Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are the molars in the very back of your mouth. In most people, they come in in the late teens or early twenties, though this timeline may vary. Your dentist will see your wisdom teeth on routine x-rays as they prepare to erupt and may recommend that they be removed, for any one of a number of reasons. Most commonly, wisdom teeth are impacted, which means that they’re located so far in the back of the mouth that they may not be able to emerge through the gums normally. Because of this, the teeth remained trapped in the jawbone or in the gums, which can cause discomfort or even pain. Sometimes, the wisdom teeth may emerge, but because of their location in the mouth, they emerge at the wrong angle, possibly pressing against adjacent teeth and causing crowding and discomfort. Especially in people with smaller jaws, this can pose a significant problem. Even if they are allowed to fully emerge, because of the location in the very back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are likely to be challenging to properly clean; it is difficult to brush so far back in the mouth, and even more difficult to floss. This may lead to a greater likelihood of tooth decay in these third molars, which can cause significant problems if allowed to progress. Therefore, in most cases and to fend off future problems, it is preferable to remove the wisdom teeth, often before they have even erupted into the mouth. If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon for wisdom tooth extraction, you will likely face a simple, common surgical procedure that you will recover from in just a few days.

Your dentist will review the details of your wisdom teeth extraction dumfries va with you, before the procedure. Make sure to talk openly and honestly with your oral surgeon about any medical issues, questions, or concerns you may have. Talk about your existing health problems, to ensure there are no complications with your procedure. Provide a record of any medication, prescription or otherwise, that you take on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your procedure, including what to expect, what sort of anesthesia you will undergo, and what your recovery process will look like. Make sure to plan to take some time off from work or school so that you have time to recover comfortably from surgery for a few days at home, and arrange for a ride home following your procedure, especially if you will undergo local anesthesia. You may also want to arrange for child care or pet care for a few days following your wisdom teeth surgery, to allow you to relax and recover comfortably.

Most wisdom teeth surgery takes 45 minutes or less. Depending on your preferences and the complexity of your procedure, you will receive either a local or general anesthetic. If you opt for a local anesthetic, such as novocaine or lidocaine, your oral surgeon will numb your mouth with the preferred anesthetic. Your surgeon may also use nitrous oxide, an inhaled relaxant, to calm you during your surgical procedure. If you have a complicated wisdom teeth situation, or if you are extremely anxious about dental procedures, your doctor may choose to sedate you intravenously in addition to numbing the surgical site with a local anesthetic, allowing you to sleep during the entire procedure. Alternatively, your doctor may use general anesthesia that is administered through inhalation, which will also put you to sleep for the duration of the procedure. Your oral surgeon will discuss these different options for anesthesia with you before your procedure.

Depending on the placement and status of the wisdom teeth, your doctor may need to cut through your gums or into your bone to remove the teeth. If incisions need to be made, your surgeon will close these wounds with dis-solvable stitches and may also pack the area with gauze pads.

Everyone recovers from wisdom teeth surgery differently, and anesthesia is only part of that equation. If you feel alert following your surgery and have had only a local anesthetic, you may be able to resume normal activity immediately following your surgery, including driving home from the procedure itself and returning to work or school immediately. If you had general anesthesia, you will be required to have someone drive you home, for safety reasons. Most people experience some swelling and mild discomfort for a few days following a wisdom teeth extraction, and your mouth will not be fully healed for a few weeks. Be sure to listen to your surgeon’s recommendations for care following your surgical procedure. For the first few days following your wisdom teeth extraction, you may find relief from discomfort and swelling by using an ice pack on the outside of the cheek adjacent to the surgical site, or you may prefer moist heat for soreness. Gently exercising your jaw, by slowly opening and closing your mouth, may help relieve soreness and stress. Most people prefer to eat soft foods following a procedure, and doctors recommend drinking plenty of fluids. Don’t resume brushing your teeth until the second day after surgery, and brush carefully. Be sure to take any recommended drugs to relieve pain and swelling, and, if you are prescribed antibiotics, be sure to complete the whole course of medication. Call your doctor if these aftercare practices don’t relieve your discomfort, or if you have a fever or pain and swelling doesn’t improve. Dentists recommend that you avoid using drinking straws following a wisdom teeth extraction procedure, as rigorous sucking can loosen blood clots and slow healing. While you may want to gently rinse your mouth with saltwater, don’t rinse too vigorously. Avoid eating hard, sticky, or crunchy foods, and don’t smoke for at least a week, if not longer. Smoking can slow healing and lead to painful complications. If you follow your oral surgeon’s guidelines, wisdom teeth extraction can be a simple procedure that will help you maintain your long-term oral health.

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