Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Wisdom Teeth FAQ

Having your wisdom teeth removed is a rite of passage for many young adults. Dr. Kirk Bankhead is our go-to guy for extractions. Today he’ll answer some of the most common wisdom teeth questions.
  • Why do wisdom teeth need to come out?
    • In the majority of cases, people’s mouths are just too small to accommodate the wisdom teeth. We have cases where the patient’s teeth started shifting because the wisdom teeth were coming through. If the wisdom teeth are impacted, that they can’t break through the gums, it can lead to pain, headaches, and even gum disease down the road. Removing the wisdom teeth also makes home care easier. It becomes much easier for the patient to reach the back teeth with the toothbrush and floss without the wisdom teeth in the way.
  • When is the best time to schedule an appointment like this?
    • Try to schedule it during a time when you know you’ll be able to recuperate after. A Friday when you don’t have plans that weekend, for example. You’ll be sore after the procedure. You probably won’t be talking much, so you don’t want to schedule it for a weekend when you have a lot going on.
  • How long is the recovery period?
    • It really depends on the patient. You’ll be sore after the procedure, and limited to a soft diet for at least a couple days. You will most likely swell up a bit, and some people experience bruising. Different people have different tolerance levels for pain, and different rates of recovery. There are so many variables, but I’d say you should expect to take it easy for at least three days or so.
  • Am I allowed to eat before the procedure?
    • We don’t use general anesthesia so there is no need to fast. We use conscious sedation (the laughing gas) and a local anesthetic (Novocaine) during the procedure. We do recommend that you eat before you come in. Eat lightly at least one to two hours before your appointment. You probably won’t feel like eating after and you will be limited to a soft diet.
  • Does the insurance cover wisdom teeth extractions?
    • Most dental insurance plans cover the removal of wisdom teeth at a percentage. The way most insurances work is by implementing a yearly maximum of benefits allowed. They pay a percentage on every procedure, provided the maximum hasn’t been reached. Your medical insurance may also cover a portion of the procedure. The front desk will take care of billing your treatment to the insurance and following up with them. If you’d like to know exactly what your responsibility will amount to, we recommend sending a pre-treatment estimate to the insurance company. That will tell us exactly what your insurance will pay, and exactly what your co-payment will be.
  • Will I need medication after?
    • I’ll most likely prescribe you an antibiotic regimen to take following the procedure. The exact medication prescribed will depend on the severity of the case and whether you have any allergies. We will discuss appropriate pain management with you before the procedure.

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