The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are typically the last to erupt during the late teens or early 20s. While wisdom teeth should erupt and develop normally like the rest of your teeth, some people lack enough space at the back of the jaw for these teeth to emerge and grow normally. It causes the teeth to get trapped under the gum line or grow at an awkward angle, causing impaction.
Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth can cause additional problems like pain and discomfort, infections, and tooth damage at the surrounding teeth. Thus, your dentist can recommend extraction to alleviate these problems and prevent further complications. This article will discuss the impacted wisdom tooth extraction process, recovery, and aftercare.
Since an impacted wisdom tooth is often trapped under the gum line or develops at a wrong angle, a simple extraction may be impossible. Surgical intervention is necessary for easy removal of the tooth. The dentist will take X-rays of the impacted tooth to determine its position and the best way to remove it.
The procedure is often an outpatient procedure and typically involves:
Since wisdom tooth extraction involves surgery, it typically takes a few days to recover. Following your dentist’s aftercare instructions is the key to faster healing and recovery. These instructions can include the following:
Maintain gentle pressure on the gauze over the surgical – the gauze aids in clot formation to minimize bleeding for faster healing. If necessary, change the gauze as directed by your surgeon.
It’s important to avoid strenuous physical activities like exercises or heavy lifting for the next few days. Strenuous activities can cause increased pressure on the surgical site, worsening bleeding, pain, or swelling. It delays healing and increases your risk of getting an infection.
Since the local anesthesia may take a few hours to wear off completely, avoiding eating or drinking hot beverages while your mouth is numb is important. You can accidentally disturb the surgical site, worsening bleeding and pain. It can delay your healing and lead to complications.
Your surgeon can prescribe medications to manage pain and swelling and prevent infections around the surgical site. Ensure you take the medication as directed to promote faster recovery.
Applying an ice pack against the surgical site for about 15 minutes can help numb the area, reducing pain and swelling. It promotes faster healing and lowers the risk of infections.
Since the surgical site may still be sore for the next few days, starting with soft, cool, non-spicy foods is essential. Once the surgical site has healed, gradually reintroduce solid foods as healing continues.
Keeping the surgical site clean promotes faster recovery and prevents infections. Follow your surgeon’s instructions about brushing and flossing. After 24 hours, rinse your mouth severally with warm saltwater. Avoid aggressive rinsing or spitting forcefully, as it can dislodge the clot.
Avoiding tobacco products at least 72 hours before and after your tooth extraction is crucial. Smoking can inhibit normal wound healing, delaying recovery and increasing your risk of tooth extraction complications like dry sockets and infections.
While wisdom tooth extraction is generally safe, it comes with some risks, including dry socket, infection, nerve injury, severe pain, and prolonged bleeding. Visit a dentist near you immediately if you experience these complications and other serious symptoms like fever. Prompt intervention is essential to prevent serious complications.