There are several reasons to remove wisdom teeth. These include, but are not limited to: minimizing the risk of infection, ensuring the health of adjacent teeth, limiting the amount of bone loss at adjacent teeth, minimizing chances of pathology, and ensuring good overall health. Schedule a consultation today to see how we can make this experience a pleasant one for you.
WHY WOULD I NEED TO HAVE MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED?
You may need to have your wisdom teeth removed for many reasons. One of the most common reasons for wisdom tooth extraction is that you don’t have enough room in your jaw to accommodate your third set of molars. If you don’t have sufficient space for your wisdom teeth, they can push your other teeth together, causing overcrowding, overlapping, and twisting.
You may also need to have your wisdom teeth removed if they’re impacted or only partially erupted. Impacted teeth can increase your risk of:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
Your dentist can often predict if you’ll have wisdom teeth problems based on what they see in your dental X-rays.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING SURGICAL WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL?
Most times you will be sedated or under general anesthesia, prior to your wisdom teeth removal surgery, to keep you as comfortable as possible. First, your surgeon cuts away a portion of your gums to reveal the bone beneath.
Next, your surgeon cuts into the bone to reveal your wisdom teeth impacted inside. Often, your wisdom teeth will be broken into portions to make it easier to extract from the jawbone. Once the teeth are removed the area is thoroughly cleaned to remove any debris.
Finally, the surgical sites are stitched up to promote healing and limit the chances of infection.
WHAT IS THE RECOVERY LIKE AFTER WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL SURGERY?
You might feel a little groggy as soon as you wake from sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgical team will have you bite down on gauze to slow down and stop any bleeding. Once bleeding has stopped make sure you don’t do a lot of spitting or use a straw to drink. This can cause clots to become dislodged, causing a painful condition known as a “dry socket.”
For the first day or so your surgeon might prescribe some medication to help with any pain or swelling. After a few days, pain can easily be managed with over-the-counter medication.
DOES IT HURT WHEN REMOVING WISDOM TEETH?
Your surgeon will guide you through the many anesthetic and sedation options before your surgery. Normally a local anesthetic is applied to the area of the extraction to block any pain as the wisdom teeth are extracted. The surgeon will apply the right amount so that you don’t feel any pain. You will also be given the option of sedation. Sedation can put you in a twilight state, helping you to relax throughout the surgery.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE TOOTH EXTRACTION?
Wisdom teeth extraction is an outpatient surgery, so you may go home after the surgeon has finished. The effects of the sedation will continue until the next day so it’s important you don’t drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours. You should also rest for a couple of days and return back to normal activity slowly. You will need to be careful not to dislodge the blood clot that has formed over the extraction site for at least a week. This may include making adjustments to your diet. You shouldn’t eat crispy or hot foods during this time. You should also avoid vigorous rinsing as this too can dislodge the clot. After a week or so, you can slowly introduce crispier foods and return to your normal diet.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO RECOVER AFTER REMOVING A TOOTH?
It may take a few days for the pain to subside. Once the medication you received from the surgeon has finished, you may relieve any pain with over-the-counter painkillers. Don’t be surprised if you see some swelling or slight bleeding for at least 24 hours after the surgery. You should be alert to any serious symptoms that may develop and call the surgeon if you experience the following:
- Heavy bleeding or extreme pain after 4 hours since the extraction
- Indications of infection including chills
- Nausea or vomiting
- An excessive amount of discharge
- Coughing, shortness of breath, or chest pain.
Within two weeks you should notice the gum starting to heal over and you could return to normal activity.