Oral Surgery: The Wisdom Teeth Removal Survival Guide

Oral Surgery: The Wisdom Teeth Removal Survival Guide

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Let’s play out this scenario. You are at the dentist getting your routine teeth cleaning when your dentist breaks it to you that your wisdom teeth are either coming through or are impacted. That painful news is probably not the “wisdom” you want to here, but it is important.   

Wisdom teeth typically appear between ages 17 and 25, known as the “age of wisdom.” In prehistoric times, humans had larger, stronger jaws, and wisdom teeth helped with chewing coarse foods such as raw meat and plants.

According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, about 90 percent of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, which means there’s not enough space for it to break through the gums. The average person has four wisdom teeth, although it’s possible to have more.

Whether you’re guilty of ignoring the emergence of your wisdom teeth, getting them taken out is a pretty common occurrence, albeit a painful one at that. Many people have the surgery as teenagers or young adults.

How do you know if your wisdom teeth are a problem?

Your dentist can detect if you have an erupted or impacted wisdom tooth. Depending on your dentist’s expertise, he or she may recommend you visit an oral surgeon who specializes in wisdom teeth care.

In some cases, patients may experience symptoms such as swelling in the back of the oral cavity, limited jaw mobility, or pain when chewing. However, most people with wisdom teeth don’t feel any symptoms, which can be problematic. It is important to note, that wisdom teeth removal is still a major procedure that requires a decent amount of recovery time.  Here is a guide to surviving your wisdom teeth removal:

1. Get your wisdom teeth out with anesthesia: You’ll receive a prescription of antibiotics​ to take before the appointment and should not have anything to eat or drink at least six hours prior to the removal of your wisdom teeth. During the procedure, you’ll be sedated as the surgeon does their work. It will feel like a deep sleep, and you won’t even realize what was done. Note that you will be in pain afterwards, but every person reacts differently.

2. Pain: The level of discomfort depends on the person. Your surgeon can prescribe narcotic pain medicine such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, Percocet or Vicodin​ that will alleviate pain. However, it is suggested to combine ibuprofen with Tylenol, taking no more than 2,400 mg of ibuprofen or more than 3,000 mg of Tylenol in a 24-hour period.

3. Bleeding: You will experience bleeding with any tooth extraction, but it depends on the severity of surgery. You may also experience intermittent bleeding the first few days after oral surgery. Patients are usually given gauze to bite for 15 to 30 minutes to stop the bleeding.

4. Eating: If you’re an ice cream fan, good news: You can eat as much as you want! A liquid diet​ (yogurt, pudding, smoothies) is recommended the first 24 hours, but do not drink from a straw, since the suction can loosen blood clots. Then it’s a soft foods diet for four to five days: Think mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs and pastas. Avoid anything that requires significant chewing.

Recovery: Recovery honestly depends on the person, so there is no exact timetable. Just know that it will take some time, so try not to rush things. It is important to follow the oral surgeon’s orders.

To learn more information about wisdom teeth removal, call Atlantic Center Surgery at (954)-983-1899 to request an appointment with Dr. Stelnicki.