelines no matter how tired or sick you may be feeling after the procedure.
Short-Term Side Effects
Some side effects you may experience will wear off within the first day.
If you received a local anesthetic, your cheeks and tongue may feel numb and huge. It isn’t uncommon to become dizzy or sick either.
Waiting for the anesthesia to begin wearing off before eating anything may be a good idea if you’re prone to becoming nauseous.
A good way to counteract any feelings of sickness you may face is to drink lots of water.
Staying hydrated is an essential part of recovery and it helps fill up your stomach so you won’t feel completely famished if you’re unable to make it to the fridge to grab your next meal.
Avoid exercising during recovery, as it may lead to more blood flow and stop the clotting process.
Another activity to abstain from is smoking, as it can bring disease to your wound and form a dry socket.
If you experience severe pain, incessant vomiting, continuous bleeding, or oozing pus, you should get into contact with the clinic immediately.
You may have an infection or nerve damage and will need to have it checked out by a professional before continuing in the recovery process.
After six weeks, the bones in your mouth will shift to accommodate the void where your wisdom teeth once were.
Over time, you may even notice a change in your face shape and structure.
While some people have reported that they have a sharper jawline or a slimmer face since their wisdom teeth removal, others say that they have developed asymmetrical features.
If you are concerned about this, it may be a good idea to bring this up with your dentist. Even after your wounds heal and your stitches disappear, you will want to stay on top of your dental hygiene game.
The holes, although they may be covered by healed gums, still continue to recover and fill with fresh tissue months following the removal.
Getting your wisdom teeth extracted is definitely not fun. However, rest assured that it’s an experience you go through only once in your lifetime.
With a bit of knowledge and a lot of bravery, your wisdom teeth removal experience will soon become a distant memory and fun story to share at parties.