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Your wisdom teeth, or “third molars” as some people call them, are just as important as your other teeth, but they are more susceptible to complications when they erupt (break through your gum tissue). Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 21 when there may be very little room left in your mouth because they are the last teeth to appear.
Since having adequate space to grow can be a problem, wisdom teeth sometimes erupt sideways, get trapped (impacted), or they only erupt partially. Any of these conditions can cause infection and pain, as well as facial and gum line swelling. If you experience any of these problems your dentist might decide to perform an emergency dental procedure to extract one or more of your wisdom teeth to restore your health.
Furthermore, through the use of full mouth x-rays your dentist may inadvertently find additional teeth besides your wisdom teeth locked inside the bone. Those teeth will have to be surgically extracted.
What Happens after Wisdom Tooth Surgery?
Generally, the recovery period after wisdom tooth extraction is just a few days. You can make yourself more comfortable by taking painkillers prescribed by your oral surgeon or dentist. In addition, the following helpful hints will speed up your recovery:
- Periodically gently bite down on your gauze pad, making sure that you change the pad whenever it becomes soaked with blood. Contact your oral surgeon or dentist if you are still bleeding 24 hours after your procedure.
- Be careful to avoid biting your inner cheek, tongue, or lip while your mouth is still numb.
- When lying down, use pillows to prop up your head to control bleeding.
- Apply an ice pack to the side of your face during the first 24 hours after your surgery. For the next two or three days apply heat using a washcloth that has been soaked in warm water and wrung out until it is moist.
- Don’t exert yourself after surgery because you can increase the amount of bleeding by engaging in physical activity.
- Immediately after surgery you should only consume soft foods such as pudding, gelatin, or thin soup. As healing progresses you can gradually introduce solid foods back into your meals.
- Do not use straws for several days after surgery because sucking on straws may loosen your blood clot and delay the healing process.
- You can alleviate some of the pain and swelling by carefully rinsing your mouth with warm salt water several times each day after the first day following surgery.
- Avoid smoking for the first 24 hours after your procedure because drawing on a cigarette can loosen your blood clot and delay the healing process. In addition, smoking decreases your blood supply as well as introduces contaminants and germs to the surgical area.
- Resist the urge to rub the surgical area with your fingers or tongue.
- Be sure that you carefully brush your tongue and teeth each day after the surgery.
To be extra safe, you should remain as relaxed and quiet as possible for 24 hours immediately after your surgery to avoid bleeding problems. You should also refrain from smoking and consuming alcohol during the same time frame. You may have received stitches to aid the gums in healing, and in this case you will have to visit your dentist in approximately one week time to check the progress of healing and to remove the stitches.
Finally, dentists sometimes prescribed antibiotics to patients prior to their procedure to clear up any tissue infections in the area of the wisdom tooth being extracted. After surgery, it is imperative that you finish your regimen of medications to avoid any further infection or contracting additional infections. For further information please contact Markham dentist Dr Nalini Sutharsan about your specific needs.