People with wisdom teeth usually don’t notice them until they are in their late teens or early twenties after all of their normal adult teeth have grown in. When wisdom teeth erupt, they frequently do so in an abnormal manner, causing a variety of issues. The following is a list of how these third molars may develop and why they are frequently removed:
- Wisdom teeth that only partially erupt: When molars only partially break through the surface of the gum tissue, an opening is created for bacteria to enter, bacteria that is extremely difficult to remove. As a result, the person may experience gum swelling, pain, and, eventually, infection.
- Wisdom teeth that erupt but are misaligned: This can cause swelling and pain in the gum tissue between the last molar and the new wisdom tooth.
- Wisdom teeth that erupt at an angle — When this occurs, the erupting wisdom tooth can push or “crowd” other molars, causing pain and a variety of dental problems.
Most dentists or oral surgeons recommend that people have their wisdom teeth extracted as soon as it is clear that they will cause dental problems, which means that the majority of patients who have their wisdom teeth extracted are between the ages of 18 and 24. However, there is another reason why they recommend the procedure to people in this age group: the procedure is easier when the patient is younger and the wisdom tooth roots have not yet fully formed. Teeth extraction in younger patients is not only easier for the dentist or oral surgeon, but it is also less of an ordeal for the patient.
Dos and Don’ts Following Extraction
It is critical to remember that having your wisdom teeth extracted is major oral surgery. That means you’ll need to plan ahead of time and set aside time to recover and heal following the procedure.
Your oral surgeon will give you detailed instructions on how to take care of yourself after the procedure. Here are some of the most common dos and don’ts after oral surgery.
What you can do
- Maintain an elevated head position. This will help to keep swelling at bay. This is especially important in the first 24 to 48 hours following the procedure.
- For the first few days after surgery, apply an ice pack to your face on a regular basis to help reduce pain and swelling. If you don’t have an ice pack designed for this purpose, wrap some ice in a clean washcloth and use that instead. Even a frozen bag of peas will suffice! After the first 48 hours, switch to a heating pad and place it directly on your extraction sites.
- It is normal to experience some bleeding after the procedure. To keep the bleeding to a minimum, bite down gently on clean gauze until it stops.
- Eat only soft foods until you start to feel better. Your dentist or oral surgeon can advise you on the best foods to eat during your recovery period.
- Drink plenty of fluids while avoiding the use of a straw. Sucking on a straw can irritate the extraction sites and slow the healing process.
- Take whatever pain medication your dentist has prescribed. It’s critical that you do this not only to alleviate any pain or discomfort, but also to ensure that you get enough rest after surgery. Rest is essential for healing, and you can’t get enough if you’re in pain.
- To exercise your jaw, open and close your mouth gently throughout the day. However, remember to move slowly and gently.
- You can begin brushing your teeth the second day after your procedure, taking care to avoid the extraction sites.
- If you have a fever or if your pain and/or swelling persists, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.
What to stay away from
- Certain actions can disrupt the blood clots that form at each extraction site, and it is critical to keep those blood clots intact in order to heal properly. As a result, avoid sucking, smoking, or spitting, all of which can damage a clot and increase the likelihood of a “dry socket.”
- Avoid eating crunchy or hard foods for at least 7 days after your procedure.
- Avoid vigorously rinsing your mouth, as this may disrupt a blood clot. If you must rinse your mouth, do so gently.
If you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, it’s normal to be nervous about the procedure. Keep in mind, however, that your oral surgeon has most likely performed this procedure numerous times with great success. And, thanks to modern dental technology and sedation techniques, you will experience no pain or discomfort during the procedure. You’ll be able to recover fully at home in just a few weeks if you closely follow your oral surgeon’s advice on do’s and don’ts after wisdom teeth removal. For more information, please contact our office.