If your dental professional recently recommended wisdom teeth surgery, you may be concerned or worried about the procedure. Since millions of Americans fear dental procedures, this is completely normal. The best way to help prevent this anxiety is to learn all you can about wisdom teeth surgery before your procedure.
The Prevalence of Wisdom Teeth Surgery
While you may have heard horror stories about wisdom teeth surgery, millions of people have the procedure done each year with no complications. In fact, approximately 85 percent of people need to have their wisdom teeth extracted during their lifetime. (1)
You may wonder why so many people need to have their wisdom teeth removed and what impact wisdom teeth surgery may have on your ability to chew. The truth is that we don’t really need our wisdom teeth, otherwise known as our third molars.
Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were used to chew the coarse diet our ancestors ate, which consisted of nuts, roots, and even raw meats. Today, diets include softer meats and we have cutlery that makes food easy to cut and eat. In addition, human jaws have become smaller over time, causing impacted wisdom teeth and the need for wisdom teeth surgery. (2)
Wisdom Teeth Surgery and Age
If you’re thinking about putting the surgery off, think again. The older you get, the more difficult wisdom teeth surgery can become. When you are young, the roots are not completely formed and the surrounding bone is softer, which leaves less chance for damaging nearby nerves. Your roots will continue to grow with age, making wisdom teeth surgery more painful and prone to complications as you get older.
Wisdom Teeth Surgery: What to Expect
Being well-informed will help reduce anxiety the day of your wisdom teeth surgery. Here are some things you should know about the wisdom teeth surgery process before you get started.
- Prevent Pain: If you are scared of the pain you may experience during your wisdom teeth surgery, don’t be worried. Your dental professional will ensure you are comfortable during the procedure by administering local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia. Be sure to discuss which type of treatment may be best for you with your oral surgeon prior to the procedure. This will also impact your ability to drive after the procedure. You’ll need to have someone pick you up if you will be fully sedated or under general anesthesia.
- Know Your Numbers: How long will it take, how many teeth will be removed, and how much will it cost? Knowing this information beforehand can help you prepare. Your procedure will vary in length and complexity depending on how many teeth you need to have removed during your wisdom teeth surgery. Cost will be dependent on your insurance coverage or the oral surgeon’s financial policies. Be sure to know this information and understand what to expect before you get started.
While wisdom teeth surgery may sound overwhelming, having all the information you can gather beforehand will ensure you are well-prepared. Finally, be sure to review your post-surgical instructions with your surgeon before wisdom teeth surgery, since you are likely to be groggy after the procedure. Follow these instructions carefully to get your mouth back to good health quickly.