Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure where one or more wisdom teeth are removed. They are removed only if they impact the other teeth. Here is what you need to know about Wisdom tooth removal.
The wisdom tooth is positioned at the back of your gums, the last to grow. In most cases, each corner has one wisdom tooth. When a person is in their late teens, their 28 adult teeth are grown and settled into place.
The wisdom teeth’ growth can cause problems in many people and might have to be removed. Below is a little information about wisdom tooth removal and the after-effects.
What is Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Wisdom teeth extraction involves the removal of the third set of morals. There are four each on the four corners, located at the back end of your mouth. Most people have all four wisdom teeth, growing around 17 to 21.
Research believes that wisdom teeth were necessary for our ancestors because their diet included hard nuts, uncooked meat, and so on. However, wisdom teeth have become a vestigial structure that is quite unnecessary for our dependence.
Most times, wisdom teeth cause more harm because of their direction of growth. It ends up crowding other teeth and their settlement. The wisdom teeth can impact other teeth, grow at the wrong angle, or crowd the other teeth because your mouth is not big enough.
Having cavities or other gum diseases can also result in the extraction of wisdom teeth. Often when this happens, they are removed through wisdom tooth removal; an oral surgeon or your dentist can perform the surgery.
The removal is a short process conducted under local anesthetic, general anesthetic, or sedatives. If any, the details of the procedure might vary based on the complications.
Why Remove the Wisdom Teeth?
1)- The wisdom teeth is not always required to be removed. They don’t have to be removed if they aren’t causing any problems. The growth of the wisdom tooth comes after the growth and settlement of the 28 teeth.
2)- However, when the wisdom teeth grow (through the gums), there is a lack of space. It doesn’t give the teeth enough room to grow properly. Because of this, they tend to get stuck, emerge partially, or appear at a slant angle.
3)- The growth of the wisdom tooth may cause severe pain. It is advised to visit your doctor when the pain starts. The doctor may carry out an X-ray to look at the position of the wisdom teeth and if it’s affecting the position of the other teeth. The doctor may advise on a removal based on the results.
4)- There has been no proven benefit of removing wisdom teeth; however, it does carry a risk of complications. Cleaning wisdom teeth is recommended when other treatments have not worked out.
5)- Wisdom teeth that aren’t properly grown can cause dental problems because food and bacteria are trapped at the edge of the wisdom tooth, building up plaque. It can lead to gum diseases, tooth decay, cellulitis, etc.
How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The doctor will decide if the wisdom teeth must be removed based on an x-ray.
Your dentist will usually give you a local anesthetic injection. It numbs the area around the wisdom tooth. The doctor can also provide you with a sedative if necessary. Even though the anesthetic is given, a slight pressure might be felt during removal because the tooth socket has to widen by rocking it back and forth.
If the wisdom tooth is still inside the gum, the dentist might have to make a small incision to remove the tooth or cut it into smaller pieces. There will be no pain as the area will be numb; however, if you feel any discomfort or pain, the dentist can provide you with more anesthetic.
The procedure is simple and only requires about 20 minutes; however, it may take longer to complete if it’s more complicated. Once the wisdom tooth is removed, the stitches will be closed, if any, and gauze will be placed over the incision to help control the bleeding.
How to Reduce Swelling After Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Your recovery after wisdom teeth removal depends on how complicated the procedure was and how you care for your dental health after the surgery at home. Depending on how well the surgery went, it can affect the recovery process. Swelling around the area of wisdom tooth removal, as well as around the gums, is normal; the amount of swelling can fluctuate based on every person. Below are a few quick fixes as well as remedies to reduce swelling.
Swelling is a normal reaction post-surgery, and it is a part of the recovery process, and there are some quick fixes to help swelling reduce.
1)- Keeping your head elevated when lying down or when you’re sleeping
2)- Take over-the-counter tablets for pain relief to reduce discomfort and inflammation
3)- Restrict strenuous activities.
4)- No sucking or hard chewing
5)- A gentle rinse with warm salt water
6)- Avoid smoking and alcohol consumption
A local anesthetic will be administered for the surgery to remove the wisdom tooth. However, the effects will be felt even after 24 hours though they start to wear off slowly. Applying a cold compress can help to minimize the swelling, and it can be kept against the outer cheek near the extraction site.
Holding the cold compress for about 15 minutes can be helpful, and this can be done throughout the day. The swelling will reduce gradually, and the mouth movement will increase.
Applying a cold compress will help reduce the fluid underlying the tissues. As the fluid reduces, the swelling will also start to reduce.
Food and Drink
Food debris tends to get stuck in the operated area, which can make the swelling worse. Chewy foods get stuck, or tiny pieces can get stuck in the cavity around the affected area. Chewing can increase the strain on the jaw, especially if the food is hard, and it can cause swelling to increase as the strain on the jaw increases.
Irritating the gums can also be another reason that leads to an increase in swelling, and this can cause the size of the face to increase. For the first 24 hours, it is ideal for keeping the extracted area clear and ensuring that the jaw does not strain.
It is also ideal to avoid the consumption of alcohol as well as smoking; it can cause strain to the jaw. It is good to avoid the same until the swelling reduces and clears up. Also, lukewarm water can help reduce swelling instead of cold water.
While applying a cold compress is helpful post-treatment, after 48 hours applying a warm compress can he also help. A heat pack or even a wet towel can substitute for a heat compress, and it should only be warm or not very hot. Applying this for 20 minutes on and off can help the swelling.
Pain can be a side effect; however, if you’re not able to tolerate the pain, taking the pain meds that the dentist prescribes can be helpful. Taking over-the-counter tablets can also be beneficial. However, if severe pain continues or extreme swelling, going to your dentist can be helpful. They will recommend further what has to be done.
Immediate Remedies Following Tooth Extraction
1)- A gauze pad is to be placed over the area of surgery to control bleeding.
2)- If pain and discomfort continue, take over-the-counter medicines.
3)- Don’t tire yourself; reduce activities for about a day or two.
4)- Use a cold pack on the outside of your cheek; it can help in reducing the swelling
5)- It is advised not to consume alcohol or smoke since it can disrupt the blood clot and can cause a dry socket
6)- Do not use a straw for 7 to 10 days since it can also disturb a blood clot.
7)- Stay away from drinking hot beverages, spitting, or rinsing for 24 hours after the surgery. It may result in dislodging the blood clots.
8)- Consume liquid or soft food for a few days, and only chew with the other
What to Expect after wisdom Teeth Removal?
Below are a few things to expect right after the surgery. The recovery time is brief; however, based on the complication, it might vary. Below are a few things to look out for once the surgery is done to ensure proper recovery after the surgery is completed. It is good to follow your dentist’s instructions on the same.
Swelling is expected around the mouth, face, cheeks, and maybe even the eyes can be affected after the removal of the wisdom tooth. It is a normal reaction; it may not be present right after the surgery but will increase the following day.
Most swelling might be two or three days post-surgery. Ice packs can help reduce the swelling if left for a long while. However, if the ice packs are used after 36 hours, there are no real benefits other than the fact that it might help the pain.
Swelling for a few days after surgery is normal and a sign of recovery. After 36 hours, moist heat can be applied to the sides of the face; it can help in reducing the swelling. Sitting in an upright position, taking pain medication, eating a soft or liquid diet, and rinsing with saltwater are a few things that can be done to help with the swelling.
Following the swelling, discoloration is expected in a few cases. It includes the development of yellow, green, blue, or black colors.
The reason for the discoloration is because of the blood moving beneath the tissues. It is a normal process after the surgery, and it can occur around 2 to 3 days post the wisdom teeth removal. Speeding up the removal of discoloration can be done by applying moist heat to the area of discoloration.
Slight bleeding is expected after the tooth extraction. To control the bleeding, place a gauze pad on the area of surgery. However, slight bleeding, redness, or oozing is also common after removal. However, if excessive bleeding continues, it can be controlled by rinsing.
The old clots can be removed by wiping them away. Once the clot gets cleaned, you can place a gauze pad over it. Biting over the pad firmly for around thirty minutes can be helpful.
The process can be repeated; however, if the bleeding continues, a moistened tea bag can be used to bite on for the same thirty minutes. Tea bags have tannic acid, which can help in contracting the bleeding vessels and create a clot.
Restricting physical activities, sitting upright, and avoiding exercise can help reduce bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t reduce, it is good to visit your dentist and follow their instructions to avoid any mishap.
Moderate pain is expected post-surgery. If the pain is not resistible, over-the-counter medicines can be taken based on the pain, which can be taken every 4 to 5 hours.
The dentist might prescribe medicine based on the complication, and the tablets are to be taken based on the prescription timings given by the dentist. Using a hot press can also help with the pain, especially if there is severe pain.
However, this can make you tired and groggy, so it is better to avoid physical activities and avoid beverages that are alcoholic. If the pain continues, you must call the dentist; they may provide you with further prescriptions based on the complications.
Rinsing is to get restricted on the day following the surgery. Brushing your teeth can be done the same night; however, it must be done gently. Rinsing must be done continuously for 5 to 6 days after the surgery, especially after eating. Saltwater should be used for the same by adding a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water.
Brushing has to be done gently and should avoid the sockets. A small syringe may be provided by your dentist if necessary to flush the area and to clean it carefully by removing the food and bacteria. It is to be repeated until it’s fully healed.
Right after the anesthetic, only liquids are to be taken, and it is to be taken from a glass. No straws or sucking should be done since it can disrupt the surgery.
Taking high calories, as well as high protein, is essential. While taking in foods soft or liquid foods should be taken. While eating, other teeth should be used and moved away from the site of surgery.
Regular nourishment is necessary, preventing dehydration should also be taken care of, and take around 5 to 6 glasses daily. Since eating solid food can be hurtful, liquid should be substituted. Having more strength can reduce the discomfort and help in healing faster. Becoming dizzy while standing up suddenly is common following the surgery.
It is advised not to take anything through the mouth for at least an hour after the surgery if there is nausea or vomiting. Taking the prescribed medicine can also lead to vomiting.
Dipping on coke, ginger ale, or tea can help reduce nausea. Sipping should be done slowly and over fifteen minutes. Liquid foods are to be taken until nausea subsides; once that is reduced, taking solid foods can be continued, as well as the prescribed medicines.
If your dentist has prescribed medicines or antibiotics, you should take the liquids or tablets as ordered. It can help reduce the infection as well as the pain caused.
The antibiotics can get discontinued if an unfavorable reaction or a rash occurs. You can contact your dentist for further orders regarding changes in tablets or antibiotics. They should be immediately notified regarding the change to help prevent any other complications.
Types of Injuries or Complications
As expected with most surgeries, common types of injuries are involved while extracting a wisdom tooth. It is not always necessarily a common occurrence. Certain complications that can be caused include bleeding, dry socket, nerve injury, infection, delayed healing, etc.
Most of the complications can be healed with time; however, a few may result in irreversible changes depending on the severity of the complication.
One of the most common complications after the wisdom tooth’s removal is a dry socket or alveolar osteitis. This complication occurs when a blood clot fails to develop in the socket where the tooth was removed. It can also happen if the blood clot disappears or dislodges after the surgery. The period for this to occur is three to five days post-surgery.
The risk of developing a dry socket can be caused due to the inability to follow through with the dentist’s instructions post-surgery. Smoking can also lead to dry sockets. If you’ve had the condition before or are over 25 years old, you are more likely to develop a dry socket.
If the extraction had many complications or was difficult, it may cause a dry socket.
The pain caused by this is much like a toothache and can be as intense as well. The empty tooth socket may cause throbbing pain in your gums or the entire jaw. It can also result in an unpleasant smell or taste. In the place of the blood clot, the exposed bone will be visible if looked into the socket.
Going to your dentist or surgeon should be the first step if you’ve developed this condition. They will clean the socket, flush the debris out, and then cover the area with a medicated dressing. The dressing can be removed and replaced until it is healed.
Nerve injuries aren’t as common as a dry socket; however, they are not uncommon. Injury to the trigeminal nerve is another complication that is possible. Nerve injury can result in a tingling sensation, pain, and numbness in various areas like your tongue, chin, teeth, lower lip, and gums.
The damage is temporary in most cases and can last for about a few weeks or months. If the nerve is severely damaged, the resulting damage can be permanent.
The wisdom tooth might be touching a nerve as it grew. When the wisdom tooth is extracted, it may bruise the nerve instead. It can lead to numbness which can be temporary or permanent.
Daily activities can be interfered with because of a nerve injury. Simple activities like eating and drinking can become problematic since they can cause problems in sensation. Nerve injury doesn’t cause the lip or the tongue to become weak; instead, it creates sensation troubles for the patient.
Your dentist will try to reduce any possibility of nerve damage while extracting your wisdom tooth; however, they are supposed to inform you about the risk before surgery.
The dentist can give a local anesthetic during the removal of a wisdom tooth. Occasionally, a general anesthetic can also be given when surgery complications occur. However, a general anesthetic can come with additional risks; though the complications are rare, the risk exists.
Swelling, excessive bleeding, or discharge can be caused by complications or the dentist’s improper medical practice. Though malpractice is rare in wisdom tooth removal, any difficulty caused by it may lead to permanent damage.
Numbness, for example, can be a sign of nerve damage in a few cases. There can be an infection caused because appropriate etiquette was not followed, causing harm to your dental health. These points should be kept in mind before choosing your dentist.
Pros and Cons of Wisdom Teeth Removal
Pros of Wisdom Teeth Removal
A wisdom tooth can break partway through the gum and harm the surrounding teeth; this can be painful and cause tooth decay. Removing wisdom teeth can make sure that the condition doesn’t occur.
Risk of Crowding
Wisdom teeth grow at the back of your mouth; this can cause overcrowding between the teeth since they don’t have enough place. It can lead to alignment issues and cause tooth decay because of plaque buildup between the wisdom tooth and adjacent tooth.
Wisdom teeth are difficult to access; if they are removed, it is easier to take care of dental hygiene. Over time the wisdom tooth can cause an accumulation of bacteria, food debris, etc., and it can lead to bad breath. You will not have to deal with all these problems in case of wisdom tooth extraction.
Surgical complications can be caused by wisdom tooth removal, which can sometimes lead to infection if the dentist does not handle the procedure with care. Leaving the socket open, failing to form blood clots, etc., can also be caused because of complications.
A local anesthetic is required; however, in some cases, a general anesthetic is required while it is not always required, it can be used sometimes. Complications due to anesthetic are rare but not uncommon.
Removal of wisdom teeth can cause discomfort. Taking medicines and constant care has to be given for proper recovery. Bleeding and swelling are common. Post-surgery can also come with the risk of infection and has lots of restrictions.
Full recovery can take up to two weeks. Having a swollen mouth, bleeding, bruising, stiff jaw, pain, unpleasant taste, and numbness is quite common during recovery. However, excessive bleeding, swelling, and severe pain must be reported.
Having over-the-counter tablets, avoiding smoking, maintaining a liquid diet, avoiding tiring activities, using ice packs, and taking care of dental hygiene can help speed up recovery. Taking one or two days off is recommended; if a local anesthetic was used, you could drive immediately after the surgery; however, restricting yourself from stressful activities of any kind is recommended.
Once the bruising and swelling have disappeared, your face will return to normal. You can brush your teeth like you usually do and ensure that the prescribed medicine is taken. Check-up appointments can be helpful to ensure proper recovery as well as to remove any remaining stitch from the area of extraction.
Wisdom teeth removal is not a complicated process; however, if there are many complications, it can take longer to heal and recover. Once it is healed, taking care of your dental hygiene should be the focus after the recovery. Make sure that the mouth is kept clean and rinsing and brushing regularly.
Wisdom tooth removal can be essential in many ways, especially if it hurts the other teeth. The wisdom tooth is unnecessary, and removing it can be helpful for the other teeth.