If you’re having problems with your wisdom teeth coming in, you should visit a dentist to see whether you need an extraction. At the same time, it’s also essential to follow proper wisdom tooth extraction aftercare for faster recovery.
Did you know that an old superstition states that the later your wisdom teeth come in, the longer you will live? While we cannot speak on the truth of this information, we can tell you that it’s important to visit your dentist if you’re experiencing any problems with a wisdom tooth eruption.
In this blog, we will discuss everything related to wisdom tooth extraction– why it’s done, the procedure, and the protocols for wisdom tooth extraction aftercare.
What Is A Wisdom Tooth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. One tooth erupts in each of the four corners of the mouth – 2 in the upper jaw and 2 in the lower jaw.
Some people never develop any wisdom teeth – which is nothing to worry about. Others experience normal eruptions, just like all their other teeth.
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare: Why Is Extraction Required?
In some people, the wisdom teeth are impacted – meaning there isn’t enough room in the jaw for the teeth to erupt or develop normally.
Impacted teeth may either erupt partially or not at all. They may grow –
- At an angle toward the second molar
- At an angle toward the back of the mouth
- At a right angle to the other teeth, as if it is “lying down” within the jawbone.
- Straight up or down like other teeth; in this situation, the teeth can stay trapped within the jawbone.
However, our dentists don’t recommend wisdom tooth extraction if it has just impacted. Extraction is advisable if you experience any of the following symptoms, –
- Food and debris lodging behind the wisdom tooth
- Infection or gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Damage to a nearby tooth or surrounding bone
- Development of a cyst around the wisdom tooth
- Complications with orthodontic treatments
Before removal, the dentist will try to treat the issue with antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwashes. If nothing works, they will proceed to remove the tooth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction – The Process
Phase One – The Consultation
Like any other dental treatment, the process begins with a consultation with your dentist. The dentist assesses the wisdom tooth’s health and takes X-rays to determine its exact position.
They will also discuss your sedation options – depending on your situation, our dentists recommend –
- Local anesthesia
- General anesthesia
- IV sedation
The anesthesia allows you to be calm and pain-free during the extraction procedure.
Our dentists will also ask you about your dental and medical histories, medicine use, etc.
Phase Two – The Surgery
If the dentist has recommended sedation, they will administer the required drugs and follow it with local anesthesia to numb the teeth and gums.
Once the area is numb, they proceed to expose the impacted tooth by cutting into the gums and removing the bone. When visible, they carefully remove it with the help of dental instruments.
After removal, they clean the area and stitch the gums back into place.
Typically, the extraction process takes about an hour or so. More complex cases can take longer.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare
You will experience mild pain and discomfort along with some swelling and bleeding after tooth removal. Our dentist gives you medication and instructions to help ease side effects. Make sure you have a friend or a family member to drive you home after the procedure.
Here are a few general wisdom tooth extraction aftercare guidelines for a comfortable recovery after the procedure-
You might notice some blood oozing on the first day after tooth removal. Avoid spitting to prevent the blood clot from dislodging. Replace the gauze over the extraction site as explained by our dentist after the procedure.
On Managing Pain
Our dentist will prescribe medication to manage pain. You can also take over-the-counter pain relievers to help alleviate the pain.
Prescription pain medication is especially helpful if the bone has been removed during the procedure. An ice pack held against your jaw also relieves pain.
On Managing Swelling
Place an ice pack on your jaw to minimize swelling and bruising. It usually improves in 2 to 3 days following the extraction.
After the surgery, rest for the remainder of the day. You can resume normal activities the next day. However, avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.
On Food and Drink
Eat only soft foods for the first 24 hours. Avoid hard, chewy, hot, or spicy foods that might irritate the wound or get stuck in the socket.
Drink plenty of water after the surgery. Avoid drinking alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated, or hot beverages in the first 24 hours. Avoid using straws entirely for at least a week, as the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.
On Oral Hygiene
For the first 24 hours following surgery, don’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, spit, or use mouthwash. You can resume brushing your teeth afterward. Be careful to be gentle near the surgical wound.
Additionally, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water after each meal and every 2 hours for a week.
On Tobacco Use
If you smoke, skip doing so for at least 72 hours after the procedure. Avoid it for longer if possible.
Tobacco chewers are asked to refrain from doing so for at least a week following the surgery. This is because tobacco products delay healing and increase the chances of complications.
You might be given stitches that dissolve within a few weeks or none at all. If they require removal, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have them taken out at a later date.
Learn More About Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare at RiverRock DDS
If you’ve been looking for dental experts around the Downtown Shakopee area in Minnesota, look no further than RiverRock Dental!
We have not one, not two, but three dental experts at your service at the RiverRock Dental clinic.
Along with our dentists, our dental staff are trained to provide a comfortable and relaxing environment. Paired with our state-of-the-art setup, we ensure that you look forward to your visit to our clinic every time!