Wisdom teeth are typically the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. Functional and healthy wisdom teeth can be useful. However, there are also many reasons behind why a person needs to consider having these third molars removed. In some cases, the wisdom teeth are healthy, but because of orthodontic treatment, these teeth must be removed. In other cases, the wisdom teeth may only partially erupt through the gum or they may become impacted. When wisdom teeth are impacted, they can cause infection of the surrounding gum, pain, and swelling. These teeth may also put pressure on adjacent teeth, which can end up damaging neighboring teeth and the bones surrounding them. If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, the experienced dental team at Stuart Curry Dentistry can help.
In addition to pain, swelling, and the possibility that the wisdom teeth can damage other teeth and the bones surrounding them, wisdom teeth that are impacted, partially impacted, or fully impacted must be removed because they’re difficult to clean and can become severely decayed. Because of these reasons, in many cases, the smartest move is to have the wisdom teeth removed.
Here at Stuart Curry Dentistry, we do not remove impacted wisdom teeth, but do help you get an appointment with one our area’s best Oral Surgeons to have them removed.
The wisdom teeth removal procedure is a serious surgical procedure and will require a pre-surgery appointment. At a pre-surgery appointment, your dentist will go over your medical history, discuss the procedure, and answer any questions you may have. At this time, you’ll also schedule the surgery. The day of the surgery you will need to plan on having a family member or friend drive you home after the procedure.
Once you arrive at the oral surgeon’s office, one of the friendly staff members will take you to the exam room. They will walk you through the process an additional time and then help you get situated with anesthesia.
Depending on your specific situation, you may receive the following anesthesia:
This type of anesthesia ensures that you’re completely under during the entire procedure.
This type of anesthesia will numb the gums with a shot of Novocaine. Your dentist may also provide nitrous oxide to help you relax.
This type of anesthesia combines local anesthesia with intravenous sedation to help you relax. This combination can even put you to sleep during the entire procedure.
Once you have been sedated, your dentist will begin the process of removing the wisdom teeth. If you’re awake during the procedure you will feel some tugging or pressure, but you should not feel pain.
In some cases, the dentist may have to cut into the jawbone or gums to remove the teeth. If this occurs, they will most likely use dissolvable stitches to help with the healing. The wounds may also be packed with gauze.
In most cases, removing the wisdom teeth will take less than an hour.
After surgery, you must follow your dentist’s orders closely.
Most people will experience discomfort and swelling during the first few days after surgery, which can be managed with prescription pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication.
It will usually take two to three weeks for complete healing to occur. The wisdom teeth recovery process is strongly influenced by how closely a patient follows the post-surgery instructions and can also depend on whether the dentist had to cut into the jawbone or gums to remove the teeth.
After surgery, plan to take it easy for the remainder of the day. You must also avoid any type of strenuous physical activity for the first two or three days following the surgery. High-impact activities can dislodge the blood clots from the sockets.
After wisdom teeth extraction, the Dentist at Stuart Curry Dentistry recommends on the day of your surgery that you:
- Avoid touching the wound areas
- Avoid rinsing your mouth
- Apply ice to your face on the side of the surgery site
- Remove the cotton gauze pads approximately thirty minutes after surgery
- Take over-the-counter pain medication and prescription pain medication as prescribed as soon as you experience pain or discomfort
Here are some additional aftercare instructions which can help to make the recovery process more comfortable:
Redness in the saliva, oozing, or slight bleeding is not uncommon. Excessive bleeding can be controlled by placing clean gauze over the surgical area and firmly biting down for thirty minutes or until the bleeding subsides.
If the bleeding continues, bite on a moist tea bag for an additional thirty minutes. The tannin acid in the tea bag will help with blood clot formation by contracting bleeding vessels.
In the event of nausea or vomiting, don’t take anything by mouth for a minimum of one hour after surgery. Next, slowly sip on ginger ale, tea, or coke. Once nausea has subsided, you can begin taking your prescribed over-the-counter pain reliever or prescription medication.
You may experience swelling on the sides of the face and around the eyes, cheeks, and mouth. This is the body’s normal reaction to the surgery and the repair process. Swelling won’t appear until the day following the surgery and won’t reach its maximum until three days after the surgery.
Use ice to help control the swelling. Switch to moist heat thirty-six hours following the surgery.
In some cases, yellow, green, blue, or black discoloration will occur due to the blood spreading beneath the tissues. This is part of the healing process.
Plan on eating only soft foods such as rice, applesauce, yogurt, or soup, for the first few days after surgery. You can introduce firmer foods when you feel ready.
You must also stay hydrated in the days following surgery. Hydration will support the body’s natural healing abilities. You must avoid eating hot food and hot beverages for at least the first twenty-four hours following surgery.
To prevent dry socket, which is a painful condition in which the blood clots are dislodged, exposing nerves and bone, avoid drinking through a straw, rinsing the mouth aggressively, smoking, spitting, or eating sticky or hard foods while the mouth is healing.
Teeth can be brushed the night of surgery, however, be very careful with rinsing around the extraction site. The day after the extraction, you can begin rinsing at least 5-6 times a day, especially after you eat. Food particles can get trapped in the sockets, causing extreme pain. You can keep your mouth clean with a toothbrush or warm salt water rinses.
Contact your dentist if you experience any of the following:
- Heavy bleeding
- Swelling that gets worse after the first three days
- Severe pain
- Bad mouth odor
- Persistent numbness around the sockets
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
As wisdom teeth come in during adulthood, the other teeth in the mouth have already settled. The mouth usually doesn’t have enough room to accommodate four more large teeth. This can lead to issues with the neighboring teeth. As mentioned earlier, partially erupted wisdom teeth can become impacted, which can lead to pain, swelling, and infection. There are many issues that can arise once the wisdom teeth come in, which is why it’s best to receive regular dental treatment.
If a person seeks regular dental treatment as an adolescent and during early adulthood, their dentist can keep a close eye on how these teeth are developing and can identify whether there will be any issues in the future.
With proper post-surgery care, recovery from wisdom tooth removal will usually take around two weeks. However, you can often resume your daily activities after just a few days. If you are experiencing gum pain, swelling, and discomfort due to wisdom teeth, or you’re overdue for a dental exam, it’s time to meet with the dental team at Stuart Curry Dentistry. Contact our office today to schedule a visit.