If you need to have a wisdom tooth removed, don’t fear! This third molar isn’t necessary for a healthy mouth, and can be removed just like any other tooth if it has erupted through the gums. If the tooth is not erupted, it can still be removed.
If the tooth is beneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone, a small incision will be made in the gum tissue and a part of the bone covering the tooth will be removed. This may be done by removing small pieces at a time to reduce the amount of bone that will need to be removed.
Using a local anesthetic, the area will be numbed just like any other tooth that is removed. If you have anxiety, you may be sedated. This is done using nitrous oxide, commonly referred to as laughing gas, or a pill taken orally, or an injection via the veins. If you are having all four wisdom teeth removed, you will receive a general anesthetic which allows you to sleep through the procedure and feel no pain.
After the Extraction:
Bleeding: While the injection site is clotting after the extraction, you will be bleeding for a few hours. You can put pressure over the extraction area by using a piece of clean, moist gauze and biting down firmly. To avoid loosening the clot for the first 24, don’t rinse or spit, and don’t drink hot liquids like tea, coffee, or soup.
Swelling: To relieve swelling around the facial area, you can place an ice pack on the swelling site, ten minutes on, twenty minutes off, during the first 24 hours after the surgery. After 24 hours, switch to heat, placing a damp, warm towel 20 minutes on face, 20 minutes off, as needed.
Pain: For minor pain you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. You may be prescribed a stronger pain medication if necessary. You may also be prescribed antibiotics to treat any infection around the tooth.
Diet: Stay on a liquid diet for the first 24 hours until the numbness has worn off. For the next few days afterwards you will want to be on a soft food diet, including lukewarm soups, smoothies, yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and pasta.
Brushing: You can gently brush your teeth during the first 24 hours, but not the ones nearest the extraction site.
Rinsing: Once you have clotted, and 24 hours after the surgery has passed, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals and before you go to bed. Do not use commercial mouth rinses, however, as they can irritate the socket.
Stitches: For any stitches you have on the extraction site, they may need to be removed after a week if they are not the self-dissolving kind. You should start to feel more comfortable around the extraction site after a couple of weeks.
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure that you don’t need to be afraid of having done. If you have any questions or would like to be seen, please contact our Smiles Dental team at 360.335.3998 today!