Wisdom Tooth Extraction: What to Expect
Wisdom teeth refer to the teeth located in the back of the mouth. Also known as “back molars”, these are the last set of teeth to erupt during your late teens and/or early 20s. They are the third and fourth sets of molars comprising two teeth on top and two teeth on the bottom.
Not everyone will develop wisdom teeth. While some people may have only the eruption of one or two teeth, the majority of us will eventually develop all four of these back molars. The eruption process may be accompanied by pain, discomfort and even misalignment of the teeth. Rarely doe this process go off without being noticed due to these symptoms.
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend simple oral surgery like wisdom tooth removal. We discuss here why removal in some instances may not be optional, and what to expect during, and after the wisdom tooth extraction procedure.
Wisdom Teeth Can be Hazardous
If your wisdom teeth have already erupted and are properly aligned then great! You’re one of the lucky ones. Misalignment is a common occurrence as a result of the eruption. These teeth often have to force their way through a spot in the mouth where there is insufficient space for development. The misalignment of these teeth can be the beginning of tooth problems like tooth decay, pain while chewing and more.
Wisdom teeth grow in a manner that makes them difficult to clean. With time, reduced ability to clean the area around them can lead to gum disease – gingivitis or even worse, periodontitis. Periodontitis can cause you to develop swollen and bleeding gums as well as bad breath, among other symptoms. Possible complications also include abscess, pain or damage to neighboring bones.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Process
The removal of a wisdom tooth is an outpatient surgical procedure, meaning that the entire removal process is completed same-day in office. As with any dental treatment, your dentist will usually need to carry out an oral examination first. X-ray imaging is required to properly view your wisdom teeth to see why it might be causing you discomfort and how it should best be removed. An appointment will then be made for you to come back for the surgery. Some dental offices in Harrisburg NC will allow you to have a same-day emergency appointment where all of this can be done in one-day without prior appointment.
The thought of having your tooth extracted might be scary because of the perceived pain, but you don’t need to worry so much about that. Anesthesia is typically used for this kind of procedure. The particular one to use – local anesthesia or general anesthesia – will depend on the seriousness of the problem.
After the procedure, you will only regain feeling in at the extraction site little by little as the effect of the anesthesia wears off. It is normal to feel pain as anesthesia wears off, you may even experience swelling. You may not be able to drive yourself home afterward so bringing along a licensed driver would make getting home much easier.
It is possible for you to be able to resume your regular activities the next day. The level of pain you experience after wisdom tooth extraction will range from mild to moderate, and rarely severe. It should improve after a couple of days. Most patients fully recover in 3-4 days, but this can take up to a week for those with impacted or awkward-angle teeth.
Bleeding is also common following wisdom tooth extraction – this, like pain and swelling, should usually be gone by the end of a full week. However, do not procrastinate in calling your dentist if these symptoms do not improve after that time.
You will have to stick to eating soft foods, such as apple sauce, cottage cheese, smoothies, and pudding, for 2 to 3 days following the extraction of your wisdom teeth. Also, you need to stay away from hot or extremely cold foods as well as. Crunchy or hard food should also be avoided since they can get lodged into the hole, extraction site, left by wisdom teeth removal.
In regard to pain management, your dentist may prescribe certain pain medications for relief. These could include narcotics-based drugs, but this type is now less recommended to guard against addiction issues. You should also receive antibiotics to help prevent possible infections following the procedure. An ice pack, when used correctly, can also provide relief along with rinsing your mouth with warm salt water.
Be careful of any activity that could break up the blood clot or stitches over the wound left by the extraction. Such activities to avoid include drinking from a straw, spitting or smoking. These can lead to a very painful condition known as dry socket.
Our Harrisburg NC Dentist Office
To learn more about dental treatments from Icard & Strein Family Dentistry, or to schedule an appointment, call our Harrisburg, NC dental office today at 704.455.5003.