Wisdom Tooth Extraction

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How a Wisdom Tooth Extraction is Performed

Most dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction before wisdom teeth become problematic. Waiting until there is a problem before going in for wisdom tooth extraction can cause serious damage to the mouth, and will result in unnecessary pain. Wisdom tooth extraction is usually performed on young adults at the time that their wisdom teeth begin to grow into their mouths.

Before undergoing wisdom teeth removal, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area of the mouth from which the tooth will be removed. If several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time, a general anesthetic can also be used. When general anesthetic is used during wisdom teeth removal, it can often prevent the patient from feeling any pain at all. Most patients become woozy, and usually sleep through the wisdom teeth removal procedure. If you are being sedated, it's important that you don't eat or drink five hours before surgery.

To perform the wisdom tooth extraction, any gum tissue covering the wisdom tooth must be opened or removed. Once the wisdom tooth is visible and unobstructed, it can be extracted. Some teeth must also be cut into smaller pieces in order to be removed more easily.

Once the wisdom tooth extraction is complete, many patients will require stitches. There are two types of stitches, dissolving, and another type that must be removed a few days after the wisdom teeth have been extracted. In our office, we use the type that dissolve within 3 - 5 days. You should place gauze over the tender areas to prevent prolonged bleeding.

After a Wisdom Tooth is Extracted

Most patients will recover from wisdom tooth extraction surgery in just a few days. If needed, prescribed pain killers will ease most of the pain you may experience.

To quicken your recovery from wisdom tooth extraction, follow these simple steps:

  • Prop your head up to reduce the amount of bleeding in the mouth.
  • Change the gauze in your mouth periodically to help absorb any blood that enters into your mouth (15 - 20 minutes).
  • Take care when eating. For the first week, eat only foods that don't require chewing. Eating solid foods may cause injury to the tender areas of the mouth before they are fully healed.
  • Wisdom tooth extraction can sometimes cause swelling in the cheeks. Use ice packs during the first 48 - 72 hours to reduce any swelling that may occur. (Do not use heat until day three. Heat after day 3 will help to reduce the swelling).
  • Take it easy for a few days. Strenuous activity may prolong the healing process.
  • Do not use a straw when drinking. Sucking on a straw can cause blood clots to loosen, thus lengthening the healing process. Smoking can cause similar problems.
  • Be careful when brushing and caring for your teeth after surgery. Follow the wise advice, "IF IT HURTS - DON'T DO IT" As your mouth heals from wisdom tooth extraction, you will eventually be able to brush as normal.
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