A Guide To Wisdom Teeth Extraction: Procedure, Recovery, And Aftercare

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The last set of molars to come in are the wisdom teeth, also called third molars. They usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25. While some people can keep these teeth in place without any problems, others develop problems and must be extracted. 

Understanding the wisdom teeth extraction procedure, what to expect during and after, and how to properly care for yourself afterward are all topics covered in this detailed guide. If you have concerns about your wisdom teeth or other dental health issues, the best thing to do is see a dentist.

Wisdom Teeth: What You Need to Know

  • Wisdom teeth are evolutionary remnants from when humans consumed rougher, harder foods. 
  • These teeth were formerly important, but many people no longer need them due to jaw size and nutrition changes. 
  • This causes wisdom teeth to become impacted or partially or completely stuck in the gums, which can cause a host of issues.

Reasons to Do an Extraction

The extraction of all wisdom teeth is not necessary. But there are a few signs that it might be time to eliminate it.

ScenarioDescription
Aching or Discomfort A problem with wisdom teeth could cause persistent pain or discomfort in the back of the mouth, often accompanied by swelling or tenderness.
ImpactionInfection, swelling, and discomfort can result from wisdom teeth getting stuck under the gums or jawbone.
CrowdingWisdom teeth may push against neighbouring teeth during erupting, causing misalignment, crowding, and damage.
InfectionImpaction of the wisdom teeth creates a breeding ground for bacteria, which increases the risk of infection and gum disease.
Cysts or TumoursScholars from the Cochrane Oral Health Group say that when cysts or tumours form around impacted wisdom teeth, removing them is necessary to avoid additional problems. However, this happens very rarely.

Dentist Assessment and Advice

Consultations with dental surgeons or dentists are the starting point for patients considering wisdom teeth extraction. The dentist will perform a thorough exam, including X-rays, to determine the wisdom teeth’s position and impact on surrounding structures. 

Following this evaluation, the dentist will advise the patient on extraction and discuss the risks and expected outcomes.

Benefits of Wisdom Teeth Removal

  • Prevents tooth decay, gum disease, and structural damage.
  • Completely eases pain and discomfort.
  • There’s a much lower chance of getting an infection.
  • Can keep your teeth from crowding together and keep them in the right place.
  • This will lessen the future need for more extensive surgical procedures.
  • Reduced risk of oral health issues and better oral hygiene.
  • Helps keep sinuses healthy and avoid problems in the future.

Performing the Extraction

A dental office or oral surgery centre can execute the typical outpatient wisdom teeth extraction procedure. The procedure will vary, but comprehensive dental care includes the following:

  • Administering Anesthesia

The dentist or oral surgeon will ensure the patient is comfortable by administering anesthesia before the extraction. Patients may choose local anesthesia to numb the extraction site, sedation to relax, or general anesthesia to be unconscious.

  • Tooth Exposure

When a patient’s wisdom teeth are impacted, their dentist must make an incision in the gums to access the tooth and bone underneath.

  • Tooth Extraction

The dentist uses specialized instruments to extract the wisdom tooth from its jawbone socket delicately. The tooth may sometimes need to be cut into smaller pieces to make removal easier.

  • Cleaning the Sockets

After removing the tooth, the dentist will disinfect the area to prevent infection.

  • Suturing

In certain cases, the dentist may use sutures to close the incision and aid in the gum tissue’s healing process.

What to Do After Your Operation

Patients will receive detailed instructions on caring for the extraction site and managing recovery discomfort before leaving the office. The complexity of wisdom teeth extraction and individual healing factors can affect recovery from a few days to several weeks. 

Avoid these within 48 hours of extraction:

  • If you rinse your mouth too vigorously, the blood clot may be washed out, so be careful.
  • Avoid using straws for drinking.
  • Stay away from cigarettes.
  • Never use your tongue or fingers to poke or prod the extraction site.

When the Bleeding Starts

Bleeding from the tooth socket about 24 hours after extraction is normal. Follow these steps to reduce bleeding:

  1. For the first hour following extraction, bite down on wet gauze. If necessary, replace the gauze every 20 minutes.
  2. Avoid lying flat. Rest your head on a pillow.
  3. Try to minimize your activity level during the first two or three days.

When It’s Swelling

  • There will likely be some swelling following the extraction of a tooth. The swelling is worst two to three days after surgery and may last another three days before it starts to go down.
  • Apply ice packs to the surgical site as soon as possible after the procedure.
  • Put the pack on for 20 minutes, take it off for 20 minutes, and repeat this throughout the day.
  • Using cold packs after the first day is optional.

When Pain Sets in Following Surgery 

  • It’s common to feel discomfort after tooth extractions as the anesthesia wears off. 
  • Though it may not completely disappear, taking medication as recommended should alleviate pain.
  • Don’t operate heavy machinery or a motor vehicle while taking any medication for pain. Drowsiness may set in after taking it.

Potential Challenges  

Although most patients do not experience any serious problems after having their wisdom teeth extracted, they should be aware of the following:

  • Dry Socket. The extraction site blood clot dislodges or dissolves prematurely, exposing the bone and nerves and causing severe pain.
  • Infection. Bacteria entering the wound during healing or poor oral hygiene can cause extraction site infection.
  • Nerve Damage. A rare nerve injury during extraction may cause lip, tongue, or chin numbness, tingling, or altered sensation.
  • Sinus Problems. Upper jaw wisdom teeth may be near the sinuses, increasing the risk of sinusitis or perforation during extraction.

How to Avoid Potential Problems

Personal Dental Care

  • Gently brushing and rinsing with salt water can prevent infection at the extraction site. 
  • Be careful not to scrub or rinse too vigorously around the extraction site, which might delay healing.

Scheduling Follow Up Visits

To keep tabs on your recovery and voice any concerns, ensure you don’t miss your scheduled follow-up appointments with your trusted  Maple Ridge dentist.

Regular Dental Checkups 

Early detection and treatment of dental issues like cavities, gum disease, and oral cancer are possible with regular dental checkups.

dental hygiene

Ease Oral Pain Today 

By understanding the procedure, recovery, and aftercare guidelines in this comprehensive guide, people can confidently approach extraction and ensure a successful outcome. Contact Westgate Dental Centre if you are experiencing wisdom tooth symptoms to determine the best treatment for your oral health. 

Westgate Dental Centre provides comprehensive dental services, from wisdom teeth extraction to cosmetic dental services like teeth whitening. Our dental team ensures that all our patients from the Maple Ridge community receive quality and personalized dental care. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Make Transportation Arrangements. Wisdom teeth removal usually requires anesthesia, so that you will need a ride home. Get a trusted friend or family member to drive you to and from the dental clinic.
  • Preoperative Fasting. You may be instructed to fast before surgery by your oral surgeon. To guarantee your well-being and the effectiveness of the operation, adhere strictly to these directions.
  • Fill Prescriptions. Fill painkillers and infection-prevention prescriptions from your dental centre before surgery. Being prepared with these medicines will allow you to begin taking them as directed right away after the procedure.
  • Setup Recovery Area. Create a home recovery space with pillows, blankets, books, movies, or music. Stock on ice packs, soft foods, and liquids to reduce swelling.
  • Request Time Off. Plan to take time off work or school to recover from the procedure. Although recovery times vary, most people need at least two days off after wisdom teeth removal.
  • Pose Inquiries. Don’t hesitate to ask Maple Ridge dentists about dental treatment, recovery, or postoperative care during the consultation or the days before surgery.

The recovery time after wisdom teeth removal varies from person to person and depends on several factors. Most people experience discomfort, swelling, and bruising immediately following the procedure. This peaks within the first 48 hours and gradually subsides throughout about one to two weeks.

After wisdom teeth removal, call your oral surgeon if you experience any of these:

  • Bleeding persists or worsens after surgery.
  • Persistent or worsening pain after surgery that is not relieved by pain medication.
  • Swelling, redness, pus, or foul odour from the extraction site.
  • If your fever is 100.4°F (38°C) or higher, as it may indicate an infection.
  • If you have trouble breathing, swallowing, or other respiratory issues.
  • If you have any questions, concerns, or unexpected symptoms during recovery.

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