A common question that you’ll run into is, “how do I get over the fear of getting my wisdom teeth pulled?” We often here our Los Angeles and Beverly Hills patients saying that they’re down-right “scared of wisdom teeth removal” and would rather deal with the annoying pain than have the procedure. The problem to being afraid of your oral surgeon and having the procedure done is that most of those fears are irrational, based on horror stories that you’ve heard from grandparents or read on the internet. The best way to combat fear is to become familiar with the unknown, and in this case that unknown is the wisdom teeth extraction procedure.
Wisdom teeth extractions are the most common oral surgery procedure that your oral surgeon or dentist can perform. He probably does an average of one per day, and has the procedure down to an art. The actual act of removing wisdom teeth involves some anesthesia, a skilled hand, and a proper recovery.
The removal of wisdom teeth involves opening up the gum tissue over the tooth and taking out any bone that is covering the tooth. According to WebMD, your oral surgeon will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth. Sometimes the dentist or oral surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. At the end of the procedure, you will either need a bone graft to replace some of the bone that was removed with the tooth, and you will more than likely need stitches, which will dissolve over time.
Now, that might sound insanely scary and a little painful, but be mindful of the fact that you’ll be either under anesthesia or a very happy patient on “laughing gas.” Either way, you will feel no pain during the procedure, and probably won’t feel much of anything for a few hours following the procedure.
A common fear among those getting their wisdom teeth removed in is the amount of blood loss. Many people can’t stand the sight of blood, especially their own, which is why it’s important to follow the oral surgeon’s requirements for a quick recovery. Following your oral surgeon’s recovery requirements will also help to ease some of the swelling.
While the process is fairly simple, and in most cases you’ll sleep through it anyways, the recovery process is all in your hands, and the hands of your friends and family. Have someone accompany you to the wisdom teeth removal appointment in order for them to be well aware of the recovery steps, and so that they can give you a ride home. In most cases, the recovery period lasts a few days. Some patients will recover in two days, some in a week. Be prepared to take it easy for as long as it takes.
Your oral surgeon will provide you with gauze to be placed in the areas where your wisdom teeth were pulled. Bite gently on the gauze periodically and change them frequently. Your mouth will be very numb after the procedure, so be careful not to bite your cheeks or tongue. Prop up your head with pillows and pop in a movie or a good book. Don’t lie flat on your back, as this will increase the bleeding.
If swelling is a big concern, use ice packs on the outsides of your cheeks for the first 24 hours. Some patients experience little to no swelling at all, while others will experience more. Speak to your oral surgeon about how impacted your wisdom teeth are and how much swelling your should expect.
Do not smoke for at least, AT LEAST, 24 hours after surgery, eat soft foods such as pudding or soup, and avoid using a straw for a few days. Do your best to avoid irritating the area by touching it with your tongue or fingers.
While there are risks to any surgical procedure, there are very few risks to having your wisdom teeth removed and the positive outcome far outweighs the pain that you will endure if you don’t have the procedure done. If you’re still having fears about wisdom teeth extractions, talk to your oral surgeon about those fears.