Wisdom Tooth Removal
What is Wisdom Tooth Removal/Extraction?
Wisdom tooth removal is a surgical method that involves removing one or more wisdom teeth (permanent adult teeth at the back corners of the mouth). In case, your wisdom tooth pains or gets infected then the dentist needs to pull it out. An oral surgeon or a dentist may perform the extraction of the wisdom tooth. However, some oral surgeons suggest wisdom tooth removal to prevent any future problems.
Removing the wisdom tooth is not necessary unless it is serious. Typically, the surgery is non-risky and does not include any severe complications.
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars. They usually appear between 17-25 years of age however, some may never see their appearance at all. Some people have impacted wisdom teeth i.e. teeth that do not develop normally as they have less space to grow. They may either erupt partially or may not be seen at all. Effects of an impacted wisdom tooth:
- Grows towards the next tooth
- Can grow at the back of your mouth
- Traps within the jawbone while growing straight upside or down like other teeth
- Grows at the right of the other teeth
What are the problems with an Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
The dentist may pull out your impacted wisdom teeth if;
- It pains severely
- Periodontal disease (infections or any gum disease)
- Tooth decay in the impacted tooth
- A cyst around the wisdom tooth
- Collection of food behind the impacted tooth
- Severe complications with orthodontic treatment
- Any damage to the surrounding area or tooth
What about the stitches?
You will need stitches if your dentist cuts the gum tissue. However, they will tell you whether or not the stitches will dissolve on their own. Schedule a visit to your dentist if they don’t go their own way. Some researches show that alternatives to stitches like tissue glue are less likely to create complications.
Is Wisdom Tooth Removal necessary?
As long as your wisdom tooth is not causing any problems, there is no need to remove it. However, if you feel pain or any kind of discomfort from the same, then you can ask your dentist to remove it without any further delay. If your wisdom tooth will not get enough space to grow in the mouth then it can erupt at the wrong angle resulting in damage of the adjacent tooth. Moreover, your dentist may remove your third molar early because of the bones which become harder with age. If you delay the extraction that may also result in excessive bleeding and surgeries may also cause loss of jaw movement.
What questions you should ask your dentist before the procedure?
There are several questions which you should ask your dentist before they proceed with the surgical procedure like:
- How long will the procedure take to complete?
- How many wisdom teeth you will remove?
- Will it hurt?
- What type of anesthesia you will use on me?
- Are my other teeth safe from the impacted wisdom teeth?
- Are there any serious complications?
- How long will it take to heal?
- Are there any other treatments that I may need later?
You may have your own questions too. It is safe to stay alert and attentive.
On the day of surgery
The removal of a wisdom tooth is an outpatient method that means you can go home the same day after the surgery. However, the clinic will offer instructions for the fix surgery date. Besides, you need to ask these questions:
- When should I come again for the checkup at the clinic?
- Should I take necessary precautions like what to eat or drink after the surgery?
- Do I have to avoid any non-prescription medications before the surgery?
- How soon should I take a dose after the surgery?
What to expect during and after the procedure?
During the procedure:
Your dentist may use these types of anesthesia based on the situation of your wisdom tooth and the complexities involved thereafter:
An oral surgeon may inject one or more injections near every extraction point. They will apply a gel before inserting the injection to soothe the area. You will not feel any pain or pressure during the surgery.
Your surgeon will offer an injection via IV (intravenous) line in your arm that suppresses your consciousness during the surgery. You will remain unconscious during the procedure.
You don’t feel any pain and will have limited memory of the procedure. You’ll also receive local anesthesia to numb your gums.
Decisions by your dentist/oral surgeon
- Remove the tooth
- The incision in the gum tissue to erect the bone and tooth
- Removal of the bone that blocks the tooth root access
- Stitching the wound for faster healing
- Diving the tooth into sections to remove it easily
- Cleaning of the area of the removed tooth
- Gauze placement over the extraction area to control bleeding
How long will it take to recover?
The wisdom teeth usually take weeks to heal completely. Some people may need stitches to close the wound. However, the surgeon will remove the stitches after one week. The surgery may also result in swelling, pain and bruising that will take some time to heal. However, the process will be gradual but you will see the healing every day. See the complete healing process below:
- First 24 hours after the surgery: Formation of the blood clots
- 2-3 days: Swelling of the cheeks and the mouth will improve
- In seven days: Removing the remaining stitches, if any
- 7-10 days: Soreness and stiffness of the jaw will vanish away
- In 2 weeks: Mild bruising on the face will heal if any
The recovery time of the wound differs for everyone. If the wound gets infected, you may take longer to heal completely.
After the procedure
You will be moved to the recovery room after the procedure. However, if your treatment involved using local anesthesia then you may go to your home. After the surgery, you should follow your dentist’s suggestions including:
Stitches that dissolve within a week need not worry. However, if they do not dissolve, schedule an appointment for the same.
You may notice bleeding for days after the wisdom tooth removal. Put gauze over the area as directed by your dentist.
Use an ice pack in the swelled region. The swelling of cheeks, however, improves in two or three days.
Managing the pain
Over-the-counter medicines like acetaminophen, Tylenol etc may relieve the pain after the surgery. Ask your oral surgeon to suggest several medications that can do the same in a short span of time. Using a cold pack against the jaw will help in the pain relief.
Yoghurt, apple sauce etc are some foods that you should eat for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Avoid eating hard, spicy, hot and chewy foods that may get trap in the sockets.
Rest for a couple of days
You can resume your normal activities however you should avoid any for a week and rest completely. Avoid any strenuous activity that may result in blood clot loss from the socket.
Do not smoke for at least 72 hours post-surgery. Using tobacco after the surgery can result in slow healing while increasing the risk of complications.
Do not brush
Do not brush, rinse, spit or mouthwash your teeth during the first 24 hours of the surgery. However, you can do it afterwards gently and with warm salt water (two hours after and before the meal) for a week.
Drink water after the surgery. Avoid drinking alcoholic, carbonated, hot beverages, caffeinated in the first 24 hours.
What are the Risks?
Wisdom tooth removal does not cause any long-term risks but may need a surgery that involves an incision in the tissue of the gum. Some complications include:
- Infections in the socket due to food particles or bacteria trapped
- Affects nearby teeth, jawbone, nerves
- Pain in the socket due to dryness
The dentist will perform the surgery in their clinic and may also to visit an oral surgeon if the surgery involves in-depth surgical methods. You may be given a local anesthetic to make you comfortable during the treatment.
Many dentists do not agree to the point of removing an impacted wisdom tooth that is absolutely normal and doesn’t cause any sort of problems. Besides, it is not easy to predict any future problems with the same. But you can follow preventive measures like:
- If the wisdom tooth doesn’t get enough space to grow then it becomes difficult to clean it properly
- Risk of harbor disease
- Younger adults do not face severe complications
- Older adults face difficulties with surgery and the complications thereafter
Do we need X-rays?
Your oral surgeon will take x-rays to acknowledge the position of root and see whether there is enough space for the tooth to grow inside.
Keep the wound clean so that it can heal faster. Here are several steps that you can try for proper home care of the wound:
- Sleep with your head raised to feel comfortable
- Use an antiseptic mouth wash to prevent several infections. you can also purchase the mouth wash online
- Rinse your mouth from salt warm water to heal the sore gums
Some people may feel a little pain after the wisdom tooth removal and might avoid exercises for a few days after the surgery.
Foods to eat after the surgery
Prefer eating soft foods that can prevent any damage to the wound. Here are some examples of them:
- Mashed banana
- Soft noodles
- High fever
- Excessive bleeding
- Severe body ache
- Difficulty in creating or swallowing
- Blood/pus in a runny nose
- Extreme swelling for three days
- Loss of feeling or numbness
- Badmouth taste
- Removing the stitches are not needed
- No risks during the procedure
- No complications -Swelling, Numbness, Bleeding, Nerve Damage, Infection or other issues
Avoid foods that are hard such as chewing gums and sticky candies to prevent pain and damage to the wounds. Besides, avoid crunchy foods like chips, nuts and seeds. Stew away from hot and spicy foods. You can chew the food from the opposite side of the mouth if the surgery has been done on the other side, after 24 hours.
When to call your Oral Surgeon
If you had stitches that aren’t dissolving themselves, you need to consult your dentist soon. However, you can call your doctor if you feel severe pain or discomfort after the surgery. Call your dentist if you face any of the following symptoms that indicate nerve damage, infections or other unknown risks:
You don’t need to see a dentist after the surgery if everything goes well like:
You can call your doctor to discuss the relatable treatment options. You may feel a little pain in 2 days after the surgery which is quite straightforward. There are usually no risks with the surgery like nerve injury and related. However, if you had IV sedation you will need someone to help you reach home from the clinic.
Take complete bed rest after the extraction. A little bit of swelling and discomfort is a part of the healing process so you don’t need to worry. You need to take extra care of your diet and physical activities to protect the wound from infection and bacteria’s. Your dentist will make sure that you have medications with you always along with the instructions to control the pain. However, you need to keep the surgery area clean to prevent any infections and bacteria’s.