Summertime is the best time…to have your wisdom teeth removed!
Having one’s wisdom teeth removed is essentially a rite of passage, practically on par with high school graduation. Technically known as third molars, history suggests that the more common name – wisdom teeth – came about because they are the last four of our 32 teeth to appear, which generally happens between our late teens and early 20s.
While not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, the vast majority of us do because we simply don’t have space by the time these molars arrive. As a result, they become impacted in bone or gum tissue, causing crowding among current teeth which can lead to severe jaw pain, infection and damage to adjacent teeth. To reduce a patient’s risk, a surgical procedure is required to remove the impacted teeth. For specific information on the types of impactions, see our section dedicated to wisdom teeth.
Not sure if you or a loved one need wisdom teeth removed? There are several degrees of impacted wisdom teeth, based on where the teeth lie within the jaw. To evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if there are present or potential problems, patients should undergo an oral exam and x-rays of the mouth. Please note, even if you are not currently experiencing discomfort, you may still require extraction as some patients show no symptoms at all.
While the removal of wisdom teeth is common, it is still considered surgery and should be regarded as such. When performed by an oral surgeon versus a general dentist, a deeper level of sedation is provided for the patient’s maximum comfort. Oral surgeons are trained in a hospital-based residency to administer general anesthesia. The practice of office-based anesthesia is tightly regulated by the state, and oral surgeons in Texas undergo mandated office anesthesia evaluations and our staff is specifically trained in the office based anesthesia model. We can administer outpatient IV sedation, which allows patients to literally sleep through the procedure with no recollection of surgery. Drs. Stewart and Michael have over 40 years of combined experience, including extensive training in all types of wisdom teeth treatments and are well-equipped to manage any potential complications that arise.
For non-emergency cases where patients have the ability to schedule wisdom teeth extraction in advance, summer is the ideal time to have it done. The thought of summer vacation probably doesn’t bring images of a dental chair to mind, but you might think differently after reviewing the following reasons:
Recovery Time – Healing from oral surgery takes time. Typically, we recommend taking a few days off from work or school to rest after your wisdom teeth are removed. Given that we tend to have lighter schedules in the summer months, it’s generally one of the best times to be out of the office (and there’s no school to miss). As a bonus, when you return to work you may have a lighter load than you would during other times of the year.
Pain Management – Many patients are able to control pain after extraction with over-the-counter medications. However, some people require prescription pain medications that can cause nausea and / or interfere with their ability to focus and stay awake. With a lighter schedule, patients are better able to rest comfortably, with or without prescription medications, as there isn’t the usual rush to get back on schedule.
Be sure to ask Dr’s Stewart and Michael about non-narcotic pain management options- we have several excellent options available.
Special Diet – After this procedure a patient should expect a sore mouth and will need to stick to a modified diet for a few days. Soft foods, such as smoothies, ice cream and popsicles, will make recovery easier – especially when they’re enjoyed outside in the fresh air and sunshine!
Lifted Moods – Summer generally ushers in higher spirits and lifted moods. Even if you find yourself in recovery mode for a few days, being able to walk outside and feel the sunshine makes it much easier to handle than being cooped up inside during frigid temps.
We understand that no one wants to spend precious summer hours undergoing and recovering from oral surgery, but if it has to be done there’s no better time than summer. Before your calendar fills up with family and friends, contact any of our four locations (Denton, Plano, Decatur, Gainesville ) to schedule a consultation.