Wisdom Teeth Removal: Procedure and Complications
Of course, not everyone has to have wisdom teeth extracted, especially when you do not feel their effect on your daily activities.
However, in some cases, you are required to extract your wisdom teeth and it all depends on how they form and grow.
Why do you need to have a wisdom tooth extraction?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of the mouth, usually formed between the ages of 17 – 25 and can be detected through X-rays.
Most people have wisdom tooth extraction for one of the following reasons:
- They affect oral health. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow and are located so far back in your mouth. They can be trapped in the jawbone or gums which causes pain.
- They grow in the wrong direction and may press against your other teeth.
- The mouth is not big enough or the jaw has no room for the wisdom teeth to grow, which can cause serious problems.
- Wisdom teeth are more prone to cavities or gum disease because you may not be able to reach them with your toothbrush or dental floss.
What do you need to prepare before getting wisdom tooth extraction?
You need to meet and discuss with your dentist about how to "treat" your wisdom teeth, as follows:
- Any health problems you have.
- Medications you take on a daily basis.
- What type of anesthetic you will have. during the wisdom tooth extraction
- Plan time to rest afterward.
How is wisdom tooth extraction performed?
When you have wisdom teeth that need to be extracted, your dentist will take an X-ray of your mouth to determine the removal process.
Before starting the procedure, a local anesthetic will be applied to the area around the extracted tooth. If you are stressed out, your dentist may give you a sedative injection into the arm vein to help you relax.
A general anesthetic is rarely needed for wisdom tooth removal. However, in this case, you should still be able to go home on the same day as the procedure.
While waiting for the anesthetic to work, the dentist will find a way to access and remove the wisdom teeth. If they do not grow through the gums, the dentist may have to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out.
Your dentist may have to cut a wisdom tooth into small pieces to easily remove it through a cut on the gum.
You may have some discomfort when you have your teeth extracted because your dentist will loosen the roots by gently rocking them back and forth before pulling them out.
Thanks to the local anesthetic, you usually don't feel pain during the extraction process. However, if there is a numb or painful sensation, tell the dentist so he/she can give you more anesthetic.
The time to take a wisdom tooth will vary depending on the complexity of the situation. It may take only a few minutes or an hour to complete this process.
How will you be after wisdom tooth extraction?
If an incision has been made, your dentist will use dissolving stitches to seal the gum. They usually dissolve after 7–10 days.
After the extraction, the dentist will usually place a gauze over the site and ask you to clench your teeth together to help the blood clot to form in the empty tooth socket. Blood clots are part of the healing process, so try not to dislodge them.
Your dentist will also prescribe a few antibiotics to prevent infection.
You may feel slight pain after the anesthetic wears off, which also depends on the dentist’s skills. Even, some people do not feel pain after the surgery. Your mouth may be slightly swollen and a little uncomfortable for the first 3 days, then it will take a few weeks for the wound to heal completely.
You should follow the advice of the dentist to recover faster, less serious complications.
- Use an ice pack on your face to curb swelling.
- Gently open and close your mouth to exercise your jaw.
- Eat soft foods like noodles/pasta, porridge, or soup.
- Drink a lot of water.
- Brush your teeth from the second day after surgery but not too hard so the blood clot would not dislodge.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers.
- Visit the dentist if you encounter a fever or continual pain.
- Don’t drink through a straw. Sucking may loosen blood clots and slow down the healing process.
- Don’t rinse your mouth too harshly. You should rinse gently with saltwater.
- Don’t eat hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that may scratch your wounds.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can slow your healing.
- Don’t do strenuous physical activities which create pressure directly on the mouth.
As with any type of surgery, wisdom tooth removal carries some risks. However, these risks are usually small. They can include:
- Dry socket: where a blood clot fails to develop in the tooth socket, or if the blood clot becomes dislodged, which makes the pain last longer.
- Nerve injury: this can cause temporary or permanent problems, such as tingling or numbness
- Infection: includes high temperature, yellow or white discharge from the extraction site, and persistent pain and swelling
- Bleeding (hemorrhage)
You need to monitor the wound after having your wisdom teeth removed. If there is any sign of infection or prolonged bleeding, visit the dentist immediately.