Wisdom teeth are the third molars at the back of your mouth, and they typically emerge during a person’s late teenage years or early twenties. Unfortunately, in many cases, there is not enough space in the mouth for these teeth to fully emerge, causing them to become impacted or partially impacted. When this happens, wisdom tooth extraction is needed to prevent further dental problems.
This article will discuss why wisdom tooth extraction is done, how it’s done, and what to expect before and after the procedure.
Why is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Necessary?
If you will have your wisdom teeth extracted today, knowing why you need them is important. There are several reasons why wisdom tooth extraction is necessary. Here are a few:
Tooth Decay and Infections
Wisdom teeth are at the back of the mouth and are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to tooth decay or infections. In some cases, the development of wisdom teeth can cause gum inflammation and pain.
If there is not enough room in the mouth, wisdom teeth can cause crowding, push other teeth out of position, or cause crooked teeth. This can result in an uneven bite, which can cause headaches, tooth pain, or jaw pain.
When wisdom teeth are impacted, they can be partially covered by the gums or bone, causing a painful lump or infection. Other problems that can occur include the formation of cysts or other tumors in the jaw.
How is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Done?
Wisdom tooth removal is a relatively straightforward procedure that typically takes about 30 minutes to an hour. Here’s what to expect:
Before the procedure, your dentist or oral surgeon will administer anesthesia to prevent pain and discomfort during the surgery. You may receive local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, or IV sedation.
Once you’re under anesthesia, the dentist will make an incision in your gums to access the tooth. If the tooth is impacted or partially impacted, the dentist will need to remove some bone or cut the tooth into smaller pieces to extract it. Once the tooth is removed, they will stitch the incision closed.
After the procedure, you will likely experience some pain and swelling. Your dentist will provide you with pain medication and instructions on how to care for the area. Most people can return to their normal routine within a few days to a week after the procedure.
Dos and Don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction
After the wisdom teeth removal, it is important to follow a few dos and don’ts to ensure proper healing and successful recovery. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
After undergoing a procedure like a wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to get enough rest. Avoid any strenuous activities for at least 24 hours.
Swelling is a common side effect of wisdom tooth extraction. Apply an ice pack to your cheek to reduce swelling and inflammation for the first 24 hours.
Elevate your head
This will lessen your amount of swelling. Relax at home, resting with your head elevated and avoiding strenuous activity.
Eat Soft Foods
Unlike hard or chewy foods that can be difficult to eat, stick to liquids and soft foods such as soups, smoothies, yogurt, and mashed potatoes for the first few days after your procedure. It’s crucial not to disturb the wound in your gum and allow it to heal.
Use Saltwater Rinses
Use warm salt water rinses to help keep the extraction site clean and promote healing. Swish a solution of warm water and salt, rinse your mouth for about 30 seconds, then gently spit it out.
Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions
Take antibiotics or pain medication as directed by your oral surgeon. Your dentist or oral surgeon will likely provide specific instructions about caring for your mouth after wisdom tooth extraction. Follow these instructions closely to ensure a speedy recovery.
Brush your teeth from the second day after your surgery. But don’t brush the wisdom teeth extraction area.
Do jaw exercises.
Do so by slowly opening and closing your mouth. But you shouldn’t do this immediately after your extraction.
Drink Through a Straw
Drinking through a straw creates a sucking motion that can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the extraction site. This can lead to a painful condition called dry socket, which can delay healing.
Brush Your Teeth Vigorously
While keeping your mouth clean after a wisdom tooth extraction is important, avoid brushing your teeth vigorously. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and gently clean your teeth and tongue to avoid irritating the extraction site.
Smoke or Use Tobacco Products
Smoking or using other tobacco products can delay healing and increase the risk of complications such as infection. Avoid smoking or using tobacco products for at least 24 hours after your procedure.
Do not drink alcohol for at least 24 hours after your procedure, as it can lead to increased bleeding and delayed healing.
Chew on the Extraction Site
Avoid chewing on the side of your mouth where your wisdom teeth were extracted. This can irritate the tooth extraction site and delay healing.
Eat, drink, or talk immediately after your surgery.
Avoid popcorn, potato chips, and other hard or crunchy foods for at least a week; opt for only soft foods. Stay away from hot or carbonated drinks, spicy foods, sodas, etc. Oral surgeons say you can eat solids only after 4-5 hours of extraction. If the clot becomes dislodged, you may experience more bleeding and pain. And a potential side effect will develop termed dry sockets.
Following these dos and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction can help you achieve a successful recovery and avoid complications from this major oral surgery. Be sure to reach out to your dentist with any questions or concerns about your post-operative care.
Wisdom tooth extraction is necessary for many people to avoid dental problems caused by impacted, partially impacted, or overcrowded teeth. The procedure is generally safe and straightforward, with proper anesthesia and follow-up care. If you’re experiencing pain or symptoms related to your wisdom teeth, talk to your dentist about whether extraction is right for you.