What to Expect from a Wisdom Tooth Extraction

in Teeth

Most of us don't give much thought to our wisdom teeth during the first 20 years of our lives; they'll grow in eventually, sure, but so what? And then one day we wake up with swollen gums, a sore jaw, or just the tiniest bit of a tooth poking through the surface of our gum line, and we realize – just like a baby, we're teething! Suddenly wisdom teeth are a reality, and so is the need to have them extracted.
While a few lucky people have jaws big enough to accommodate the extra added bonus of wisdom teeth, most of us have evolved to a point where our mouths are simply too crowded to hold any more pearly whites. This means that our wisdom teeth need to be pulled out or extracted, preferably before they develop strong roots and our jawbone increases in density (as it will with adulthood). Family dentists typically refer patients to an oral surgeon, but if you have recently moved or don't have a regular dentist, oral surgeons are listed in phonebook and Internet directories just like everyone else. Choose a surgeon who makes you feel secure and comfortable when discussing the procedure; chances are, if you don't like the surgeon, you won't like the surgery either.
The day of the extraction, your surgeon will carry out the procedure depending on how many teeth require removal, the level of impaction, and other factors. An impacted wisdom tooth is one that has not fully broken through the gums, and it usually requires general anesthetic to remove. Don't be nervous, though -- general anesthesia is actually less scary for most people, as it's hard to worry when you're unconscious!
After the procedure is complete, you'll be sent home to recover. General anesthesia makes most people woozy for a day or two afterwards, so make sure that you arrange to have a spouse, friend, or family member drop you off and pick you up. There will be holes in your mouth where the teeth used to be, so don't be surprised to find large wads of cotton gauze packed down in the back of your mouth to keep pressure on the wounds. These spaces will need to be cleaned daily; the first few times will be painful, but your oral surgeon should provide you with a prescription for medication. Don't hesitate to use it! Your body can't heal itself while in constant pain, and "toughing it out" won't make things better for you or anyone else. You may experience some swelling in your cheeks and jaw, but this is normal and will subside after a few days.
Once your wisdom teeth have been pulled, you'll feel silly for ever having worried about this safe and simple procedure! And just think – if you still believe in the tooth fairy, that's four extra quarters going under your pillow.

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AraHovsepian has 1 articles online

Ara Hovsepian had his own wisdom teeth out a few years back, and it turned out that his oral surgeon wasn't anything like the scary, metal-tool-wielding demon he'd been imagining. For more info on dental surgery and veneers, visit www.awisdomtoothextraction.com.

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What to Expect from a Wisdom Tooth Extraction

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This article was published on 2011/07/19