Getting your wisdom teeth removed is a routine process for dentists and oral surgeons, but it can still be scary for those who don’t know what to expect. A quick and relatively painless recovery can be aided by following a few helpful tips.
If the wisdom teeth have already grown in, removal generally requires only a local anesthetic and pulling it like any other tooth.
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, meaning they are still embedded in the jawbone underneath the gums, the process is slightly more complicated (and patients are often sedated) but it’s still a routine surgery. The dentist or oral surgeon must make an incision in the gums and remove a small portion of the jawbone that covers the tooth. The hole in the jawbone stays minimal, and the tooth is usually removed in small pieces.
Afterward, there may be some bleeding in the area the wisdom teeth were pulled from, but some gauze and a bit of gentle pressure on the area should alleviate it. The face may be swollen for a day or two, but this can be reduced by intermittently applying cold packs to the area.
My brother and I had our wisdom teeth removed on the same day. We both had all four removed, and they were all impacted. We both were sedated for the process, and neither of us had been sedated before. Our reactions and recoveries were vastly different, though. Once awakened, he had no lingering drowsiness. In fact, he bordered on hyper! I, on the other hand, promptly fell back asleep and remained incredibly drowsy for the next four or five days.
If you react like my brother, you will bounce back in no time. If you react like me, you could be taking a few extra days off. Though you will certainly start to miss solid food after days of just yogurt, pudding and Jello, it really isn’t that bad either way.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will tell you to carefully rinse the new holes in your mouth with water every day to prevent debris from getting stuck in the crevices and decaying. You must be careful not to strain your mouth or you could lose the blood clot plugging the wound, causing inflammation and delayed recovery. This painful complication is called dry socket and can be avoided by reducing physical activity for a while, brushing the teeth carefully and not sucking on straws.
Either way, recovery is generally a simple process that can be made even easier by being informed about the procedure beforehand.