Wisdom teeth extraction is a procedure to remove the third molars, which typically grow between ages 17 and 21. Most people get at least one of their wisdom teeth impacted, particularly the lower ones. Impaction means that a tooth did not get enough room to grow naturally and has taken the wrong direction or position. If not removed surgically, an impacted tooth is prone to infection and abscess formation, causing pain, decay and resorption of healthy teeth, and gradual change in jaw structure. That is why dentists recommend surgical removal of an impacted tooth. So, how do you know you have an impacted wisdom tooth? What is the extraction process? What outcomes should you expect? Scroll down to find answers to all these questions.
What are the symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth?
The symptoms of an impacted third molar range from minor irritation to significant pain, bad breath, and difficulty opening the mouth. Many people also experience swollen or red gums, gum soreness and bleeding, and an unpleasant taste in the mouth because of tooth impaction. The pain that such infection causes can be intermittent or consistent. You should visit your dentist if you notice one of the symptoms above in and around your last molar tooth.
What is the procedure for wisdom tooth extraction?
First, your dentist examines your oral health and may recommend a dental X-ray. If it shows wisdom teeth impaction, they perform outpatient surgery. The surgeon uses nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation to put you under anesthesia. The procedure involves cutting into the gums and removing the tooth, either in pieces or whole. You may require multiple extractions if there is more than one impacted tooth.
What happens after wisdom tooth extraction?
You need to follow a few rules for the first 24 hours after the procedure.
- Avoid the extraction site and the adjacent teeth while brushing your teeth.
- Use a toothbrush with soft bristles.
- Do not rinse your mouth vigorously or use a straw.
- Do not consume alcohol or use a mouthwash with alcohol.
You may experience pain, swelling, and bleeding for up to several days after the surgery. You may find it hard to open your mouth fully during this time. Though you can resume normal activities the next day, the extraction site can take up to six weeks to heal. While you recover, you may be at risk of dry socket, sinus, nerve irritation, or infection. These potential side effects lead to pain followed by a foul smell and a bad taste. If you notice such symptoms, contact your surgeon immediately.
What helps pain from wisdom teeth removal?
A throbbing pain is common after wisdom tooth extraction. Pain treatment comprises the following options.
- Over-the-counter pain medicine such as Advil (ibuprofen) and Tylenol(acetaminophen) treat pain and fever effectively after wisdom tooth removal.
- Your doctor may prescribe opioids such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, which you should take as directed by your dental surgeon. Remember that overdose or misuse of these medicines can lead to addiction and sometimes death too.
- Home remedies for growing pain relief from wisdom tooth Which home remedies can help relieve pain after wisdom tooth extraction?
You can try the following self-care remedies for pain relief from wisdom tooth removal.
- Ice your face– Use an ice pack on your cheek or jaw area to minimize swelling and pain.
- Saltwater rinse– Gently rinsing your mouth with warm salt water helps fight inflammation and maintain post-meal oral hygiene. However, be gentle while squishing water in your mouth as doing so vigorously can dislodge the blood clot.
- Try tea bags– If you experience bleeding after two hours of the surgery, place soaked tea bags over the extraction site and close your mouth. Tea has tannic acid, which helps the blood form a clot.
- Do not spit– Bleeding, especially up to two afters after the surgery, makes you want to spit. However, avoid doing so for up to a week. Spitting after wisdom tooth extraction can dislodge the blood clot, initiate bleeding, and increase the possibility of severe dry socket. Rinse your mouth with water without squishing too hard.
- Take rest- Avoid strenuous exercises for a week to prevent the blood clot from breaking off. If you feel a surge of energy, take a walk for a short while or stretch while sitting or lying.
- Remember to elevate your head– Sleeping well is essential to recovery, but the pain and swelling after the surgery make it hard to rest. Use an extra pillow to elevate your head when lying down. It reduces discomfort, and minimizes the risk of blood pooling and choking from saliva while you sleep.
- Do not smoke or drink– Avoid smoking and drinking up to a week or ten days after getting your wisdom tooth pulled out.
What should you eat after wisdom tooth extraction?
- Post your surgery, sensitivity in oral soft tissues heightens. Avoid solid foods and start with soft or liquid-based foods initially.
- On the day of the tooth removal, eat cold and soft foods like yogurt, ice cream, custard for vasoconstriction. It narrows the blood vessels and slows bleeding.
- Start taking warm and soft foods the day after the extraction. You may try the warm soup, scrambled eggs, rice with lentil curry, mashed sweet potatoes, and warm soup.
- Avoid spicy, chewy, acidic, or crunchy foods to prevent irritation at the extraction site.
- Do not eat or drink anything too cold or hot.
- Take small bites to ease chewing. Chew slowly while avoiding pressure or food lodging over the extraction site.
- If you are taking care of your child after their wisdom tooth extraction surgery, show them how to drink, eat, and chew food while they are recovering. A demonstration may help prevent injuries because of consuming food or drinks incorrectly.
Resuming regular eating and drinking habits may take up to four weeks.
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