Wisdom teeth were necessary for our ancestors, who consumed a diet of raw plants and meat tough to chew. But today, they are not. Our diet has evolved as we have ourselves, making wisdom teeth no longer necessary, but for many patients, it’s also necessary to remove them.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
Along with no longer being needed to eat, today wisdom teeth don’t always fit well in our mouths and jaws. Human jaws have adapted to be significantly smaller in size than that of our ancestors. Because of this, without enough room to easily fit, wisdom teeth often push up and crowd other teeth once they erupt, or they are unable to properly erupt, and they stay stuck in the gum, which causes impaction. Impaction can be painful and cause infections. So, to prevent complications like these, it’s always a good idea to see your dental team regularly for a check up.
If wisdom teeth do become impacted, extraction will put an end to swollen gums, pain and discomfort, and the possibility of infection. Additionally, extracting wisdom teeth that have fully erupted but are crowding your mouth is a good idea to prevent crooked teeth, as well as to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. Decay could occur when you can’t properly reach your molars for brushing and flossing because of the crowding in your mouth.
How to Prepare for Wisdom Teeth Extraction
So, if you do need your wisdom teeth removed, how should you prepare for extraction?
- First and most importantly: no eating or drinking after midnight before surgery for your safety if receiving anesthesia. Your dental team will tell you if this is not necessary should an extraction be simple and require only topical analgesic. Otherwise: do not risk ignoring this important step.
- Honestly tell your team about any medications that you take to avoid unpleasant or unsafe interactions with anesthesia. This includes recreational use.
- Don’t smoke 12 hours prior to surgery. Better yet, don’t smoke at all!
- Get your personal space at home ready for your recovery. You will be resting for a couple of days, so make sure you’ll be comfortable. Make sure you have enough pillows to elevate your head after extraction.
- Stock up on the best foods to eat when you return home after extraction. This includes easy to eat cool foods and beverages such as ice cream, smoothies, mashed potatoes, jello, and other cool, soft foods.
- Arrive at the office in comfortable clothing and leave contacts at home - bring glasses instead.
- Remove any makeup or jewelry
- Make sure you have a friend or relative available to drive you home after the extraction if you are receiving anesthesia.
Extraction, or removing wisdom teeth, is most often done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office, using either local sedation, IV sedation, or general anesthesia to prevent pain during extraction. The gum tissue surrounding the tooth is opened if the tooth is impacted, the tooth removed, and sutures placed to close the wound. It can take 2 to 4 days to recover from a typical extraction; however, if the wisdom teeth are badly impacted, it can take a bit longer.
Ready to Learn More About Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
If you have questions about preparing for an extraction, or for a consultation, give us a call, and reach out today. We’re here to help!