Novocaine was introduced in the 1900s as a local anesthetic to help with dental care.
Before novocaine was used, wisdom teeth removal surgeries were rarely performed unless patients were willing to undergo an agonizing procedure. Most people suffering from wisdom tooth pain simply learned to live with the discomfort.
Due to the pain associated with the procedure, wisdom teeth weren’t removed as a preventative measure as it is done now. Luckily, wisdom tooth removal has become a standard procedure that can even be done at your dentist. There’s no need for extensive surgeries.
These days wisdom teeth removal surgery is usually done as a preventative measure or the moment you start experiencing pain. Keep reading to learn what to expect during wisdom teeth removal surgery.
Why Do We Even Have Wisdom Teeth?
We don’t need wisdom teeth anymore, but our ancestors wouldn’t have been able to survive without them. Our ancestors’ diets consisted of:
- Uncooked meat
- Hard nuts and seeds
- Crunchy leaves
Since our ancestors didn’t have access to cutlery, they needed strong molars to chew these tough foods properly. If they didn’t have wisdom teeth, it would have been much harder to break the food down and would have taken much longer.
The foods we eat, the way we prepare them, and the way we physically eat the food have changed a great deal. We’ve reached a point where we no longer need extra molars to break the food down. As we evolved, our jaws reduced in size, meaning all 32 teeth couldn’t fit anymore.
Should I Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
There isn’t a hard and fast rule when it comes to getting wisdom teeth removal surgery.
It is possible that you never experience any issues with your wisdom teeth coming in, and they might never emerge. However, it is important to understand that if your wisdom teeth come out at an angle, then it can lead to some dental problems.
If you have any of the following symptoms, your dentist may recommend wisdom tooth removal:
- Pain near your wisdom teeth or gum area
- Food is constantly getting trapped around your wisdom teeth
- Gum disease
- Wisdom teeth that cause discomfort due to pressing on other teeth
- Wisdom teeth partially trapped under gums
- Damage to your jawbone around your wisdom teeth
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is usually a preventative measure, so it is possible that your dentist may recommend removal without you experiencing any symptoms. Removing your wisdom teeth reduces the risk of tooth decay and infection, and many dentists recommend it.
Wisdom tooth removal is usually done when the patient is in their late teens or early 20s, but it can be done at almost any age.
What Happens Before Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Before any steps are taken, your dentist will send you for X-rays to pinpoint the location of your wisdom teeth and to see if there are any nerves wrapped around the teeth. From there, your dentist will assess the health of your gums and wisdom teeth.
The next step will be to discuss sedation options. Wisdom teeth removal is usually done under local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. Your dentist will discuss the options with you, and you’ll decide on the best option based on your personal situation.
You also need to inform your dentist of any medication and vitamins you’re taking, as they can affect the anesthetic. This is also the point where you’ll ask your dentist any outstanding questions you might have about the surgery.
What Happens During Surgery?
This is most likely the part of the process you’re most anxious about. But fret not! There’s really nothing to be scared of.
Once your dentist has administered the sedation medication, they will numb the area around your wisdom teeth. If your wisdom teeth haven’t erupted, your dentist will make incisions to expose the area. From there, your dentist will simply loosen your wisdom teeth and lift them from the sockets.
If there are nerves twisted around your teeth, your dentist may need to cut pieces of your wisdom teeth away to ensure your nerves don’t get damaged. But you don’t need to worry about this; you won’t feel a thing.
Once the teeth are entirely removed from the sockets, the area will be stitched closed.
What Does the Recovery Process Look Like?
Most people are comfortable four days after their surgery. However, it can take a few weeks for your gums to heal completely. Essential aftercare instructions include:
- Rest as much as possible during the first few days
- Stay away from strenuous activity for a few days
- Use a cold compress as needed to reduce swelling
- Take any prescribed medication as instructed
- Leave the stitches alone
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to keep the wounds clean
After your surgery, your dentist will give you aftercare instructions to help you recover quickly.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Made Easy
Wisdom teeth removal surgery can be scary if you don’t know what to expect and how the surgery will affect you.
But you have nothing to worry about. Wisdom teeth removal has become such a standard procedure that your dentist will be prepared for any difficulties. So if you’ve been experiencing pain near your wisdom teeth, it might be time to consider removing them.
Schedule an appointment with Brown & Neuwirth Oral & Cosmetic Surgery Center today. We’re dedicated to helping our patients live healthier lives, and we can’t wait to meet you.