As children, we took our teeth for granted. They were hardy and got the job done. Our parents ensured that we ate a healthy diet, brushed our teeth regularly, and had our annual dentist appointment.
Fast forward 21 years. Your gums are painful, your jaw is aching, and your teeth are starting to displace. A visit to the dentist confirms your fears. Your wisdom teeth, the last molars at the very back of your mouth, are emerging and there is not enough space for them. Your dentist recommends you have your wisdom teeth removed, but do you know what wisdom tooth removal entails?
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Often Give Problems?
Despite good dental hygiene, regular dental check-ups, and a well-balanced diet, wisdom teeth often give us problems. The main reason for that is that they emerge last, and the other permanent teeth have claimed their position, leaving no space for the wisdom teeth.
Obvious signs that the emergence of wisdom teeth is causing problems:
- The teeth grow sideways.
- They displace other teeth, causing them to appear crooked or crowded.
- Jaw pain is present.
- Tooth decay – especially among the teeth that are crowded or displaced.
- Gum abscess – If you suspect a gum abscess, you need to visit a dentist urgently in case the abscess bursts.
What To Expect When Having Wisdom Teeth Removed
If your wisdom teeth cause problems, your dentist may recommend they be removed. This procedure requires planning, so you need to familiarize yourself with:
- The pre-operative procedure
- The intraoperative procedure
- The post-operative care and instructions
The Pre-Operative Procedure
The pre-operative procedure is the first step. This is the when:
- The dentist will decide to remove the wisdom teeth. The decision is usually made after you have had an x-ray of the teeth, gums, and jaw.
- You disclose any health issues you have, and any medication you are taking.
- You can ask any questions regarding the anesthetic, post-operative expectations, and long-term dental care.
Once you decide to remove the wisdom teeth, you will be required to check in to the facility at the allocated time. Most dentists recommend that you starve at least six hours before the procedure.
You will be given an anesthetic to ensure you do not have any pain during the extractions.
The type of anesthetic will be dependent on:
- How many teeth will be extracted?
- How impacted are the teeth?
- Is the patient nervous?
What Are the Different Types of Anesthesia?
There are three ways a patient can be anesthetized:
A local anesthetic injection will numb the area, allowing the dentist to extract the teeth without causing pain. The patient is fully awake during the procedure, and able to drive themselves home afterward (although this is not recommended).
Intravenous (IV) anesthetic is a combination of local anesthetic and intravenous sedation. The sedation makes the person very sleepy during the procedure (but rousable) and they often do not have any recollection of the procedure afterward. They will not be allowed to drive a motor vehicle for at least 24 hours.
General anesthetic is a combination of intravenous medication, and gas. The patient is completely asleep and not rousable. It may take a few hours postoperatively for the patient to feel fully awake. They may not drive a motor vehicle for 24 hours after the procedure.
Postoperative Care and Instructions
Every patient has a unique way of responding to the anesthetic and extraction.
- Some wake up and appear fully alert, while some are drowsy for a few hours.
- Some verbalize mild discomfort, while others complain of severe pain and need pain medication for up to a week. Most patients confirm that the pain subsides significantly after the third day.
- Swelling and bruising can last anything from three days to a few weeks.
The pain, swelling, and bruising are related to the number of teeth that were extracted, and if they were severely impacted or not. The pain should improve a little every day. If pain is not subsiding, you may have developed a complication called Dry Socket.
A Dry Socket is a result of a blood clot that has dislodged, leaving bare bone and nerves exposed. Dry socket pain is agonizing and needs medical attention urgently.
Postoperative Do’s and Don’ts
Although you will be able to resume most daily activities the day after surgery, dentists advise that you take it easy for a few days.
Things You CAN Do Post Wisdom Tooth Extraction
- Use an ice pack to relieve facial swelling
- Take medication, as prescribed, for pain relief.
- Gently open and close the mouth to exercise the jaw
- Eat a well-balanced diet, starting with soft foods.
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Only rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours, then start brushing your teeth gently. Try not to dislodge blood clots while brushing.
- Call the doctor if the pain and swelling don’t improve, or if you develop a fever.
Seek urgent medical attention if:
- You have trouble swallowing or breathing.
- Your face starts feeling numb.
- You have blood or pus coming from your nose.
- Bleeding does not stop even after applying pressure.
Things You Should NOT Do After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
- Do not suck on a straw. The sucking action can loosen blood clots and result in a Dry Socket.
- Do not smoke or vape for at least 72 hours.
- Do not eat hard, crunchy, or sticky food for the first few days.
- Spicy food
- Carbonated drinks
- Very hot food and drinks
- Do not rinse your mouth harshly or spit excessively. Both these actions could loosen blood clots.
Eric’s Dental Group, All the Dental Care You Need in One Place
Are your wisdom teeth causing problems? Residents of Boynton Beach all agree that Eriks Dental Group is the place to go for any of your dental needs. For the sake of your smile, find out how we can help you by calling 561-733-4004 or request a dentist appointment online, today!