For many people, wisdom teeth (also known as “third molars”) are more problematic than helpful. They often come in misaligned or emerge only partially, and some remain trapped underneath the gums. These are known as impacted teeth and can eventually cause infection of the gums and surrounding bone.
Because of these issues, many dentists recommend having the wisdom teeth removed early, even before they cause any problems. This has been a subject of some controversy in dentistry, as others believe they should be removed only when they cause a problem.
If you and your dentist decide that it’s best to have your wisdom teeth removed, here’s what you can expect:
- Your surgeon will likely use local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia for the surgery.
- Surgery will usually take an hour or less, depending on how many teeth are being removed. After spending time in recovery at the office, you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home.
- Expect a little bleeding from the surgery site for a few hours post-surgery. You will likely experience facial swelling for the first 48 to 72 hours. Ice packs will help!
- A little skin discoloration or bruising is normal. You may experience some pain or discomfort for a few days after the surgery, but your surgeon will be able to prescribe an appropriate pain medication.
- You’ll need to keep that area of your mouth clean and free of food debris until gums have fully healed.
- You should be back to normal in just a few days.
Keep in mind each surgical experience is different so it’s best to ask your dentist or oral surgeon for an overview of the procedure. He/she will be able to speak about your particular case much more in depth.