Wisdom Teeth Extraction and Recovery processes

The wisdom teeth can be troublesome if there is a persistent infection, gum problem, misalignment or deformity of the wisdom tooth. In any of such condition, it needs to be extracted.

The wisdom tooth is extracted by your dentist or maxillofacial surgeon at his or her office or clinic. If there are risks of complications it can be extracted at the hospital.

If there is an infection associated with the tooth, antibiotics are given to clear up the infection prior to the removal.

Wisdom teeth extraction procedure

1. Before the wisdom teeth extraction, the dentist gives a local anesthetic to numb that area. If other teeth are to be removed, a general anesthetic may be used, which prevents pain in the entire body and will induce sleep throughout the procedure. It is usually recommended not to eat or drink after midnight (the night before surgery).

2. After the anesthetic comes in effect, the dentist opens the gum tissue covering the tooth to remove any bone covering the tooth. The tissue connected the tooth and bone is separated, and then the tooth is removed. The dentist might cut the tooth to smaller pieces for easy removal.

3. Stitches are carried out after it is removed. Some stitch types may dissolve with time, while others are needed to be removed by dentist in the next visits. To suppress bleeding, a folded cotton gauze pad is placed over the wound.

4. Painkillers or other medication are prescribed by the dentist or surgeon.

5. For women on birth control pills, they should plan the surgery for the end of their menstrual cycle.

Wisdom teeth recovery

In general, the recovery is within a few days if there are no complications. Take the medications on time.

The following tips will benefit in the wisdom teeth recovery process:

• As anesthetics are administered, there would not be any pain and your mouth would be numb. Take care NOT to bite the inside of cheek, lip or tongue during this time.
• After the first day, rinse mouth with warm salt water gently several times a day to relieve pain and reduce swelling. To make salt water, mix 1 tsp. (about 5 g) salt in a medium-sized glass (about 240 mL) of warm water.
• Relax after surgery as physical activity might increase bleeding.
• Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after surgery.
• To prevent bleeding, do not lie flat. Support your head with pillows.
• Do not rub the area with tongue, and avoid touching it with your fingers.
• Special care needs when brushing your teeth.
• For the first 24 hour, applying an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. After that, for the next 2-3 days use moist heat. It can be done by soaking a towel cloth in warm water and wringing it out, then placing it over the cheeks.
• Eat thin soup or soft food. As the wound heals up, gradually add solid foods to diet.
• Avoid using straw for the first few days.

Why extract wisdom teeth

As mentioned earlier, certain conditions can cause problems associated with the wisdom teeth.

• The wisdom teeth may break partially through the gums. This may cause a flap of gum tissue to gradually grow over the teeth. Food can get trapped under the flap which can cause germ build up causing the gums to become swollen, red and painful which are the generic signs of tooth infection.
• The wisdom teeth (or even any other tooth) can get misaligned.
• Your jaw may not properly accommodate the tooth properly.
• If any serious problem develops from the affected teeth, such as cyst, infection or damage to the tooth.

Benefits with wisdom teeth extraction

After the wisdom teeth are removed, you will notice the benefits as:

• No red, swollen, and painful gums caused by a flap of skin.
• No "crowding" of the back teeth.
• Healing of any gum disease and/or tooth decay associated with the wisdom tooth
• Easier to clean other teeth, if the wisdom tooth was causing obstruction.
• Stop breaking of the gums, if the wisdom tooth got stuck in the jaw (impacted).

Risks associated

There can be following risks associated with these procedures. There can be:

• Slow and continuous bleeding.
• Swelling and pain in gums and tooth socket (from where the tooth was removed).
• Slow-healing gums.
• Difficulty opening mouth (trismus).
• Damage to the roots of a nearby tooth, or older dental work, such as crowns or bridges
• Sometimes, a painful inflammation called "alveolar osteitis" (or dry socket) or may occur.
• Numbness in your mouth and lips persists even after the local anesthetic wears off. This can happen due to any injury or nerve inflammation.
• General or local anesthetic have side effects.
• Rare complications include:
o If the tooth was firmly attached to the jaw bone, it can result in a fractured jaw.
o Continuing numbness in the mouth or lips.
o Providing an opening into the sinus cavity.

There can be bacterial infection in the mouth that may enter the bloodstream and spread infection to the other parts of the body. People at risk are especially those who have heart problems. Prescribed antibiotics are to be taken to avoid possible bacterial infection.

Before the extraction, provide the details to your doctor of any of your existing medical conditions, or if you are taking any medication.

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