Most people realize that a trip to the dentist once in a while is a necessity, but hardly anyone enjoys it. In fact, according to psychologists, dentophobia is one of the most common phobias among people of all ages. Unfortunately, dental health is not something you can simply ignore.
As such, it is vital to prepare yourself for a visit, especially if it involves any kind of procedure, e.g., a tooth extraction. This way, you will know what to expect, which will make the whole experience less scary.
In this article, we will focus on wisdom tooth extraction, as it is one of the most frequently performed dental procedures. Below, you will find the list of questions and topics you should raise with your dentist to gather the necessary information; they involve the talk about anesthesia, the duration of the procedure, potential risks and complications, and recommended routines for before and after the extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively simple procedure, but it can be a bit painful. For this reason, your dentist may suggest local or general anesthesia.
Local anesthesia is the mildest form of pain control. It involves the injection of an anesthetic into or around the tooth that is to be removed. The main advantage of this method is that you will stay conscious throughout the procedure; it might give you a sense of control. Also, you won’t need much time to recover. However, it may be less effective than general anesthesia in some cases.
General anesthesia requires you to receive a sedative injection to make you drowsy, and then you will be put under by anesthetic. This way, you will fall asleep and experience no pain during the procedure, though it will take longer to recover.
Ask your dentist what they recommend and why. You can also get into the details – what kind of substance do they use? Do they have an anesthesia machine? How do they calculate the correct dosage? Consider how much you need to know to calm your mind.
The duration of the procedure depends on a number of factors. For example, if your dentist has to extract all four wisdom teeth during one visit, it will undoubtedly be more complicated and time-consuming.
Another important factor is your dentist’s experience and skill level. If they have been performing this procedure for a long time, especially with the help of the same technique, they will likely perform it faster than a beginner.
In addition, the condition of your teeth may also affect the duration of the surgery. In case you have not visited a dentist for a while, your wisdom teeth are probably not in the best shape – which means that your dentist will have to spend more time on each tooth.
In short, ask about your dentist’s experience with this procedure, their average time performance, and how long you will need to recover.
Most of the complications associated with wisdom tooth extraction are not severe, but they can be unpleasant. For example, you may experience some bleeding after the surgery, though remember that it’s entirely normal. Your dentist will probably recommend you apply an ice pack to the area. You should only come back for a checkup if the bleeding becomes excessive or doesn’t stop. However, even if that’s the case, you will only need some antibiotics.
Another thing is your body’s reaction to the anesthesia. It may cause nausea or vomiting, but it should subside soon after the procedure.
It is also important to mention that if your wisdom tooth roots are not completely erupted, your dentist might have to cut into your gum. This can lead to inflammation or infection in the gums or even require some stitches.
Ask your dentist how many times they have performed the procedure and what kind of complications they encountered. You might also ask what you can do before and after the procedure to smoothen the process.
Some of the most important things you should do before wisdom tooth extraction include:
● Ask about any specific instructions you should follow before the surgery, e.g., whether or not you can take certain medications.
● Arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure; your dentist will likely recommend you not drive for a couple of hours after the surgery, especially if you’ve had general anesthesia.
● Make sure you have some painkillers at home. Your dentist might give you some, but it’s better to be prepared.
On the other hand, there are also some things you should do after the procedure:
● Call your dentist if you experience excessive bleeding or swelling that doesn’t seem to go away.
● Rinse your mouth with warm water regularly, especially after meals. You can also use salt water to reduce swelling and irritation.
● Apply an ice pack on the area for 20 minutes at a time.
● Avoid exercising or straining yourself for 48 hours after the surgery.
● Do not smoke or drink alcohol while taking antibiotics. They can interact with each other and cause damage to your liver or gastrointestinal tract.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a standard procedure that should not be feared. As long as you are well-informed, it will probably turn out to be safe and relatively painless. However, it is essential to remember that complications are possible, which is why you should always follow your dentist’s instructions.
After all, you don’t want to spend weeks recovering from an unnecessary complication. It’s also vital to note that if you have any other medical conditions or if you are taking any medications, you might experience different side effects after your surgery.