Summertime is that blissful time of year when most people think of nothing but backyard barbecues, pool parties, and family vacations. While dental procedures may be the last thing you associate with this season, summer is a great time to have your procedures scheduled and performed. Let’s review reasons why this might be beneficial for you.
The majority of individuals will have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives. Most of us will have them removed somewhere between the ages of 15-22 – the timeframe in which wisdom teeth usually attempt to emerge. These teeth (normal adults have four total wisdom teeth) are third molars that start developing in the back of the mouth, behind the other two sets of molars that have been in place for years. They often grow in “canted,” causing them to impact the rearmost existing molars at an angle.
While there are some dental professionals who advise against removing them until there is a problem, it is an easier and substantially less-invasive surgery when performed on a teenager or individual in their early 20s. The reason is simple – the wisdom teeth haven’t grown fully-formed roots and the surrounding bone is softer at a younger age. This makes extraction much simpler, with less chance of nerve damage than performing the surgery later. Additionally, for many, wisdom teeth can cause much pain and other oral health problems. In short, the sooner, the better for having them removed.
For individuals who are likely candidates for wisdom tooth surgery, the summertime presents some real advantages with regards to scheduling. It may not be at the top of your list of “things to do” but there are ways you can benefit.
More time to recover
While wisdom tooth surgery isn’t necessarily classified as “major surgery,” patients will likely receive general anesthesia and be required to take it easy for some time after the surgery. Most high school-aged kids will have far fewer responsibilities over the summer, reducing the risk of them missing too many days of school while recovering from the surgery. Adult students won’t worry about missing college classes during critical times of the year, and most working adults factor in some time off during the summer months.
Summer is a good time to have wisdom teeth removed because most patients will wait until it is vital before undergoing the procedure. If timed correctly, individuals can schedule a wisdom tooth surgery, or a procedure for a family member, during the summer months when so many people are out of town. This makes it far easier to schedule the wisdom tooth extraction for the exact date and time that works best for the patient.
Better control, post-surgery
Patients will be required to stick to a special diet for at least a few days after the surgery, which is far easier to manage at home than at school or work. Stocking up the house with the right soft foods and cool drinks can make recovery more comfortable. If a parent or guardian is concerned about the post-surgery diet for a child or dependent, they can keep a watchful eye on their “patient” while at home. The ability to take pain medications without having to worry about driving to school or work, or even staying awake during a class is another big benefit to scheduling the surgery over the summer.
A large percentage of those who undergo wisdom tooth surgery are teenagers, which is par for the course when you consider the age at which wisdom teeth normally try to make their entrance. Since the recovery phase of wisdom tooth surgery often involves some significant facial swelling, redness, and pain, teens won’t have to be worried about what they look or sound like while recovering. Parents can also keep an eye on teens more closely over the summer, and take charge in administering appropriate dosages of painkillers as needed.
Wisdom tooth extraction is generally quick and healing times are often quite short – one big benefit of having the surgery during the teenager to early 20s stage.
First, the patient is given a sedative – either a local that numbs just the area around the extraction site, a “twilight” sedation that essentially allows the patient to feel just on the verge of sleep, or full oral sedation. The oral surgeon will determine the appropriate level of sedation, but patients can provide input as to their concerns and thoughts related to their comfort with the surgery.
Next, the surgeon will remove any gum tissue found over and around the wisdom tooth in question. Any bone covering the wisdom tooth will also be removed. The tooth is extracted gently using forceps, and the surgeon may then choose to stitch the open incision closed. Finally, each incision site will be packed with several layers of cotton gauze to keep any additional bleeding to a minimum.
Before the long, warm days of summer start to shine, make sure you make an appointment with your preferred dentist to discuss your overall dental health, the oral health of your kids or family members. Then, work closely with your dentist to create a dental care plan that takes advantage of the relaxing days of summer.