Wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common dental procedures. Wisdom teeth grow at the back of the mouth, usually erupting through the skin around the ages of 17-21. There are some people without any wisdom teeth at all. The wisdom teeth cannot move into the correct position without enough room in the mouth. These teeth can also come in only partially or at an angle. When this occurs, the wisdom teeth can cause problems like pain or infection, called impacted wisdom teeth.
Most dentists will likely advise wisdom teeth removal. The recovery from this procedure will occur gradually and show improvement every day. The outline below includes what to expect after wisdom teeth removal and what risks you may experience.
After your procedure, you may experience some pain and swelling. Your dentist can prescribe medication to reduce the amount of pain you feel. Complications rarely occur; some examples of possible complications include poor healing of the tooth socket or injury to the nerve. Taking it easy after the procedure for a couple of days is essential.
During the first 48 hours, you are likely to experience pain. Your mouth may be sore for up to a week following the procedure. Since you will be given anesthetic injections, you may not feel pain immediately after for up to 3-4 hours. Take the pain medication your dentist recommends ensuring you sleep well and maximize your recovery. You also may find it challenging to clean your teeth as the area around the extraction site will feel sore.
It is common to swell after the procedure; this usually occurs in the cheek, inside, and outside the mouth. The swelling will be at its worst in the first two days before gradually subsiding. You can use ice packs shortly after surgery to relieve the swelling, and don’t be alarmed if bruising to the face occurs.
You may experience pain or stiffness in the jaw, making it difficult to open and close your mouth. After a couple of days, this stiffness will generally go away, but occasionally it can last for up to two weeks. You may require a soft diet for a week or so. Please do not force the jaw open before it is ready; this allows time for the swelling to go down.
The stitches from the procedure will dissolve and do not need to be removed. Brushing the sutures 3-4 days after removal is essential to minimize food trapping. After the tooth is removed, a ‘socket’ is left in the bone, and the socket may remain in the gum for up to 3 months. Blot clots form over the wound as it heals, and it is important not to remove these.
Dry socket occurs with 5-10% of removal patients. This can occur if the blot clot that has formed over the bone fails or becomes dislodged. Some of the symptoms of dry socket include:
Nerve injury is not common and is usually caused when the nerve that lies close to the root of the lower wisdom teeth becomes bruised. This risk occurs in up to 2% of patients but is generally temporary. If your wisdom tooth is close to your lip nerve, the likelihood of nerve injury is more common. Some symptoms of nerve injury include:
After your procedure, it is imperative to maintain oral hygiene. Gradually brush closer and closer to the wound every day and eventually brush the stitches away. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are all common after removal; ensure you take it easy and let your wounds heal. Regehr Family Dental provides wisdom teeth removal procedures; visit our website to learn more today.