Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The last four teeth to develop from the corners of your gums are known as wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth normally appear in the late teens or early twenties when the gums have receded. You’ll almost certainly require a wisdom tooth removal if it doesn’t have enough room to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), causing discomfort, infection, or other dental issues. When wisdom teeth appear, if there are challenges, brushing and keeping those areas clean can be quite difficult, leading to higher incidences of decay and soft tissue infections.
The surgery to remove one or more wisdom teeth is known as wisdom tooth extraction. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure. Even if impacted teeth aren’t currently causing issues, some dentists and oral surgeons advocate for the removal of wisdom teeth to avoid future problems, as symptom-free wisdom teeth can still harbor diseases. Recovery from a wisdom tooth extraction can take up to a week, but recovery may take longer if your wisdom teeth are impacted.
Why Consider Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Wisdom teeth are frequently extracted due to the numerous issues they cause. And having them extracted can assist in protecting your oral health as well as your general health and well-being. Those who do not have their wisdom teeth removed should plan regular dentist appointments as the risk of developing problems grows as you get older. If wisdom teeth are left untreated, they can cause:
- Periodontal Disease – Some patients may develop a serious gum condition if wisdom teeth are not removed. Periodontal disease damages the gums and can destroy the jawbone. Bacteria may then spread and infect more teeth.
- Infection – Bacteria can collect in difficult to clean areas that may cause infection.
- Pain – Pain is the most common symptom when wisdom teeth begin to erupt.
- Decay – Wisdom teeth can cause decay or resorption of neighboring teeth.
- Sinus Issues – Eruption of wisdom teeth may cause sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
- Impaction – Impacted teeth do not have the potential to erupt, so you cannot use them to chew.
- Crowding – Permanent teeth may shift, undoing the effects of braces.
- Cysts and Tumors – A fluid-filled cyst or tumor may form around untreated wisdom teeth. This can lead to more serious problems as it hollows out the jaw and damages surrounding nerves, teeth, and other structures.
What to Expect During Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon if your tooth is badly affected or if the extraction necessitates a more extensive dental surgery. Wisdom teeth surgery is an outpatient procedure, meaning you can return home the same day. You’ll be administered with one of these types of anesthesia, so you don’t experience pain during surgery: local anesthetic, IV sedation, or general anesthetic. You’ll most likely wake up in the dental chair if you’re given a local anesthetic or sedative during the extraction procedure. If you’re given a general anesthetic, though, you’ll take longer to wake up and will be transferred to a recovery room. Wisdom teeth extraction rarely necessitates the use of a general anesthetic. Even during rare occasions, it is used, you should still be able to return home the same day of surgery.
If the tooth hasn’t broken through the gum, a small cut (incision) in the gum will be made to gain access to it, and a little bit of the bone that surrounds the tooth may need to be removed as well. The surgeon may break the tooth into sections to make removing the tooth through the incision easier. If the tooth has broken through the gum, there is less need for an incision.
You’ll feel some pressure shortly before the tooth is extracted because your oral surgeon must widen the tooth socket by swaying the tooth back and forth before removing it. Because the area around your teeth will be numb, you should not experience any pain during the procedure. However, if you experience pain during the treatment, inform your oral surgeon to administer more anesthetics.
Wisdom teeth surgery typically takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete. And you can expect to be in our office for around two hours for consultation, procedure, and in-office recovery time.
What to Expect After Surgery
As you recover from surgery, you’ll gradually regain sensation in your mouth hours after surgery. It’s common to have some pain and swelling and experience slight bleeding during the first day of recovery. You can minimize your discomfort by placing ice packs on your face right away. You’ll also be prescribed pain medications or over-the-counter pain relievers.
When you wake up and feel ready, you’ll be sent home. Having someone else drive you home is a good idea, if not a requirement, if you were provided general anesthesia. After surgery, you will be advised to eat soft foods and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and smoking. Here are a few other tips to help you through the next few days after surgery:
- Apply an ice pack to your face to reduce swelling or skin color changes.
- Apply warm water for a sore jaw.
- Gently open and close your mouth to exercise your jaw.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Start brushing your teeth the day after surgery. Make sure you don’t brush up against any blood clots.
- Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor.
- Rinse your mouth gently with warm saltwater.
- Avoid using a straw for drinking as it may loosen blood clots that help your mouth heal.
- Avoid eating spicy food.
- Avoid smoking.
- Inform your dentist if swelling, fever, or pain do not subside.
Most people recover completely after this surgical procedure in three to four days. However, it could take a week to recuperate if your teeth were impacted or came in at an awkward angle.
If proper care is not taken, an infection may develop weeks after surgery because the wound left behind after surgery does not heal fully for months. Take care of yourself and be on the lookout for any potential problems.
The day after surgery, you can resume normal activity but avoid any physical activity that could dislodge your stitches or the blood clot covering your wound. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Strenuous activity
- Eating solid foods
- drinking from a straw
After the wisdom teeth removal, some swelling, pain, and bleeding are expected. By the third day after surgery, your symptoms should have significantly improved, and within a week of surgery, all discomfort and bleeding should be gone. But If you experience excessive bleeding or pain, contact your dentist immediately.
Some side effects could indicate an infection or nerve damage. If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist for assistance:
- Trouble swallowing
- Trouble breathing
- Sore throat
- Swelling that gets worse over time
- Excessive bleeding and pain
- Blood or pus coming out of your nose or mouth
To minimize infections and the risk of complications, you must take proper care of your mouth when you come home. After surgery, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you specific advice on cleaning and preserving your mouth.