Having Your Wisdom Teeth Out? Plan Ahead

The time has come for your wisdom teeth to be removed! This may cause some stress, but like many other obstacles, with some planning there’s a lot you can do to help ensure you have a smooth experience.  

The first step is having a consultation with an oral surgeon you feel comfortable with and trust. Looking for certification by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) can be a good way to narrow your search. Board-certified oral surgeons are held to high standards of clinical skill and patient care.

Next up is preparation. The day of your procedure will likely look something like this:

  • Follow any pre-operative instructions that your oral surgeon goes over. This may include avoiding food and drink for 6 hours prior to surgery or an alteration in your home or prescribed medications.
  • The procedure usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. All in all, expect to be in the office for about 90 minutes.
  • After the procedure, you’ll need someone to get you home, and someone should remain with you for the rest of the day.

Steps to take in advance

Schedule your appointment when you’ll have the next two to three days free from school or work obligations. Make sure that the parent or friend who will accompany you is available all day the day of your procedure. Take care of any errands or chores you would normally have ahead of time. Stock up on nutritious liquid and soft cool foods. Your oral surgeon may give you some prescriptions to use after the procedure. If possible, pick them up in advance so you don’t have to stop on your way home after surgery. 

The night before, unwind with your favorite de-stress activity and get a good night’s sleep. On the day, wear comfortable clothes. Avoid shoes that are difficult to walk in, nail polish and jewelry, and trade contacts for glasses. 

The final step is following through on postoperative instructions and recommendations provided by your oral surgeon. They’ll include methods for managing swelling and pain, like applying an ice pack and using pain medication, as well as directions for keeping the affected areas clean. Proper post-op care will help reduce your pain and recovery time, but it’s also very important for preventing future complications and infections.