We are all different when it comes to our teeth, and wisdom teeth are no exception: Are my teeth crowded? Do I have enough room for my wisdom teeth? Are my wisdom teeth impacted in the gums?
X-rays are essential to tell whether your wisdom teeth are impacted or not. With them as a guide, your dentist can recommend exactly when (and if) your wisdom teeth should be removed. Some patients will have wisdom teeth that are more deeply impacted (or embedded) than others, meaning that their surgery may be a little more difficult and their recovery slightly more prolonged.
It’s difficult to predict how every individual will fare after wisdom teeth removal. But there are definitely some things you can do on the day of surgery to make for a faster (and less painful) recovery.
1. Start taking your pain medication almost immediately. The local (and/or general) anesthetic begins to wear off after about an hour following surgery; that’s when your post-operative pain may begin to kick in. Think prevention: Take your prescription (or over-the-counter) pain meds before the pain starts.
2. Have an adequate supply of soft foods and fluids on hand at home. Wisdom tooth surgery may limit what you can and cannot eat, so buy soft foods such as juice, soup, apple sauce, yogurt, pudding and cottage cheese, etc.
3. Prepare a comfortable resting place beforehand. Some people are “out and about” soon after wisdom tooth removal, but all patients should take a little time to rest and recover. Make sure you have ice packs, gauze, and a pillow or two for your favorite couch or recovery place. TV, TV remote, a supply of DVDs, and plenty of nourishing foods, etc., can help pass the time while recovering. You may be down for a day or two (sometimes more), so plan accordingly.
4. Learn about possible complications that can happen following surgery. Listen to your Oral Surgeon before and after surgery on what to watch out for. Learn about how to prevent or reduce swelling, possible dry socket and trismus, or muscle tightness, so you can recognize their signs and symptoms should they occur. If you have any concerns at all, seek appropriate help from the Oral Surgeon and/or dentist.
5. Be gentle when cleaning your teeth. The normal blood clot in the extraction site needs time to heal. Brushing may be uncomfortable, so brush gently in the areas of the surgery. Be sure to keep your mouth fresh and clean afterwards by gently rinsing following any food and/or beverage.