Wisdom teeth, or as I referred to them, those big things in the back of my mouth that are starting to hurt, I’m not going to have them taken out, I will never have them taken out. You can’t make me!

Eventually I was brought to my senses and had them removed. I was told there would be a lot of ice cream, and in that regard my bravery and courage in this matter was well rewarded.

The idea of having four large teeth in the back of your mouth removed, in an admittedly not so delicate process, is not everyone’s favorite thing to think about, especially when it’s about to happen to you. So today I’m going to take some time to walk you through the process and maybe see if some information might ease your mind or enlighten you as to why removing your wisdom teeth is so important.

Your wisdom teeth are vestigial molar, meaning that they have become evolutionarily useless. Human ancestors had much larger jaws, but as the human diet changed into one with more cooked food, the need for a third molar was no more.

Given that wisdom teeth, or the third molar, have become evolutionarily irrelevant due to our smaller jaws, the lack of space has been identified as a cause of concern as wisdom teeth often become impacted, meaning they do not fully break through the gums. Impacted teeth cause two notable problems. One, they push on the surrounding teeth which causes a chain reaction that can lead to a misaligned bite. Secondly, and most commonly, partially emerged teeth trap food and plaque which very often leads to cavities, inflammation, and an overall rotting of the tooth and its surrounding tissue. This is referred to as periodontal disease.

At the age of 65, statistically speaking, less than 2% of adults maintain impactedwisdom teeth without cavities or periodontal disease, and 13% maintain unimpeached wisdom teeth without periodontal disease or cavities. Once cavities and or periodontal disease develops, removing wisdom teeth becomes exponentially more complicated. Your risk of infection and other surgery related complications becomes much higher and recovery will be slower and more painful.

Because of this, removing wisdom teeth before they have a chance to become impacted and develop periodontitis is vital to your dental health. Periodontitis is a nasty, unpleasant development, so when your dentist tells you that it’s time to bite the bullet and get it taken care of, its best to listen and go talk to an oral surgeon.

Quick side note, when I had mine done I got the full anesthesia, they completely knocked me out. I didn’t feel a thing until I woke up sky high in the operating chair and they told it was time to go home. Some people say you only need partial anesthesia, I say, why risk it? Thanks to the miracle of modern pharmaceutical medicine, my entire operation and recovery was pain free.

Anyways, moving on to the operation itself—the exact logistics of where and when will be worked out with your doctor. Once the operation is in progress, your doctor will begin by clearing any gum or bone that is covering the tooth. After separating the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone, the tooth will be removed, perhaps in several pieces depending on the specific case.

Once the tooth is removed you may be given stitches depending on the size of the incision that was made into your gums. Again, these stitches will depend on your individual case and the nature of your teeth.

Having your wisdom teeth removed can be a relatively easy experience. I had my surgery in the morningand took the rest of the day to sit on the couch and catch up on cartoons before resuming my life as normal the next day.  A little while ago I mentioned that my surgery and recovery was fast and pain free. That was due, partially, to my consumption of pain killers. But my recovery was also a success because I followed the instructions of my oral surgeon. Follow the instructions of your oral surgeon and make sure you take the time you need to fully recover.

Your biggest risk of pain, discomfort, and complications is not in the surgery itself, but in the recovery. You now have up to four pretty decent sized holes in your mouth. If you spend the days after your surgery munching on granola without brushing your teeth, you are going to develop complications.

It is very important that you keep your mouth clean and the site of the extraction protected from hard objects. It is recommended that you wash your mouth out with warm salt water at least once a day. Your two priorities are to keep the site clean and protected. If the clotting and tissue at the site of your surgery is damaged or dislodged, healing will be delayed, or worse, you may develop dry sockets.

Dry sockets occur when inflammation develops in the jawbone of an open tooth socket after a tooth is removed. They develop when the blood clot at the site is somehow dislodged. It is painful, not uncomfortable, painful. If a dry socket does develop, immediately see your dentist. They will fill the site with something that will act as temporary clot.

In order to prevent complications like dry sockets and promote a speedy recovery, your doctor will tell you not to smoke, not to eat hard, crunchy foods, and to clean the site on a consistent basis. It greatly behooves you to heed their advice. And of course, if they prescribe an antibiotic, make sure you are taking them as scheduled and finish the prescription.

Atlantis Dental Roundhouse is a highly-recommended choice for your wisdom teeth removal needs. Their staff is committed to making sure that your operation is fast, easy, and pain free. They are an experienced team of dentists in Vancouver. So if you are looking for a New Westminster dentist or Yaletown dentist, they have the skills and facilities to make your wisdom tooth extraction as pain free and easy as possible. They understand that each patient is unique and it is their mission to ensure that your individual needs are met with individual care.