Wisdom teeth are the last of the molars to come through at the very back of your mouth. You probably have them by the time you reach your early twenties, although some people get them at an earlier or later age. Wisdom tooth extraction is the removal of these teeth and is sometimes not a very straightforward procedure, depending on how they are present.
For a lot of people, wisdom teeth erupt normally and fit well in the mouth without any issues. But for some, there is simply not enough space in the mouth to adjust them. Also, they can be at an angle or horizontal or get stuck underneath your gums or teeth. This is known as an ‘impacted wisdom tooth’ and needs special care during extraction. If partially erupted, these teeth are hard to clean, plus food and plaque can get trapped underneath the gums leading to swollen and painful gums, cavities and infection. Extraction of a wisdom tooth is indicated if you are facing symptoms or there is a danger to the adjacent molar.
Plan the extraction well:
Unless it is an emergency, wisdom teeth extractions should be planned in advance. So schedule in such a way that you get at least a few days to rest. Talk to your dentist about what you might encounter and plan accordingly. It will take a few days to heal from the extraction. So here are a few things you can expect and that you should keep in mind to speed up the recovery process.
Day of extraction:
Depending on your choice of anaesthesia, the extraction can be done either only under local anaesthesia or with additional sedation for a more comfortable procedure.
Here are a few important things to remember immediately after extraction:
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1. Bite down gently yet firmly on the gauze pack placed by your dentist over the extraction area. The gauze should remain in place and exert pressure to control bleeding. After one hour, it can be replaced with a new one and may then be changed again until the bleeding is completely stopped.
2. Do not rinse your mouth or gargle, or probe the area with any object. The extraction site should not be disturbed under any circumstances. This is important to not disturb the clot necessary for smooth healing of the socket.
3. Apply ice to the outside of your face: Ice helps to reduce swelling, bleeding as well as pain. Never apply ice directly to the skin. Instead, wrap it up in a towel and apply. Apply every 20 minutes – so it should be 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off.
4. Keep your mouth clean: It is important to maintain good oral hygiene in order to expedite the process of wound healing. So you can start to brush gently at night. Avoid brushing near the extraction site
5. Salt water rinses: You can gently swish your mouth with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of salt dissolved in a glass of warm water to keep your mouth clean starting 24 hours after the extraction and only if there is negligible bleeding. Do not spit out the water; let it drip into the sink when you are done. Continue this for a few days, 2-3 times a day, to reduce swelling and help the healing process.
6. Bleeding: Some amount of bleeding is normal after the extraction, which may continue up to 24-48 hours later. Keep the pressure active by biting firmly on the gauze. Apply ice.
Severe bleeding implies that you are biting the gauze with your teeth but not exerting any pressure on the extraction area. So reposition the gauze over the area. Sit in an upright or reclined position versus lying down. Keeping a moistened tea bag in the area for about 30 minutes is another solution. The tannic acid in the tea leaves helps to control the bleeding by promoting blood clotting. If bleeding is uncontrolled, then you should contact your dentist.
7. Swelling: It is normal for your face on the side of the extraction to swell up. The swelling will persist for the next 2-3 days. Use ice packs to minimize.
8. Pain: Some degree of discomfort and mild pain is common after the extraction. It will start when the anaesthesia begins to wear off. But this can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen, paracetamol etc. There are stronger prescription medicines available too, but some patients experience nausea. Take medicine prior to the wearing off of the anaesthetic. The most pain you will experience is for about six hours after the local anaesthetic wears off.
9. Diet: Don’t eat anything until the anaesthesia has worn off and your sensation in the mouth, including the tongue, has returned, as you might inadvertently bite your tongue while eating.
You will have to follow a soft and nutritious diet. You should stick to soups, puddings, milkshakes, and yoghurt for the first few days after extraction. Don’t skip meals since you need to nourish your body to heal faster. Avoid extremely hot (tea/ coffee), spicy and hard food or food that needs to be chewed. Also, avoid food like nuts, sunflower seeds, and popcorn which can get stuck in the socket. Gradually start with your normal diet.
Do not use a straw for drinking for the first few days or any other activity involving a sucking motion, such as smoking.
Here are some other things you should remember:
Avoid activities immediately following the extraction. Strenuous activities should be avoided, like exercising etc., for several days as this may increase bleeding and swelling. Stick to resting throughout the first-day post-surgery; however, do not become completely flat on the bed as the pressure can increase bleeding; instead, take a few pillows to support your head. Also, be careful to slowly get up from the lying down position.
Smoking should be strictly avoided in the healing period as it will slow down the process and add to discomfort and formation of dry sockets.
Follow these instructions carefully for optimal healing and avoidance of Dry sockets. A dry socket is an extremely painful condition which happens when the blood clot gets dislodged. You will have to visit your dentist again and undergo an additional procedure to get treated for dry sockets.
After the first 2-3 days, you can start using an antiseptic mouthwash to gently rinse your mouth.
The first two days after the extraction are the most uncomfortable due to some bleeding and swelling. Starting the third day, it starts to get more comfortable, and gradually you see improvement and healing.
Signature Smiles, Mumbai, India, offers the safe extraction of wisdom teeth in a warm and comfortable setting at an affordable cost. Schedule an appointment today with our specialists if you think you need your wisdom teeth to be extracted.