prepare for wisdom teeth removal

Have you recently been given the distressing news from your dentist that it is time to have your wisdom teeth removed? Or even more distressing—you receive the news regarding your child.

The idea of oral surgery can be frightening, but if you take steps in advance to be well-prepared, it will make your surgery and recovery go much smoother.

Chris Tye, DDS, MD, has been removing teeth for years, and he understands all too well the concerns patients and their caregivers have when it comes to oral surgery.

Here, he will offer 9 tips on how to prepare for your wisdom teeth removal surgery.

  • Choose an oral surgeon
  • Ask all the questions
  • Go shopping
  • Have a “Plan B”
  • Prepare your home
  • Rest, Relax, and Hydrate
  • Ask for Exparel®- A Non-narcotic option for pain-free wisdom teeth removal
  • Ask What Painkillers can I take during recovery

Tip #1 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Choose an Oral Surgeon

While there are many general dentists out there who perform wisdom teeth removal, you want to be sure you go with someone who has the training, education, and experience. For the most part, tooth extractions are a relatively “minor” surgery, but complications can occur, especially for impacted teeth. Potential risks include bleeding, infection, and nerve damage.

An oral surgeon has received an additional four years of training in oral surgery after completing dental school. Also, they perform surgeries all day, every day. When you compare this to a dentist who took a weekend course on tooth removal and performs maybe a handful a month, the answer should be obvious.

Oral surgeons also receive extensive training and experience in anesthesia other dentists do not get. Therefore, you can rest assured you will receive effective, safe anesthesia for your surgery.

Tip #2 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Ask All the Questions

Before your consultation appointment, prepare a list of all the questions you have. If you have them written down, you won’t forget to ask. While the dental team will most likely cover most of the information you need, you may want additional answers.

Some great questions to ask include:

  • What type of anesthesia will you use?
  • Will I (or my child) need to fast, and if so, for how long?
  • Will I need a ride home?
  • What time should we arrive?
  • Can I fill out the paperwork in advance?
  • Is there anything I need to avoid before surgery? (For instance, certain medications)
  • How long will the procedure take?
  • How long before I (my child) can return to work (or school, or sports)
  • Can I get any prescriptions in advance, so I don’t have to get them the day of surgery?

Remember, your dental team wants you fully informed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and get all the answers you need to ease your mind and help avoid confusion and stress.

Tip #3 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Go Shopping

If you are the one having surgery, you don’t want someone else to have to make a run to the store for you after your surgery. And if it is your child who will be recovering, the last thing you will want to do is leave them home alone.

If your surgeon gave you prescriptions, you want to fill them before the day of surgery. You may also want to pick up a few small ice packs. Also, black tea bags can be helpful for post-op bleeding.

Tip # 4 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Get the Proper Foods for a Smooth Recovery

Soft foods such as soups, eggs, pudding, Jell-O, yogurt, applesauce, oatmeal, and cottage cheese are recommended for a smooth recovery. It is also beneficial to have cold items such as ice cream and ingredients for smoothies. However, for five days after your procedure, it is important to avoid using a straw and to avoid drinking carbonated beverages (such as Coke or Pepsi) after wisdom teeth removal to prevent dislodging the blood clot. Another great thing to stock up on is things to drink—for instance, Gatorade, protein drinks, flavored water, and juice.

Tip #5 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Have a “Plan B”

Life happens, and it is always a great idea to be prepared with a backup plan.

If your child is the patient, you will want to be present for the entire surgery. And then, of course, you will want to bring your child home and offer lots of TLC. But what if on the day of surgery, your other child wakes up sick?

What if you go to leave and your car won’t start? Or if your friend who is supposed to drive you calls with a family emergency? Before the day of surgery, find a friend or family member who is willing to be your backup. This will make your day much less stressful if the unexpected happens.

If you are the patient, know that you can NOT drive yourself to the surgery. If you arrive unaccompanied to surgery or plan to drive home by yourself, we will not be able to proceed with the procedure. Have a companion or family member plan to stay for the duration of the wisdom teeth removal which is usually about an hour. Also, arrange for a responsible adult to remain with you throughout the day.

Tip #6 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Prepare Your Home

For the smoothest recovery, you want to be as proactive as possible. Get all your “chores” done well in advance so that you can have a restful recovery.

Set up a recovery area that is comfortable, safe, and includes a lot of pillows. A recliner works well, as it is best to keep the head elevated after surgery.

Make sure everything you or your child might need is within reach. For instance, water, a box of Kleenex, the TV remote, cell phone, magazines, books, a laptop, gaming equipment—whatever the patient may be interested in doing. (We suggest being careful about social media activity and texting/calling people while under the influence of anesthesia!)

If you want to be particularly proactive, you may want to consider that a sudden attack of nausea and vomiting can happen. As can a good bit of bleeding. Have gauze, a trashcan, and some towels nearby.

Make sure the ice packs are in the freezer.

Tip #7 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Rest, Relax, and Hydrate

When considering how to plan to spend the remainder of your day, it is crucial to prioritize relaxation and self-care to support your overall well-being. Rest is essential for your recovery, so it is advisable to refrain from engaging in strenuous activities such as exercise, work, or school-related tasks. Embrace the opportunity to unwind by indulging in activities that bring you comfort and joy, like watching movies or finding a cozy spot to relax.

Allow yourself the luxury of rest and sleep to rejuvenate both your body and mind.

  • Resting your jaw keeps the blood clot in place, which is important for proper healing and reducing the risk of infection. It is important to avoid strenuous activity for five days after your procedure
  • Relaxing your body helps reduce stress, which can have a positive impact on the recovery process. It allows your body to focus on healing and promotes a smoother and easier recovery experience.
  • Hydration is essential for the body’s healing processes, including healing in the gums. Drinking enough fluids helps keep the tissues hydrated, supports proper blood flow, and aids in the removal of waste products, which can contribute to faster healing.
  • If you (or your child) will be receiving IV sedation, you may be instructed to fast. Avoid the problems that dehydration can cause by hydrating as much as possible for a few days before surgery. Water is good, but you may want to consider drinks that contain carbohydrates, such as sports drinks, vitamin water, and juice. Dehydration increases the risk of post-op nausea and vomiting. It also makes your IV much harder to start. So, drink up and stay hydrated.

You (or your child) can expect to start feeling normal again within three to four days after the surgery. However, if your surgery is more complex, such as involving impaction, the recovery time may be longer. It’s important to keep in mind that complete healing may take up to a month. By following the aftercare instructions provided, you can help ensure a smooth recovery process.

Remember to avoid activities like smoking, spitting, using a straw, and engaging in strenuous exercise, as these actions can interfere with your healing process.

Pain Management

To effectively manage pain, various options are available to ensure a comfortable experience. During the surgical procedure, you will not experience any pain as different levels of anesthesia can be used based on personal preferences. Our team is highly skilled in administering anesthesia to guarantee a safe and pain-free procedure.

Post-surgery, a combination of pain medications will be provided both in-office and for you to pick up at your pharmacy. We prioritize non-narcotic options and have found that the combination of Motrin and Tylenol is highly effective in controlling pain. Additionally, we offer a specialized ice pack designed for wisdom tooth removal that can be easily worn without the need to hold it in place. You will also receive reusable ice inserts to use on a schedule of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off for the initial two days post-procedure.

Tip #8 for Wisdom Teeth Removal: Ask for Exparel®– a Non-Narcotic option for pain-free Wisdom Teeth Removal

During the recovery process after a wisdom tooth removal procedure, there are various pain options that can be considered. Commonly, potentially addictive narcotics (also known as opioids) are prescribed that come with a variety of unpleasant side effects. Exparel® is a long-lasting time-released numbing medication given at the end of the procedure that keeps the region locally numb for up to three days, preventing the need for narcotics.

Tip #9 For Wisdom Teeth Removal: What Painkillers can I take during the recovery process?

If you are experiencing mild to moderate pain, an anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen might suffice. However, some individuals may encounter more severe pain, in which case, it may be necessary to consult with an Oral Surgeon who can prescribe stronger medications like Vicodin or codeine. It is rare patients need these narcotics if Exparel® is administered. It is important to communicate with your Oral Surgeon about the level of pain you are experiencing so they can determine the most suitable painkiller for your specific situation.

Call Us Today

If you are in the Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, or Keller area and are needing your wisdom teeth removed, give us a call at (817) 552-3223 today. One of our helpful team members would love the opportunity to answer your questions and get you scheduled for a consultation.