Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Surgery: Do’s and Dont’s
Nine out of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, leading millions of Americans to require wisdom teeth removal. This makes it one of the most common surgical procedures in the country.
Still, the idea of oral surgery can be a bit daunting. However, if you prepare correctly and follow the proper steps after the procedure, you will be on your way to a swift recovery.
Wisdom teeth are the last of our teeth to show up, and they do so long past childhood when we are between 17-25 years old. Also known as third molars, wisdom teeth cause frequent trouble as they often struggle to find a place to grow normally in our gums and end up impacted.
Despite their positive-sounding name, wisdom teeth can cause extreme discomfort when they develop. This can also lead to infection, damage to neighboring teeth, tooth decay, and receding gums.
So now that you have booked your surgery and are ready to relieve your pain for good, how do you prepare?
The Day Before Wisdom Teeth Removal
Your preparation will depend on what treatment is being offered.
If your dentist is extracting more than one wisdom tooth you may need to get ready to undergo general anesthesia. This means no eating or drinking for eight hours before the surgery. Not following your anesthesia instructions can lead to serious complications.
Smoking in the 12 hours leading up to surgery is also a no-no.
Inform your doctor of any other medication you may take, and be honest about drug and alcohol consumption.
Make sure you have arranged for a friend or family member to accompany you to your surgery, as you will be too unable to drive yourself if you underwent general anesthesia. Stock up on soft foods, to see you through the coming days.
And importantly, if for any reason you are not feeling well, please give us a call, and we will discuss how to proceed.
Surgery Day: What to Expect
Our surgeons use advanced procedures which ensure less pain and swelling and will make the healing process more comfortable.
It is best to arrive early to give yourself time to complete any necessary paperwork and avoid stress. Arrive in the office dressed in comfortable, loose-fitting clothes, without make-up or jewelry.
Then relax in the safe hands of our expert surgeons, who are on the teaching faculty at the UCLA School of Dentistry and also serve as surgical staff at Providence Saint Johns Health Center.
Wisdom teeth removal can take up to an hour, depending on the complexity of the case. It is usually easier if the tooth has fully emerged, whereas a partially erupted third molar can take a bit more time.
Once you have been safely escorted home by your friend or family member, it is time for a few days of rest and recovery.
What Can I Eat?
Yes, it’s true, you can’t dive right into your regular diet right after surgery, and ice cream will only get you so far. So how do you eat after wisdom teeth removal?
The most important thing is to eat soft, smooth foods that don’t require chewing so you can avoid disturbing the wound.
Once the numbness wears off after surgery, smoothies, yogurts, mashed potatoes, or other pureed vegetables are ideal. Soup is also a good option but be careful not to eat it too hot as this can irritate the wound.
You will also need to avoid hot beverages for the first few days as this can increase your chances of a painful condition called dry socket. In addition, stay away from any hard or crunchy foods, spicy food, or soda for a few days. Visit our website to see what foods are recommended for post oral surgery.
Avoiding Dry Socket
Normally after surgery, a blood clot will form where the wisdom tooth was removed that will protect the wound and aid healing. If this clot is dislodged, it can expose painful nerve endings, make it even harder to eat, and lead to a slower recovery period.
A dry socket is one of the main complications after oral surgery. Still, it is easy to avoid if you follow your surgeon’s instructions.
Firstly, use an ice pack on the outside of your face for the first day or two. Don’t use a straw – as the sucking pressure can dislodge the clot. Smoking has the same effect so if you are a smoker, avoid doing so for as long as you can after your wisdom teeth removal.
When doing your oral hygiene routine, brush your teeth as gently as you can, and use any mouth wash or salt-water solution your surgeon suggests.
Swelling is expected after your surgery, reaching its peak 48 hours after your wisdom teeth have been extracted. To limit minor bleeding, make sure to elevate your head with two or three pillows when you lie down. Avoid strenuous activity for 5-7 days.
Further Recovery After Wisdom Teeth Removal
You may experience several other side effects from your surgery, such as bruising, difficulty opening your mouth, a slight earache, or a bit of a high temperature.
Use any pain medication as directed, and if you have any concerns contact our office where our surgeons will happily guide you through your recovery.
And if you are still hesitating over whether wisdom teeth removal is right for you, or are interested in learning more about our cutting-edge dental implant technologies, book an appointment today.