Medically reviewed by Dr. Eisen

What to Expect During Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery

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Are you preparing to bid farewell to those pesky wisdom teeth but are anxious about the procedure? You are not alone! 85% of Canadians get their stubborn molars extracted at some point in their adulthood.

After all, impacted wisdom teeth removal surgery is not just a dental procedure but a rite of passage into adulthood. And equipping yourself with knowledge about it can help you keep your dental anxiety at bay.

So get ready! From demystifying the surgery to arming you with vital tips for a smooth recovery, this article will help you dive deep into the world of oral surgery and turn your anxiety into excitement as we navigate through the ins and outs of wisdom teeth removal.

But if you’re hearing the talks about wisdom tooth removal for the first time, then you might be wondering, what are wisdom teeth? Well, let’s get into it!

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Did you always believe everyone had 32 permanent teeth that followed their milk teeth? Surprise! Only 28 make it out of the gums. The other four usually arrive much later when people are in their late teens or early 20s. They are wisdom teeth, four third-molars that erupt in the furthest back of the mouth.

Now are you wondering which wisdom tooth symptoms necessitate their removal? Read along for no two of them are the same.

Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary? Why?

These are some debatable questions that may arise in your mind as you feel the discomfort of the first wisdom tooth that pushes through your gum. It is because certain symptoms and issues accompany them.

Common Symptoms and Issues

Understanding the wisdom tooth symptoms and their severity is critical for deciding when to ring your dentist’s office:

Pain

An unusual pain in the back of your mouth right where your teeth end is a tell-tale sign of an incoming wisdom tooth. It may get more serious when you are chewing, or there is some inflammation and gum soreness.

Crowding

Wisdom teeth cause crowding in the mouth when they start emerging in the already tightly packed back of the mouth. They exert pressure on neighbouring teeth due to insufficient space, which causes different issues like:

  • Misalignment
  • Difficulty maintaining dental hygiene
  • Increased risk of tooth decay and gum diseases
  • Aesthetic issues
  • Bite problems

Infection

Owing to their inconvenient location, wisdom teeth are difficult to clean. This heightens the risk of infections and decay, and often, a person only knows there is a wisdom tooth growing in their mouth when an infection disturbs them.

Cysts and Tumors

Sometimes, wisdom teeth develop cysts and tumours that can cause irreversible damage to bone and teeth if they aren't removed timely.

Impaction

The most serious and frequent reason behind wisdom tooth extractions is impaction, wherein the teeth can't fully emerge because they get trapped under the gum tissue or bone. It causes:

  • Infection
  • Pain
  • Damage to nearby teeth

How to Prepare for Your Surgery?

Preparing for your wisdom tooth removal surgery rightly can guarantee desirable results. Thankfully, it's not that hard. Here is all you need to follow:

Instructions to Follow:

  1. Strictly follow your dentists’ pre-operative guidelines.
  2. Fast for a certain duration to avoid complications regarding anesthesia administration and aspiration.
  3. The Dentist will inform you if you need to discontinue certain medications, especially anticoagulants, to minimize your bleeding risk during and after surgery.
  4. Arrange reliable transportation to and from the appointment, considering potential lingering effects from sedation or anesthesia.
  5. Fill your pantry and freezers with soft and easily edible foods before surgery for a smoother recovery.
  6. Get your prescribed pain medicines in advance to manage post-operative discomfort effectively.

Questions to Ask:

If you are unsure about what to expect wisdom teeth removal, here are some questions you can consider asking your dentist at the pre-surgery appointment:

  • Is anesthesia necessary for my wisdom tooth extraction? What are some other available options?
  • Generally, how long is wisdom tooth surgery?
  • Can I use mouthwash after my wisdom teeth extraction?
  • Do I completely qualify for the surgery, or will it be an elective case?
  • Will stitches be required after my wisdom tooth removal?
  • Are antibiotics necessary post-operation for preventing infections?
  • How long does bleeding and swelling last after the procedure?

The Process of Wisdom Tooth Removal

The process of wisdom tooth removal comprises five steps mainly:

1. Preoperative Evaluation:

Your dentist will examine you for any health risks and explore your medical history.

2. Anesthesia Administration:

You and your dental surgeon will decide which anesthesia option best suits you after factoring in your personal preferences and medical history. Generally, three options are available:

What it is

What to Expect

1. Local Anesthesia

The doctor will inject medication into your jawbone to numb the surgical area.

You will remain awake but won't feel any pain.

2. Sedation Anesthesia

The doctor will give you IV medications to induce relaxation and drowsiness.

You will feel sleepy and relaxed with reduced awareness.

3. General Anesthesia

The doctor will give you strong anesthetics intravenously or make you inhale them to induce complete unconsciousness.

You will be in a deep sleep, completely unaware and unresponsive.


3. Procedure:

Your dental surgeon will:

  • Make an incision in the gum covering your tooth.
  • Remove and detach any bone and tissue connected to your tooth.
  • Loosen the tooth using special instruments.
  • Extract the tooth as a whole or divide it into pieces using special instruments for easier extraction.

4. Post-extraction Site Management:

Following extraction, your care team will clean the area and stitch the gum close.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery

If you are worried about the tooth extraction healing process, you need not be. Here are some essential postoperative care tips that will make the process smooth for you:

1. Control Pain and Swelling:

Take the pain medicines your dentist has prescribed and apply ice packs to alleviate the swelling every few hours for a day.

2. Manage Bleeding:

Place gauze pads over your surgical site. Avoid aggressive spitting and rinsing, and don't use straws.

3. Maintain Oral Hygiene:

Do not brush or floss around your extraction site in the initial days of your surgery. Instead, rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water.

4. Change your Diet:

Trade those hot, spicy, and hard foods with soft and easily digestible foods.

5. Limit Activity:

Avoid strenuous activities and weightlifting. Rest and don’t bend over to reduce the risk of excess bleeding.

6. Follow-up Care:

Attend follow-up appointments with your dentist and notify them of any unusual symptoms for proper monitoring and treatment.

Final Thoughts:

Wisdom tooth removal is not that complex. It is a routine procedure for many. So don't let your dental anxiety come in the way of removing those painful molars, especially now that you have enough information to be confident and prepared every step of the way.

All that is left to do is ring a good dental facility. Remember, to ensure optimal outcomes, being in good hands is essential!

Andrea Galick

Andrea Galick is an accomplished Dental Hygienist (RDH) with a passion for helping patients achieve optimal oral health. Andrea has built a reputation as a caring and skilled practitioner who puts her patients at ease and provides individualized care that meets their unique needs.

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