Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure that many people go through. If you’re wondering how long the entire process takes, from preparation to recovery, keep reading to find out!
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How should I prepare for wisdom teeth removal?
Before the extraction, you’ll have a consultation with an oral surgeon. They will examine your wisdom teeth and take dental X-rays to determine their exact location. This is the perfect opportunity to discuss any medications or supplements you’re currently taking with your surgeon. They will also discuss sedation dentistry options, such as local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, IV sedation, or general anesthesia.
If you opt for IV sedation or general anesthesia, your surgeon will provide detailed instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. This may include fasting after midnight the night before and temporarily ceasing certain medications (but always consult your surgeon before stopping any medications).
What happens during wisdom tooth extraction?
On the day of the procedure, your surgeon will take the following steps:
- Administer anesthesia to numb your teeth and gums, ensuring your comfort.
- If necessary, make incisions in your gums to expose teeth trapped in your gums or jawbone.
- Carefully loosen your wisdom tooth and extract it from its socket. In some cases, the tooth may need to be divided into sections for easier removal.
- Clean the area thoroughly to prevent infection.
- If required, close the surgical site with stitches.
- Place gauze over the sockets to control bleeding.
How long does this procedure take?
Wisdom tooth extraction typically lasts an hour or less, but more complex cases may take longer.
What happens after wisdom teeth removal?
After the procedure, you can expect mild discomfort, slight bleeding, and swelling. Your oral surgeon will provide instructions on managing these side effects. Once the sedation wears off enough, a trusted friend or family member will drive you home.
Dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction
Every patient receives specific postoperative guidelines. Following these instructions is crucial for managing bleeding, swelling, and pain. Here are some general tips to keep in mind:
- Leave the gauze in place for about 30 minutes after the surgery. Replace it with a clean one if necessary. The bleeding should slow down before removing it completely.
- Rest as much as possible. Take at least three to five days off to recover at home. If your job is physically demanding, you might need to wait longer before returning to work.
- Use an ice pack wrapped in a clean towel to reduce swelling. Apply it to your face for 20 minutes, then remove it for 20 minutes. Repeat this several times a day.
- Keep the extraction sites clean by gently soaking them with alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash. Avoid swishing, as it can dislodge blood clots and cause dry sockets. Instead, lean your head from side to side to let the mouthwash soak the areas.
- Brush and floss your other teeth daily, taking care to avoid the extraction sites. This prevents infection and maintains oral hygiene.
- Take all prescribed medications as instructed by your surgeon. These medications help keep you comfortable and reduce the risk of infection.
- Drink through a straw, as it can dislodge blood clots and lead to dry sockets.
- Exercise until your surgeon gives you the green light. Elevating your heart rate increases the risk of pain, bleeding, and swelling. In most cases, you can resume your fitness routine within 48 to 72 hours.
- Lift heavy objects, as this can also contribute to postoperative complications like pain, bleeding, and swelling.
- Consume hard, crunchy, or chewy foods, as they can damage your healing gums and cause discomfort.
- Drink carbonated beverages or alcohol-containing drinks for at least five days, as they can dislodge blood clots and lead to dry sockets.
Remember, everyone’s experience with wisdom teeth removal may vary. It’s essential to follow your surgeon’s instructions and take good care of yourself during the recovery process. If you have any concerns or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to your oral surgeon for guidance.
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