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Saturday, August 2, 2014

Wisdom Tooth Extraction

A few years ago, I never could have empathised with those who have a fear of dentists even if I'd had braces or half my wisdom teeth removed. I disliked going, of course, but more because of the shame I'd feel once he or she found out how poorly I took care of my teeth or the annoyance and expense of needing something done because of my poor oral hygiene/diet. For some strange reason - maybe it is only now that I'm older and more conscious of what's going on around and within me  - I keep dwelling on my latest dental procedure: having my wisdom teeth removed.

As nice as my the dentist was, I did not enjoy the procedure and had difficulty falling asleep because I kept re-living the experience. Even now, in partial pain and an inability to eat most foods, my biggest con was the actual removal, and the reflections thereof.

If you do not need to have them removed, I'd advise you not to. But for those who DO need to, here's a rough guide for what to do and expect:

Pre-Op: Canvass for both your doctor and your panoramic xray. Some dentists will have a machine in their office and some will not. You will need to have a panoramic xray done so your teeth can be evaluated before the surgery and as a guide during the procedure. Costs for this, as well as for the procedure itself will vary. Note that while you may be charged for your consult, inquiries over the phone aren't- so don't be afraid to ask for a rough estimate. Have your xray done, find a doctor and schedule an appointment sometime where you have at least a day to recover.

Also, talk to your doctor about issues such as:

Will you need to take antibiotics before the procedure? Because if you have an infection there, you might need to in order to avoid complications later on or to defer the procedure until it's cleared up (this is where actual consultation is crucial). Ask him or her about that and other problems you may have - such as allergies to certain medications, problems with bleeding and clotting. Be informative. They'll need as much info as they can. Also, ask all the questions you may possibly have: when you go for a consult (with all healthcare professionals), its good to prepare a list of concern and questions in your head.

Other costs such as anaesthesia and medications after. Generally, the estimate they give you includes whatever local anaesthetic they use (but it never hurts to inquire, just in case). However, if you really want deep sedation, use of a general anaesthetic is much more expensive and may require an anaesthesiologist.  You may also need antibiotics after the procedure (especially if you are older). You will definitely need pain medication after. Factor in the cost of your meds.

Your dentist is your ally, but you have to things yourself. Research. Google is your friend. You should know how to take care of yourself post-op since you might be unable to after. You can also choose to stock up on the foods you will be able to eat. Hint: Ice cream diet!

Op Day: Do all of the preparations he or she tells you to and be sure to bring your xray. Come a bit ahead of time in order to do your paperwork. Hope that the procedure is quick and painless (don't be afraid to ask for more medication if you feel any). Follow the instructions he gives you and schedule your return for follow-up, if necessary (ex. suture removal). If you can, have someone with you to take you home (do not attempt to drive yourself).

Post-Op: Remember all the things you've researched and act accordingly. Make sure the blood clot doesn't dislodge and keep the area clean. If you have any problems, don't be afraid to contact your dentist and book an appointment.

After everything's done, don't forget to keep caring for your teeth.

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