Our Dentist Explains Wisdom Teeth Removal or Tooth Extraction Procedures
Wisdom teeth are teeth that erupt when a person is a young adult. The problem with wisdom teeth is that the person’s jaw may not have room for them. Because of this, some are impacted and damage adjacent teeth or the nerves in the jaw. They can erupt on their side, which leaves pockets in the gum that can become infected. Wisdom teeth are also difficult to take care of.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
Extracting misaligned wisdom teeth is not as easy as regular tooth extractions, where the tooth is simply gripped with a special instrument, rotated and pulled. This can be done by a general dentist. When it comes to wisdom tooth removal, a specialist may need to be called in.
Though all patients receive anesthesia before the wisdom teeth removal, the oral surgeon may give an anxious patient a sedative such as Valium the night before they come into the dentist’s office to have their wisdom tooth removed. The patient arrives in the office in a calm state then is given regular anesthesia such as lidocaine and laughing gas for the procedure. Only truly terrified patients are given general anesthesia that puts them to sleep.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery
The patient should rest quietly at home for the first 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal then resume light activity for the next couple of days. There will be a bit of bleeding around the extraction, and the patient should bite a piece of gauze or a wet teabag for 45 minutes. The tannins in the tea help staunch the bleeding. They should avail themselves of the painkillers the dentist prescribed. Ideally, the patient should start to take them before the anesthesia wears off completely. The patient should call their general dentist if the bleeding is heavy and won’t stop.
Any swelling can be eased by an ice pack. The ice pack is applied to the cheek for 10 minutes, left off for 20 minutes, then replaced for 10 minutes for the first day. Ice should never be put directly on the skin.
After the first 24 hours, the patient can replace the ice pack with a heating pad if the swelling persists and rinse their mouth with warm salt water after meals and before bedtime. They shouldn’t rinse with commercial mouthwash.
The patient should have a liquid diet for the first day or so. This includes milk, meat or vegetable broths, strained soups and any beverage save alcohol. The liquid diet should be followed by a soft diet which can include soft breads, plain ice cream and custards, ripe avocados and bananas, cooked apples, pears, peaches and cereals such as grits and cream of wheat.