Guide To Wisdom Teeth Removal
What To Expect Following Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth (third molars) generally erupt into the mouth between the ages of 16 and 25. These molars come in just behind our 2nd molars. Most people develop four wisdom teeth. At the same time, others may develop less or even sometimes more than 4. Wisdom teeth typically become an issue because of lack of space or poor positioning. Wisdom teeth can also affect your dental health and other teeth in the mouth by shifting them, damaging root structure, or increased the risk of tooth decay or gum issue.
Wisdom tooth eruption can come in sideways, horizontally, backward, or even become impacted (partially or fully unable to erupt into the mouth). When these complications arise, your dentist recommends removing the wisdom teeth to avoid permanent damage to other teeth.
How Do You Know If Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
The American Dental Association recommends that teenagers between 16 and 19 have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if removal is necessary. There is no ideal age for wisdom teeth removal, so when should you have it done? Unfortunately, the decision is not so simple. Below are factors to consider if your teenager’s wisdom teeth are already erupting:
- Are your wisdom teeth impacted? Impacted third molars can erupt sideways or crooked and lead to more extensive dental issues down the road.
- Is there crowding of teeth? Crowding or misalignment happens when your teeth are too close together and push against other teeth. This crowding of teeth can cause discomfort and lead to a dental infection caused by bacteria growing between the crowded teeth.
- Are they causing discomfort? If your teen’s teeth cause pain or discomfort, it is probably time to consider removal.
Information to Know About Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When a wisdom tooth develops but does not erupt into the mouth, it is considered impacted. Wisdom teeth that are only partially erupted are called partially impacted wisdom teeth. When there is an impaction, the tooth is likely to grow at an angle due to a lack of space. Many issues can occur due to wisdom tooth impaction. Your dentist will probably recommend extraction of impacted wisdom teeth if teeth are impacted. Below are some possible complications:
- Tooth pain at the site of impaction
- Trapped food that can cause tooth decay
- Damage to nearby teeth and gum tissues
- Jawbone Damage
- Irritated gum tissues
- Cyst or tumor development in the area of the tooth
- Dental Infection
- Shifting or moving teeth
- Periodontal disease
If an impacted wisdom tooth causes discomfort or tooth damage, your teen’s dentist will recommend removing wisdom teeth. It is crucial to keep your regular dental exam schedule; Your dentist will be able to diagnose if a wisdom tooth removal procedure is necessary for your child.
Wisdom Teeth Recovery
While most wisdom teeth extractions go pretty easily with little to no discomfort or complications. Complications can arise, both minor and significant. These wisdom tooth complications can include:
- Bleeding. This bleeding is quite normal following any type of oral surgery. It is very typical to see slight bleeding or oozing into the saliva following extraction of wisdom teeth. Excessive bleeding is abnormal, and you should contact your dentist or surgeon as soon as possible. The take-home instructions given by your dentist to control this oozing or slight bleeding is to firmly bite down on a fresh gauze pad for approximately 30 minutes. Feel free to repeat if necessary. The pressure usually does the trick, but biting on a moist tea bag will help even further if more action is needed. Teabags contain tannic acid, which helps with the clotting of the blood. You should limit activity immediately following wisdom teeth removal. If bleeding persists or you are unsure of your next step, call your dentist immediately.
- Pain and Discomfort. Some minor discomfort following wisdom teeth extraction is pretty standard. A dull ache is expected once the local anesthesia wears off. This aching generally will begin to subside on its own over the hours following oral surgery. Your dentist will recommend over-the-counter pain medication to handle any discomfort you may experience. For severe pain, your dentist will prescribe pain medication. It is important to remember that most prescription pain medication is much stronger and will make you tired and reduce your reflexes. Driving along with alcohol intake should be avoided while on these medications. The discomfort should begin to subside within 8-12 hours and be almost gone by the end of the 2nd day. If pain continues to persist, call your dentist immediately as you may be experiencing a severe symptom called a dry socket. A dry socket is when the blood clot is prematurely dislodged from the area where the tooth was extracted. Symptoms include severe and throbbing pain at the surgical site. Generally occurs about 3-4 days following surgery. This pain will not respond to pain medication. If you believe this is happening, call your dentist so they can relieve your pain with additional medications.
- Swelling. Another typical complication of wisdom teeth removal. Swelling can be typically found around the mouth and sides of the face where the extraction took place. This swelling can be controlled or minimized with the use of an ice pack. After 36 hours, ice loses its benefit and can be replaced with moist heat to the sides of the face. Moist heat helps reduce the swelling and increase the range of motion of your jaws. Most swelling will subside over 3-4 days.
- Dietary Restrictions. Initially, nutritional intake should be in liquid form (soups) or very soft foods. It is best to avoid chewing on the side where wisdom teeth were extracted. Drinking fluids is vital to prevent dehydration. Please stay away from sharp, crunchy foods that can lodge themselves into the extraction site. You need to eat and drink to heal properly. Just not too much, especially if you are experiencing nausea symptoms. Do not use a straw when drinking, as this may cause you to dislodge the clot. The dislodgement of the clot can lead to a dry socket or an increase in bleeding.
- Nausea/Vomiting. Nausea is a side effect that would be a real possibility, especially if general anesthesia was used. Limit food intake until nausea subsides, and drink a carbonated beverage (coke or ginger ale). It will help ease the symptoms of nausea.
- Dental Hygiene Maintenance. Keeping the mouth clean is essential. Rinsing should not be performed on the day of surgery. The day following oral surgery, you can rinse multiple times a day using a mix of salt and warm water. Your dentist will let you know when brushing in the area can resume.
- Bruising/Discoloration. Bruising can happen and is very typical. It occurs when blood forms beneath the soft tissues. This pooling of blood causes black, green, blue, or even yellow discolorations on the skin. Typically occurs 2-3 days after surgery. Application of moist heat to the area may speed up the healing process.
- Infection. Your dentist may recommend a regimen of antibiotics if there is a dental infection present. The Antibiotic prescription should be completed as directed by your dentist and pharmaceutical instructions.
- Jaw Stiffness. This stiffness can occur from the jaws being open and stretched for an extended period. Stiffness will generally go away within a day or two.
Less Likely Wisdom Teeth Complications
- Numbness. This numbness can happen and is often temporary. It is important to be careful not to bite your lip or tongue while you are numb. If the numbness persists, call your dentist as soon as possible.
- Fever. The development of a fever is a rare occurrence following wisdom teeth removal, but it can happen. Call your dentist if the temperature lasts more than a few hours or does not go back down after taking Tylenol or Advil.
- Dry, Cracked Lips. This can occur from your lips and mouth being stretched out during surgery. Dentists can minimize this complication by using vaseline on your lips and skin before surgery to keep them moist.
- Irregular Bony Projections. Patients may feel bony projections with their tongues following extraction. These projections come from the bony walls that house your wisdom teeth. These projections may need attention from your dentist if they cause an issue.
Frequently Asked Questions – Wisdom Teeth Removal
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Painful?
You should experience little to no discomfort during the removal because the area will be properly anesthetized. If discomfort is experienced during the wisdom tooth removal procedure, tell your dentist immediately so they can re-adjust your level of anesthesia.
Can You Remove Your Own Wisdom Tooth?
A dentist or oral surgeon should always perform the removal of Wisdom teeth. When a dentist recommends removing your wisdom tooth or teeth, they will take an X-ray of your mouth to evaluate whether you need oral and maxillofacial surgeons for your procedure. An oral surgeon is generally needed on more advanced impactions.
Does Removing Wisdom Teeth Change Facial Shape?
Some people will experience a narrowing of their lower jaw. This will show a slimming effect on your face.
What Happens If You Wait Too Long to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out?
Most extractions do not require immediate action unless there is pain or discomfort. However, waiting too long can lead to dental infection, orthodontic issues, or even a dental abscess.
Is It Safe to Remove All Four Wisdom Teeth In One Visit?
Yes. All 4 wisdom teeth are commonly removed at the same time. Routinely this procedure will last about an hour.
Does Removing Wisdom Teeth Change Your Teen’s Smile?
Wisdom teeth removal can affect the alignment of your other teeth. However, if impacted wisdom teeth are left alone, your smile can also be impacted in a similar way.
Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed If They Do not Hurt?
Your dentist will typically recommend removal of your wisdom teeth if the impacted wisdom teeth cause pain, dental infection, crowding, or become impacted. If your wisdom teeth are healthy, are not impacted, and do not cause issues, they may not need to be removed.
What Are the Early Symptoms of Dry Socket?
Signs and symptoms associated with dry socket can include severe pain days after the surgery, loss of the blood clot covering the surgical site, and visible bone.
How Do You Repair A Dry Socket?
Your dentist will flush and rinse the extraction socket to remove food debris and prevent the growth of bacteria. Next, they will apply medicated dressings to the surgical area and use pain medication as needed.
How Long Does Dry Socket Last?
Generally seven days.
What Is the Youngest Age You Can Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The most common ages for the procedure are between 16 and 20. However, for some, it can be performed as early as age 12.
Do Third Molar Extraction Sites Have A Foul Smell?
Typically, an unpleasant odor at the extraction site may mean a dry socket has developed. It is vital to call your dentist as soon as possible for evaluation.
It is important to remember that dentistry is very personalized, and each person will react differently to different dental procedures, such as wisdom teeth surgery. Many of us will have no complications beyond pain and slight swelling, but more significant complications may arise for others. It is critical to maintain communication with your dentist in case an issue does develop.
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