When you have an impending wisdom teeth removal procedure, it is normal to become stressed and experience some anxiety. However, having the pesky molars removed is one of the most common oral surgeries in the United States. Prepping yourself for what to expect before and after your surgery can make the entire process easier and allow for a more comfortable and speedy recovery.
First of all, why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Before the time of advanced dentistry and orthodontics, humans were built with larger jaws and more powerful teeth that were needed for chewing and digesting food. Due to evolution and less of a need for such powerful back molars, the third set was pushed further back and now serve little to no function in the modern-day human’s mouth. Because of this, they can harbor diseases, cause lesions and cysts and damage other teeth if not monitored closely or removed.
How do I know whether to choose anesthesia or laughing gas?
When it comes to choosing your level of sedation for the procedure, it really is up to you. It all depends on your tolerance to being able to see, hear or sense the things that are happening around you. If you choose anesthesia, be aware that you will be groggier and less alert following the surgery but you will be completely unaware of the things happening while the surgeon performs the extraction. Laughing gas, on the other hand, packs less of a punch side effects-wise while also ensuring to keep you comfortable and pain-free. Unlike anesthesia, even once you’ve taken the laughing gas, you will be aware of the things happening in and around your mouth like the sound of the drill and the sensation of the vibration it causes (but you probably won’t care much).
Will I be swollen in the days following my wisdom teeth removal?
Unfortunately, swelling is usually part of the healing process. The peak window for the most swelling usually occurs 48-72 hours following the surgery but can be combatted with cool compresses and an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory.
What should I eat?
Most surgeons recommend sticking to a mostly liquid or soft food diet for the first four to five days following surgery. Ice cream, mashed potatoes, pudding, pasta and yogurt are all great options for a comfortable eating experience. Remember not to drink anything from a straw as the suction motion can loosen or rip your stitches, resulting in a dry socket.
Because wisdom tooth removal is a procedure that most people will have to undergo at some point in their life, it’s important to know the details of what to expect so you can prepare yourself. In addition to the above tips, remember to keep your teeth clean by brushing normally (but not vigorously!) in the days following your surgery and to bring up any concerns with your surgeon or dentist before or after your procedure.