Wisdom teeth are the last of the adult teeth to develop. Although many people never experience any problems with their wisdom teeth, others have significant difficulty that leads to the recommendation of their dentist that they be extracted. At other times, a patient may not be currently experiencing problems, but the dentist recommends that they be removed anyway to prevent likely problems.
However, not all wisdom teeth require extraction. The ones that are most commonly extracted are those that are coming in at a difficult angle, particularly ones that would intercept existing teeth or make it more difficult to clean the teeth. At times, a dentist may recommend a wait-and-see approach instead of automatically recommending an extraction.
Some signs that you may need to have a wisdom teeth removed include:
- Gum disease
- Red and swollen gums
- Pain when biting with the back teeth
- Swelling, ear infection or sinus infection
A dentist or oral surgeon can perform a wisdom tooth extraction. It begins with the administration of local anesthesia to ensure patient comfort. Also, it involves a minor surgical procedure where bone and tissue surrounding the wisdom tooth are removed, allowing for a clean extraction of the tooth.
A number of stitches may be used for sealing the surgical site and promoting the healing process. Some patients get dissolvable stitches that do not require manual removal. Instead, they come out by themselves in a few days.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery
Here are a few tips to ensure that you recover from your wisdom teeth removal as quickly and completely as possible:
Use Gauze and Pressure
It is critically important that a blood clot form at the removal site and remain there as a type of organic bandage. This allows for proper healing and permanent closure of the wound.
To help the blood clot form, use some gauze to cover the extraction site. By biting down gently on the gauze, it will remain in place. Avoid biting down too hard, as you want to avoid pushing the gauze too deeply into the wound.
Immediately Ice the Extraction Site
To reduce bruising and swelling after your recovery, place an ice pack on the outside of your cheek next to the extraction site. Do this for 20 minutes at a time and use an equal amount of time to take breaks.
Things to Avoid
Now that you know what to do after a wisdom tooth extraction, here are a few things that you should not do:
Avoid things like vigorously brushing your teeth and eating hard foods. It’s also a bad idea to smoke tobacco and drink alcohol. These activities interfere with the healing process and could react dangerously to some types of pain medications. Also avoid sucking through straws, as this could dislodge your blood clot.