Many people have heard horror stories about oral surgeries, but the reality is that millions of people have their wisdom teeth removed each year with absolutely zero complications.
To give you an idea of just how common this extraction is, 85 percent of all people require it during their lifetime. As with any procedure, staying well-informed will help you attain the best possible results, and also provide some much-needed peace of mind.
Know your dentist. This may sound like simple advice but selecting a dentist you trust is the first step toward terrific results. If you’re a candidate for the surgery, you’ll surely have some questions going into it. A reputable dentist will quell any anxieties you might have, as well as inform you of preventive measures to ensure you don’t have any complications. Depending on whether your dentist is utilizing local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia, your pre-op instructions may differ.
Should you have anesthesia, you’ll want to schedule a friend or family member to pick you up, as you won’t be able to drive after being medicated for the procedure. While everyone’s recovery times are different, it’s best not to get behind the wheel for at least a few hours following surgery.
It’s important to ready your home environment prior to going in for surgery. You’ll want to have plenty of extra pillows, as keeping your head propped up is the ideal position for reducing inflammation. Staying busy will keep your mind occupied and off of any discomfort – so, select a few of your favorite Netflix shows to watch and check out some page-turners from the library.
Pre-op prep should also include stocking your pantry and fridge with a variety of soft, easy-to-eat foods. Applesauce and lukewarm soups are excellent items for your post-op menu. Cold foods will feel soothing on the mouth; however, you’ll want to steer clear of spicy foods that can exacerbate the pain of open wounds. One rule of thumb is to have enough proper food choices on hand for at least 24 hours.
While on the topic of food, heed your doctor’s advice on when to start fasting prior to your surgery, as anesthesia may cause vomiting. Most patients should start fasting at midnight the night before. There are exceptions, however, such as people with diabetes, who are usually advised to eat breakfast the morning of to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
Staying hydrated and drinking plenty of water is important for the healing process following surgery; just remember to skip the straw! While the “no straw” instruction may seem to be a part of current environmental efforts, this actually has to do with a different reason: the dreaded dry socket. This painful condition can arise when the extraction clot is removed via suction when using a straw, exposing raw nerves. It is one of the most frequently-cited problems related to wisdom teeth removal.
Take a day or two off work. The optimal downtime following wisdom-teeth extraction is 48 hours. You’ll want to avoid doing anything too strenuous during this time, and don’t be afraid to lean on friends and family for support while healing – whether that means having them walk your dog or pick you up something to eat.
If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, start by doing your due diligence. You’ll want to choose a dentist that specializes in oral surgery, as these procedures require a different set of skills than mainstream dentistry. Dr. Ernie Soto is a reconstructive dentist certified in both nitrous oxide sedation and IV sedation, so he has all the necessary tools to make sure that patients are as comfortable and relaxed as possible. He prides himself on his personalized approach to oral care. For more information, call his office at (954) 368-6264.