Wisdom teeth or third molars, are the last teeth to erupt, usually between ages 17 to 25. While some wisdom teeth grow in properly, many become impacted or only partially emerge due to lack of space. Partially erupted wisdom teeth enable bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause problems like pain, swelling, and infection. This is why dentists often recommend wisdom tooth extraction.
If your dentist advises removing your wisdom teeth, don’t delay. Timely removal prevents more extensive problems down the road. However, it’s normal to feel nervous about wisdom tooth surgery. Understanding what to expect can help ease worries and set you up for smooth recovery.
Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Out?
Dentists typically advise wisdom tooth removal if the teeth are:
- Partially impacted below the gums, leading to infection risk
- Positioned sideways or crooked due to lack of space
- Causing misalignment by pushing on other teeth
- Damaging the roots or crowns of nearby teeth
- Developing cysts in the jawbone tissue
- Causing persistent pain, swelling or inflammation
- Disrupting orthodontic treatment
Don’t wait for your wisdom teeth to become an emergency before taking action. Schedule removal in a timely manner before problems worsen or extensive decay develops.
The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
Oral surgeons perform wisdom tooth removal surgery, usually under local anesthesia and IV sedation for relaxation. Here’s what to expect:
- The surgeon will examine your teeth with x-rays first to plan the extraction.
- Anesthetic will be administered to numb the area.
- A small incision will be made in the gum to access the impacted tooth.
- Bone or tissue covering the tooth will be removed.
- The tooth will be carefully extracted. Stitches close the site.
Thanks to modern techniques, wisdom teeth removal Las Vegas NV is a quick outpatient procedure with minimal recovery time.
Caring for Your Mouth After Wisdom Tooth Surgery
Proper aftercare is crucial for smooth healing after wisdom tooth extraction. Here are some tips:
- Control bleeding – Apply gentle pressure with gauze. Don’t disturb the wound.
- Manage pain – Use ice packs and OTC medication as recommended.
- Reduce swelling – Apply cold compresses to minimize facial swelling.
- Eat soft foods – Stick to a liquid diet at first, then gradually add soft foods.
- Practice oral hygiene – Brush gently after 24 hours, taking care around the site.
- Limit activity – Avoid strenuous activities for at least 1-2 days.
Closely follow your surgeon’s post-op instructions for optimal recovery. Most tenderness and swelling should fade within 7-10 days.
What to Expect During Your Recovery Period
Wisdom tooth removal recovery varies by individual. Here’s a general timeline of what to expect:
- Days 1-3 – Most swelling and pain occurs during the first three days. Stick to soft foods and lots of fluids. Use ice packs regularly. Avoid disturbing the surgery site.
- Days 4-7 – Swelling, pain, and stiffness start improving by the second half of the first week. Slowly add soft foods like yogurt, eggs, and soups.
- Week 2 – Most patients turn the corner at the start of the second week. Swelling continues to go down. Pain should be mild. Resume light activity.
- Weeks 3-4 – Stitches dissolve during this time. Swelling subsides further. Discontinue pain medication. Return to a normal diet.
Call your oral surgeon if you have any severe symptoms during recovery like excessive bleeding, intense pain or fever. Otherwise, allow your body ample time to heal.
The Cost of Wisdom Tooth Surgery
The price of wisdom tooth extraction depends on several factors:
- Number of teeth being removed
- Level of impaction
- Need for surgical exposure
- Type of anesthesia
- Geographic location and clinic fees
On average, you can expect to pay:
- $75 – $200 per tooth for simple extraction under local anesthetic
- $150 – $400 per tooth for surgical removal of impacted wisdom teeth
Many dental insurance plans provide coverage for wisdom tooth extraction, especially when medically necessary. But confirm costs upfront with your provider.
Preparing for Smooth Wisdom Tooth Removal
These tips can help you prepare for comfortable wisdom tooth extraction and recovery:
- Schedule when you can take time to heal – Have the surgery when you can take a few days off work or school to recover.
- Arrange transportation – You will be given anesthesia, so you need someone to drive you home after surgery.
- Stock up on soft foods – Have items like applesauce, protein shakes, yogurt, and soup on hand.
- Prepare ice packs – Cold compresses help reduce swelling and pain. Frozen peas work too.
- Avoid smoking – Refrain from smoking for a few days before and after surgery.
- Set up a recovery area – Prepare a spot where you can rest quietly with your head elevated.
- Take it easy – Don’t plan any big events right after surgery. Allow time to heal.
Proper planning and preparation helps ensure your wisdom tooth extraction is as quick and comfortable as possible.
Looking Forward After Wisdom Tooth Removal
Getting your problematic wisdom teeth removed is a wise investment in your long-term oral health. Although recovering from surgery may feel unpleasant initially, focus on the benefits:
- Your mouth will be free from the pain of impacted wisdom teeth.
- You’ll avoid serious problems like infections down the road.
- Nearby teeth will no longer be at risk of damage.
- Your dental health will be preserved for years to come.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a rite of passage for many adults. With proper care before and after surgery, it can be completed smoothly and comfortably. The short-term inconvenience paves the way for an improved, healthy mouth for life.