What to do before wisdom teeth removal? [Explained]

Dental surgery can be intimidating, especially as a teenager or young adult. Yet wisdom teeth removal is a common practice and almost a rite of passage for many young people.

Regardless of how daunting you find the dentist ordinarily if you are preparing to have your wisdom teeth removed there are a few things that you should know before the big day.

Even though major surgery like this may seem scary, especially if you’ve never had such a big operation before, getting ready both at home and at the hospital on the day can help ease the process.

What to do before wisdom teeth removal

  • Prepare for anesthetic – The most important preparation leading up to your wisdom teeth removal is for your stomach. That means no eating or drinking after midnight in the lead-up to your surgery, which includes not drinking any water! This is important because for an anesthetic to work properly, you must have an empty stomach. Anaesthetic is a necessary part of wisdom teeth removal, and if you do not have an empty stomach before having an anesthetic procedure, it can be dangerously life-threatening, as it risks regurgitation and obstruction of your airway.
  • Be honest about drugs and alcohol – Your surgeon and anesthetist will need to ask you about any over-the-counter or prescribed medications you may take, and any recreational drug or alcohol use. They need to know this information to give you the right anesthetic, as bodies used to drugs and alcohol react differently to those that don’t. They are not your parents and are not asking to get you in trouble – this is for your health and safety during the operation. Additionally, if you are a smoker, you will be asked to not smoke for 12 hours before your surgery.
  • Dress comfy – On the day of your surgery, wear comfortable clothing – like a t-shirt and sweats – and wear glasses instead of contact lenses. All this helps the nursing and surgical teams take care of you easily and allows you to be most comfortable. Ladies should tie their hair back, and remove make-up, nail polish, and jewelry. While these are fun, they are not suitable for surgery, and following these rules helps make the preparation and your procedure go as smoothly as possible.
  • Bring company – It’s best that you also bring a parent or guardian with you to your appointment, as you won’t be able to drive yourself home after the operation. They are welcome to sit in the waiting area throughout your procedure.
  • Ditch your phone – We advise that you leave your phone with your guardian while you are having your procedure, as you cannot use it in the theater, and this way it is protected from getting lost or broken. You’ll have it back before you know it!
  •  Prepare your space – Get your bedroom ready for recovery, as once you come home after the surgery you will have to rest for a couple of days. Make sure that it is as cozy and comfortable as possible, and that you have your TV or laptop set up to entertain you while you rest.
  • Find soft food – You’ll also need to make sure that the refrigerator is well stocked beforehand with the right foods, as you won’t be able to eat all your normal meals for a little while. We recommend soft foods such as ice cream, mashed potatoes, and smoothies.

What to expect during your wisdom teeth removal procedure

What you can expect during your wisdom teeth removal procedure partially depends on the type of anesthetic that you receive. There are three potential types of anesthetic:

  • Local Anaesthetic – Local anesthetic is where you remain awake for your operation, but your dentist injects numbing agent into your gums around the wisdom tooth.
  • Sedative Anaesthetic – This is given through an IV line in your arm, and suppresses your consciousness, making the operation painless, and limiting your memory of it.
  • General Anaesthetic – only done in special cases, a general anesthetic is the most extreme of the options, where you completely lose consciousness and will have no memory of the surgery at all.

There are several steps to the procedure that you should be aware of before your surgery, especially if you are having a local anesthetic:

  • Once your anesthetic has taken effect, your dental surgeon will make a small cut into the gum next to your wisdom tooth to expose the tooth and the bone. They will remove any bone that prevents them from fully accessing the root of the tooth.
  • They may then divide the tooth into sections, as some wisdom teeth are easier to remove this way. Once the tooth has been removed, the surgeon will clean the site where it was previously, removing any debris left from the tooth or bone in the process.
  •  Sometimes the wound will then need stitching closed to help with the healing process, though this is not always the case.
  • Finally, the surgeon will place gauze over the wound site to control bleeding and encourage a blood clot to form. These steps will be repeated for each tooth that you are having removed.

Ultimately, wisdom teeth removal is a straightforward surgery that allows you to go home on the same day as the surgery, and which has a relatively short recovery time.

By following all of the outlined steps above, you will be setting yourself up for an easy surgery and smooth recovery with as few complications as possible.

While it may seem intimidating, hopefully, the clarity of the few steps involved and the advice is given in this article has settled your nerves and allowed you to see it as nothing to worry about, an experience that many young people go through and an excuse to lie in bed and watch TV for a couple of days.

See it as a means of reducing your current tooth pain as any pain after the surgery will be short-lived when compared to the pain and complications that wisdom teeth can cause.