Is wisdom tooth extraction as awful as you think?

Partner Spotlight

If you’ve ever been scared of a dental procedure, or even going to the dentist for a routine check-up, you’re not alone. Wisdom tooth removal may be one of the most stigmatized surgeries in dentistry.

In reality, wisdom teeth don’t always need to be taken out. Sometimes they grow and erupt through the gum line without disrupting any of the other teeth. Even if you do need your wisdom teeth removed, the progression of modern medicine has made the surgery much easier.

When wisdom teeth don’t emerge cooperatively, doctors refer to them as impacted wisdom teeth. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may cause pain and swelling, gum disease, or damage to surrounding teeth. The impacted tooth may become decayed or develop a cyst around it.

According to Valley Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, the best time to remove your wisdom teeth is during the teenage years when the roots are 60% developed or less.

Local anesthesia, laughing gas, or general anesthesia are used on the patient while the wisdom teeth are removed. Many surgeons take 40 minutes or more to remove a set of four wisdom teeth, but at Valley OMS, it usually takes less than 10 minutes.

While the patient is under anesthesia, the surgeon cuts the gum tissue to expose the tooth and removes any bone that obstructs the root. Sometimes the impacted wisdom tooth is divided into pieces to make removal easier. Then each removal site is cleaned and stitched. Sometimes stitches aren’t even necessary.

After the procedure, you’ll be sent home and allowed to recover for a week before you return for a follow-up appointment. During your home recovery, your regular routines will need to change, as instructed by your doctor.

  • Drink water and avoid caffeinated, hot, or carbonated beverages in the first 24 hours. Don’t drink with a straw to prevent any impact on the blood clots where the teeth were removed.
  • Start with soft foods and then progress to semi-soft foods when you can handle them. Avoid crunchy or hard foods that could get stuck in the removal site.
  • Ice packs and prescription pain medication can help with swelling and pain. Still, as surgeons have learned to perform the surgery with smaller incisions and less bone removal, you may not experience much discomfort at all.
  • Refrain from brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth for the first 24 hours after surgery. Then you can return to cleaning carefully, taking caution around the wounds in your mouth. Rinse your mouth with saltwater every two hours and after eating.

Ignoring the precautions prescribed by your doctor could lead to complications from the surgery. A painful condition that sometimes develops is a dry socket, which happens when the blood clot in the wound is lost and exposes the bone and nerves there.

Other signs for concern are excessive bleeding, fever, persistent foul taste, pus in the wound, or numbness. If you experience any of these complications, you should call your doctor and schedule an appointment as soon as you can.

The staff at Valley OMS maintains a high standard for performance, safety, and personalized, friendly care. If you’d like to schedule a wisdom tooth removal surgery, or if you want to explore all the services Valley OMS offers, visit their website. Valley OMS has three different locations and is open on Saturdays.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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