Wisdom Teeth Removal
If a wisdom tooth doesn’t have room to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), resulting in pain, infection or other dental problems, you’ll likely need to have it pulled. Wisdom tooth extraction may be done by a dentist or an oral surgeon.
To prevent potential future problems, some dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even if impacted teeth aren’t currently causing problems.
Removal of Impacted Wisdom Teeth and Molars
An impacted wisdom tooth may:
- Grow at an angle toward the next tooth (second molar)
- Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
- Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, as if the wisdom tooth is “lying down” within the jawbone
- Grow straight up or down like other teeth but stay trapped within the jawbone
How to Prepare for Wisdom Tooth Removal
A wisdom tooth extraction is almost always performed as an outpatient procedure. This means that you go home the same day.
You’ll receive instructions from the hospital or dental clinic staff on what to do before the surgery and the day of your scheduled surgery.
Patient Wisdom Teeth Aftercare Instructions
It is important to follow these post-operative instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery.
Bleeding: Some bleeding or oozing is normal after the surgery. You will have a gauze pad placed over the surgical site. Keep firm pressure on the gauze pad by biting down for at least 30-45 minutes after the surgery. If bleeding continues, replace the gauze pad and continue to apply pressure. If bleeding persists for more than 24 hours, please contact our office.
Swelling: Swelling is a normal response to surgery and can be minimized by applying a cold pack to the affected area for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off a few times a day, for the first 24-48 hours after surgery.
Pain Management: It is normal to experience some pain after the anesthesia wears off. Most often the pain can be managed with Ibuprofen and Tylenol, or you may be prescribed additional pain medication. Take the medication as directed and do not exceed the recommended dose. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery while taking pain medication.
Diet: For the first 24-48 hours, consume only liquids and soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and applesauce. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as you feel comfortable, but avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods for at least a week.
Oral Hygiene: Do not rinse your mouth or brush your teeth for the first 24 hours after surgery. After 24 hours, you can start rinsing your mouth gently with warm salt water (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) every 2-3 hours. Brush your teeth gently, avoiding the surgical site. When finished, do not spit, gently open your mouth, and let the water passively fall into the sink.
Activity: Rest for the first 24-48 hours after surgery. Avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least a week.
Smoking and Alcohol: Avoid smoking and alcohol for at least 72 hours after surgery as they can delay the healing process.
Follow-Up Appointment: Make sure to attend your follow-up appointment as scheduled. This is important to monitor your healing progress and address any concerns.
Remember, it is important to follow these instructions carefully to ensure a smooth and comfortable recovery. If you have any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact our office.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth. They are located in the back corners of the upper and lower jaws.
Is wisdom teeth removal painful?
The procedure itself is not painful as it is performed under local or general anesthesia. However, you may experience some discomfort and swelling after the procedure, which can be managed with medication and cold compresses.
What can I eat after wisdom teeth removal?
For the first 24-48 hours after surgery, it is recommended to consume only liquids and soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and applesauce. Gradually reintroduce solid foods as you feel comfortable, but avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods for at least a week.
What are the potential complications of wisdom teeth removal?
While complications are rare, they can occur. Potential complications include dry socket (a painful condition that occurs when the blood clot that normally forms after extraction is lost), infection, nerve damage, and prolonged bleeding.
Will my insurance cover the cost of wisdom teeth removal?
Coverage for wisdom teeth removal varies by insurance plan. It is best to check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth may need to be removed if they are impacted (not properly erupted through the gums), causing pain, infection, or other dental problems. Removing the wisdom teeth can prevent these problems from occurring or worsening.
What is the recovery time after wisdom teeth removal?
Recovery time varies from person to person, but most people can expect to fully recover within 1-2 weeks. You may experience some swelling and discomfort for the first few days, but this should gradually improve.
How long do I need to take off work or school?
Most people need to take off 2-3 days from work or school after wisdom teeth removal. However, it is recommended to avoid any strenuous activity or heavy lifting for at least a week.
How can I prevent dry socket?
To prevent dry socket, it is important to follow the post-operative instructions carefully. This includes avoiding smoking, not using a straw for the first few days, and not rinsing your mouth vigorously.
Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. Your dentist or oral surgeon will evaluate your wisdom teeth and recommend removal if necessary.
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