Wisdom Tooth Extraction – Do’s and Don’ts
October 2, 2021 / Category: Peterabasdds
A third molar, commonly called a wisdom tooth, is one of the three molars per quadrant of the human mouth. When wisdom teeth cause problems, or X-rays show they might down the line, they need to come out. Other good reasons to take them out include damage to other teeth: That extra set of molars can push your other teeth around, causing mouth pain and bite problems. Visit Dr. Abas regularly to learn if you need the extraction or what to do about those teeth. Here we bring you some useful information about the procedure. Questions? We are always here!
For many young adults, “getting your wisdom teeth in” is a rite of passage that comes and goes without event. For others, the eruption of wisdom teeth can become a problem if they cause crowding in your mouth, erupt in the wrong position, or become impacted. A wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure performed by a dentist or oral surgeon to remove one or more of your wisdom teeth (third molars) and prevent these complications. While it’s a more complicated procedure than getting a filling or braces, wisdom teeth removal is a common dental milestone and can help ensure a healthy smile.
How do I know if I need a wisdom tooth extraction?
Visiting your dentist twice a year for regular checkups will help your dentist follow your teeth’s progress. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), as your wisdom teeth grow in, your dentist will be looking for the following:
- Positioning: If they come up in the wrong place, food can get trapped, causing bacteria to grow.
- Oral Care: Improper eruption can make it difficult to remove plaque between the new molars.
- Infection: Partially erupted wisdom teeth can give bacteria a place to enter the gums, creating a risk of infection.
- Crowding: If there’s no room for the new molars, it may cause neighboring teeth movement.
- Impacted tooth
- An impacted wisdom tooth may form a cyst, potentially damaging the roots of nearby teeth or the bone.
What are the risks of a wisdom tooth extraction?
While most wisdom tooth extractions don’t result in long-term complications, problems like dry socket can occur after the procedure. Dry socket is when the post-surgical blood clot dislodges from the surgical wound (the socket) and exposes bone below. Dry socket can be painful and delay the healing process. If you’re worried about the risks during your wisdom tooth extraction, talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about your concerns.
What can I expect before the procedure?
Before the day of your outpatient procedure, make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from the surgery, and follow any dentist recommended dietary restrictions. If you have any prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) medications, check to see if they are okay to take before the surgery. Having the answers to all these questions will ensure both a smooth surgery and recovery.
What kind of anesthesia is used?
There are three types of anesthesia, and depending upon the nature of your particular procedure coupled with your comfort level, you’ll end up receiving it in one of three ways: Local Anesthesia: Administered by injection at the site of the tooth extraction after using a numbing agent. You’ll be awake for the procedure, and though you’ll feel some pressure and movement, you shouldn’t experience any pain. Sedation Anesthesia: Administered through an intravenous (IV) line. This sedation type allows you to sleep through the procedure so that you won’t feel any pain during the surgery. Your surgeon will also numb your gums. General Anesthesia: If you’re not keen on needles, general anesthesia can be inhaled. Much like sedation, you will be asleep throughout the procedure, and your vitals are all monitored by the surgical team.
How are wisdom teeth extracted?
Your dentist or oral surgeon will make an incision in the gumline, creating flaps to expose both the tooth and the underlying bone area. Any bone that blocks access to the tooth will be removed before the dentist or oral surgeon divides the tooth into sections, making it easier to remove. The dentist removes the tooth and clears away any remaining debris from around the gumline or the bone. Then, the wound is stitched up. The dentist puts gauze over the extraction site to control any extra bleeding and help with clotting.
What happens after the procedure?
Once the surgery is done, you’ll be taken to a recovery room to allow all the anesthesia to wear off. If you chose the local option, you’d probably recover in the same procedure chair.
- Follow all aftercare instructions.
- Change gauze every 30 minutes as needed. Discontinue gauze when the bleeding stops, usually 3-4 hours. Do not leave in overnight. A sleeping patient should be aroused to check the gauze every 20 minutes.
- Drink plenty of water without using a straw.
- Rest for the remainder of the day. You can go back to your regular schedule the next day, but keep strenuous activity to a minimum for about a week while your surgical wounds heal.
- Eat soft foods for a day or two following the surgery to avoid irritating the area.
- Take OTC medications that contain acetaminophen if you experience pain after surgery. If pain continues, contact your dentist or surgeon, and they may be able to prescribe something more substantial. Using an ice pack against your cheek can also help relieve minor pains.
- Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater (8 ounces of water with 1/2 teaspoon of table salt) after every meal and once every couple of hours for a week.
- Start brushing again after the first day or two, but be careful near the surgical site.
- Drink sugary, caffeinated, carbonated, or alcoholic beverages for the first few days.
- Use a straw because the sucking action might inadvertently dislodge the wound’s blood clot, delaying healing.
- Eat foods that are chewy, overly spicy, or get stuck between teeth.
- Engage in any type of spitting because that may dislodge the blood clot. Swelling and bruising after a procedure is normal, but these circumstances should improve within a couple of days using an ice pack.
- Brush, spit or use mouthwash after wisdom teeth removal several days to a week after surgery.
- Don’t smoke or chew tobacco products. Consumption of any tobacco product after oral surgery can seriously delay healing and increase the risk of any complications or infections. It would be best if you also refrain from smoking before tooth extraction. Nicotine and other tobacco-related chemicals can increase your risk of dry socket after the procedure.
- If you have stitches that dissolve on their own, they should be gone in a few weeks. If your stitches need to be removed, your dentist will most likely have already set up an appointment with you.
When should I call my dentist or oral surgeon?
If you’re experiencing these signs or symptoms after your surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately:
- Swelling that worsens after several days
- Prescribed pain medications being ineffective against pain
- Saltwater rinsing not ridding your mouth of a bad or lingering aftertaste
- The socket having pus gathering within or oozing from the wound
- A loss of feeling or a persistent kind of numbness
It usually takes about a week to get back to a routine after your wisdom tooth extraction, but soon you’ll be smiling pain-free! Remember to stay up-to-date with your regular dental checkups so your dentist can track how your wisdom teeth are coming in. While getting these molars extracted can seem daunting, the procedure is relatively routine and can set your smile up for a bright and healthy future. How do I prepare for a wisdom tooth extraction? Depending on your situation, your dentist may perform the office procedure or suggest that you consult with an oral surgeon. When you meet with your dental professional, here are some questions you may want to ask: How many wisdom teeth need to be removed? What type of anesthesia will be administered? How complicated or in-depth is the procedure? What is the estimated duration of the procedure? Has damage occurred to the surrounding teeth? What is the likelihood of nerve damage? Will you need other dental treatments at a later date? What’s the average turnaround time for healing and returning to regular activity?
A beautiful smile requires planning, artistry, and design. Here at Peter Abas, DDS our team will help prevent any early dental problems. Schedule an appointment today at (949) 586-1127 and join us online on Facebook. If your whole family needs to be seen, not a problem — we will schedule your appointments so it is convenient for you with one trip!