Is wisdom tooth extraction dangerous?
Wisdom tooth extraction is not dangerous if performed by highly qualified and experienced dentists. In addition, following the instructions of the dentist after extractions will also help you recover soon and get back to your normal life.
Why do you need a wisdom tooth extraction?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of your mouth. They usually grow between the age of 17-25. Most people are advised to remove wisdom teeth for the following reasons:
- Wisdom teeth are affected: Because wisdom teeth appear by the time 28 other permanent teeth are fully grown, there is usually not enough room in the mouth for them. They can be trapped in the jawbone or gums, impacted, or grow horizontally or partially.
- A wisdom tooth protrudes the next tooth, causing damage to the surrounding area.
- A regular toothbrush can not clean bacteria and plaque around the wisdom teeth, so over time, it will cause tooth decay, periodontitis.
Wisdom tooth extraction process
First, the dentist will ask about your current health condition. You need to let them know if you have any medical conditions (such as diabetes, high blood pressure, low blood pressure, etc.). Also, list down the medications you are taking, if any.
Next, the dentist will take X-rays of your mouth. This will help them determine whether the wisdom tooth that needs to be extracted is affected. From there, the dentist will outline the strategy to handle this tooth.
The cost of a wisdom tooth extraction should also be discussed before proceeding with surgery.
Depending on the complexity of the extraction process, the dentist will choose one of three types of anesthesia below:
- Local anesthesia: Before surgery, you will get a local anesthetic injection (the most common one is lidocaine) to numb the teeth and the surrounding area.
If you are particularly anxious about the complications that may occur when you have a wisdom tooth extraction, or you are afraid of the pain itself, your dentist will give you some medications to help you relax. It may be in the form of a tablet (diazepam or temazepam) or gas (nitrous oxide) which is inhaled through the mask. An anesthetic gel is also applied to the area where the anesthetic was injected.
- Tranquilizer: The surgeon injects tranquilizer through an intravenous (IV) line in the arm. Tranquilizer inhibits your consciousness during tooth extraction. You do not feel any pain but your memory will be affected by this method. You will also have a local anesthetic to numb the gums.
- General anesthesia: In special situations, you may receive general anesthesia. Your dentist will give you inhalational anesthesia or intravenous injection in your hand, or both. Then you will fall into a state of unconsciousness. The surgical dental team will have to closely monitor your medications, breathing, temperature, fluids, and blood pressure. By doing this, you will not feel pain nor have any memories of the wisdom tooth extraction. Local anesthesia is also considered if you are uncomfortable after surgery.
Wisdom tooth extraction
If the tooth cannot grow through the gum, a small cut (incision) will be made in the gum to reach for the tooth. In case it can not be removed completely, the dentist will use a dental drill. At that time, the teeth will be cut into small pieces and the dentist will take them out one by one.
You may feel a little pressure right before the extraction. This is because the dentist or surgeon needs to open the socket by gently moving the teeth back and forth a bit before pulling them out.
The wisdom tooth extraction process is painless because the area will be numb before the surgery starts. However, if you begin to feel pain during the procedure, let the dentist know so that they can consider giving you general anesthesia.
If an incision has been made, the dentist will have to use absorbable stitches to seal the wound and stop it from bleeding. They then place a gauze pad on the extraction site and ask you to bite firmly for at least 30 minutes. This is to create a blood clot in the socket. Blood clots are part of the healing process and you must try not to dislodge them.
In the end, a prescription (analgesic and anti-infection) will be given. You must remember to take the correct dose to recover quickly.
In the next 24 hours, the dentist will recommend:
- Use an ice pack on your face to reduce swelling or change in skin color.
- Avoid gargling vigorously, do not use salt water to gargle.
- Do not use a straw because it can dislodge the blood clot, causing the wound to bleed again.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol. These actions are likely to slow the healing process.
- Do not consume hot liquids, such as tea or coffee.
- Eat soft, chilled foods like noodles, porridge, soup, yogurt, etc.
- After surgery, take a rest for the remainder of the day. Back to normal activities the next day, but at least in the following week, avoid strenuous physical activities or heavy exercise that could dislodge the blood clot in the socket.
- Brush your teeth on the second day after surgery, brush gently so as not to dislodge the blood clot.
- Visit your doctor if you have a fever, prolonged bleeding or swollen gums.