If your teen is going to have wisdom tooth extraction in the near future, chances are he or she is feeling a little nervous about the situation. After all, for most teens, having wisdom teeth extracted is their first experience with any sort of surgery. Explaining a few things about the process can help your teen get a better idea of what to expect during and after the procedure, making the idea of wisdom teeth removal less intimidating. Here are five things to tell your teen about wisdom teeth removal:
EARLIER IS BETTER
If your wisdom teeth are causing problems or your dentist says they will, getting them removed as early as possible is the best way to go. That’s because leaving them in too long can make it harder to remove them later, as the roots develop and the bone tissue around them hardens. More difficult wisdom teeth removal means more pain for you, as will dental problems caused by wisdom teeth that crowd or cause damage to other teeth. Additionally, teens heal faster than adults, so putting it off until you’re 25 will likely mean a longer, more uncomfortable recovery.
ANESTHESIA IS GREAT STUFF – YOU PROBABLY WON’T FEEL A THING
Wisdom teeth removal is surgery, so most teens figure it must be much more painful than other dental work. However, it’s a fairly routine procedure for most teens, usually taking just a few minutes per tooth. Besides, most procedures are done these days with both local and IV anesthesia, which pretty much guarantees that you won’t feel a thing. Most patients don’t even remember the procedure after it’s over. You will have some pain after the anesthesia wears off, but in some cases, it may be mild enough that over-the-counter pain medications can take the edge off, but chances are that your Indianapolis oral surgeon will prescribe something stronger for those first few days after your procedure.
THE CHIPMUNK LOOK WON’T LAST LONG
You will have some swelling after wisdom tooth extraction, but it usually only lasts a few days. That means that if you plan your procedure during a school break, you won’t have to appear in public looking like a chipmunk. Using ice packs on your face the first day and taking it easy the first few days as per your oral surgeon’s instructions can keep swelling to a minimum and help the swelling you do have clear up faster.
YOU WON’T HAVE TO DO WITHOUT PIZZA FOREVER
A soft-food diet is a must right after wisdom teeth removal, but it doesn’t last too long. Most teens are back to a regular diet usually in less than a week. In the meantime, there are advantages to that soft diet, like pudding, smoothies and ice cream, for instance. Just be sure to stay away from straws to avoid dry socket and rinse your mouth after you eat to avoid irritation and infection.
SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS ARE RARE
Despite all the horror stories on the internet about wisdom teeth removal, the fact is, serious complications during or after these procedures – like severe anesthesia reactions or nerve damage – are extremely rare. The most common complications are relatively minor – dry socket or infection, for instance – and even these aren’t very likely, occurring in a small percentage of patients. You can minimize your risk of problems after surgery by carefully following the aftercare instructions given to you by your oral surgeon, especially during those first few days.