Playing it Smart After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Surgery to remove wisdom teeth is one of the most common procedures that oral surgeons and dentists perform. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions afterwards for the best chances of quick and complete recovery. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself after wisdom tooth extraction.

Watch your diet:
Your dentist will give you a list of suggested foods you can it after surgery, and ones to avoid. Stick with soft or liquid foods for the first couple of days, and do not eat hard or sharp foods like chips. Avoid carbonated drinks, hot beverages, and spicy foods because they can irritate your surgery site. After the first few days, begin introducing your regular diet as is comfortable.

Take your medications:
You will likely receive a prescription for painkillers to help relieve discomfort, as well as reduce swelling. This in turn can lower your risk for infection too. Take your medication as prescribed by your dentist for the optimum results. If your extraction is simple, prescription medication may not be required. You can take over-the-counter medications if your dentist agrees and you follow the directions on the label. Do not take aspirin, however, because it can thin your blood and increase bleeding at your extraction site.

Brush carefully:
Instead of brushing with your toothbrush, gently wipe the site with clean, wet gauze. Rigorous brushing can hurt the healing process, and you should even avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours after surgery. On the second day, you can rinse your mouth gently with salty water. Do not spit forcefully, which can dislodge the blood clot on your extraction site. Also, do not rinse with mouthwash that contains any alcohol.

Avoid alcohol and tobacco:
Drinking alcohol may thin your blood, prevent clotting, and delay healing. Smoking can have similar effects, as well as dislodge the clot when you inhale on a cigarette. For the best chances of healing, avoid these products for at least 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction.


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Wisdom Teeth: Is it Wise to Wait?

Most dental professionals recommend having third molars, or wisdom teeth, removed in early adulthood, preferably before they are fully formed and rooted into the jaw. Generally, this means having wisdom teeth extracted between the ages of 17 and 25. Waiting until you are older to have wisdom teeth removed can have considerable risks and complications.

Wisdom teeth that are not removed create the following risks:

  • Impaction caused by wisdom teeth that do not have sufficient room to grow, causing pain and potential disease and damage to adjacent teeth.
  • Tooth decay from wisdom teeth that are difficult to keep clean.
  • Infection caused by bacteria that is harbored in the wisdom tooth eruption site.
  • Growth of tumors and cysts caused by severely impacted wisdom teeth.

For patients who need to have wisdom teeth removed later in life, complications can include:

  • More complicated removal surgery to eliminate deeply rooted or impacted wisdom teeth that results in longer surgery recovery time.
  • Roots that have grown close to the nerve that affects the feeling in the lower lip might be injured in surgery, causing permanent nerve damage.

If you or your young adult have emerging wisdom teeth, schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine if and when they should be removed. While some patients will not need to have their third molars extracted, in most cases, having wisdom teeth removed as they are erupting can help to avoid a host of future problems. When wisdom tooth extraction is performed early, recovery time and risk of complications are drastically reduced for most patients.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Calming Your Wisdom Tooth Surgery Fears

Some people would rather endure tooth pain than have their wisdom teeth extracted during surgery. Most of the time, fears are based on irrational tales that people read on the internet or hear from others. The truth is that wisdom tooth surgery is extremely common and most oral surgeons perform them every day without complications. The best way to overcome fear is to learn more about the procedure and recovery.

Procedure:
Extracting wisdom teeth involves opening the gums above the tooth and removing any bone that is blocking the tooth’s ability to erupt. The tissue will be separated to be able to remove the tooth, sometimes even in pieces if necessary. In some cases when bone is removed, a bone graft is needed to replace it. After the procedure is complete, stitches will be placed that will dissolve with time. If this sounds awful, remember that patients don’t feel any pain during the procedure due to sedation and usually don’t even recall anything that happened during treatment.

Recovery:
There are some common outcomes to be expected after wisdom tooth extraction, all of which usually subside within a few days as long as you follow your surgeon’s instructions. Have someone accompany you to and from the appointment so they hear the recovery directions and so you don’t drive. Afterwards, you will be given gauze to bite on at the extraction site. Bite gently on the gauze and change it frequently. Avoid lying flat on your back because bleeding may increase. If you experience swelling, hold ice packs on the outside of your cheeks for the first day. Eat soft foods and avoid using a straw for the first few days, and try not to touch the area with your fingers or tongue. Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. If you follow all these guidelines and any others that your doctor provides, there are few risks and no reason to be afraid of wisdom tooth extraction.


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When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, and usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties. Standard dental practice is to remove wisdom teeth prior to them being fully formed when the roots have not yet had a chance to develop and fully root into the jaw. Younger patients usually have an easier recovery from surgery and many dentists believe early removal prevents future dental problems associated with wisdom teeth.

If your wisdom teeth were not removed as they emerged, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate the need for extraction including:

  • Wisdom teeth that are impacted, which means they have become trapped in the jawbone or gums.
  • Wisdom teeth that are emerging at an awkward angle, causing pressure on adjacent teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth that do not fit in your mouth, causing crowding of the surrounding teeth as well.
  • Wisdom teeth that are suffering from decay or disease caused by the inability to keep them cleaned properly.
  • Wisdom teeth that have developed fluid-filled cysts near the gumline.
  • Wisdom teeth that are causing pain due to any of the above reasons.

The decision about whether or not to remove your wisdom teeth should be made in consultation with your dental professional. Your dentist or oral surgeon can assess the position and health of your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation for treatment.

If extraction is recommended, they may choose to extract one tooth or all four molars at once. Recovery from the outpatient procedure takes just a few days, and you will quickly be back to normal. Consult with your dental professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed to determine if you should consider wisdom tooth removal to ensure your future good oral health.


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Oral Surgery: Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last adult teeth to erupt into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the bottom and two on top. Many people do not have enough room for these molars to emerge completely, causing them to become impacted in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay and disease. Other dental problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and bite alignment issues. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend having the impacted teeth removed to prevent future problems.

Surgery to extract an impacted wisdom tooth or set of wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office. If the tooth or surrounding area are deemed to have an infection prior to the procedure, surgery will be delayed, and your dental professional will likely prescribe antibiotics to help heal the area.

On the day of surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the extracted tooth will be removed. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist or oral surgeon may also utilize a general anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made to open up the gum and any bone blocking the tooth will be removed. Your dentist or surgeon will then separate the tissue connecting the bone to the tooth and extract the tooth. Some teeth are too large to remove in one piece, in which case your surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and packed with gauze to help alleviate bleeding.

Long-term complications from impacted wisdom tooth surgery are rare. To ensure a successful recovery from this or any oral surgery, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Dealing with Wisdom Tooth Pain

Whether you are a teenager or an adult, you may have pain associated with your wisdom teeth. In a perfect situation, these back molars erupt last and fit right into your mouth without problems. Many people are not so lucky, however. It is common for these teeth to attempt to come in, but have nowhere to grow in the space where your other teeth are already established. This can result in a very painful toothache.

The first step you should take is visiting your dentist, where x-rays will be taken to see exactly what is happening in your mouth. The x-rays will be examined to determine the angle the teeth are growing, how much room is available for them to develop, and if there is any infection present. Depending upon the examination results, surgery may be necessary to remove your wisdom teeth.

Your dentist will look for signs that indicate your wisdom teeth need to be removed. The main indications for tooth removal include:

  • A tooth embedded in your gums
  • A tooth that is only partially erupted
  • The presence of a cyst around the tooth
  • A tooth growing in an awkward angle

If your dentist recommends removal, it is usually suggested to have it done as soon as possible to avoid further problems and continued pain. Sometimes it is necessary to remove only a single tooth, and in other cases multiple teeth may need to go. The complexity of the removal depends on whether the teeth are embedded, the angle of growth, and other issues. Your dentist will advise you on the safest and most effective plan for taking care of your wisdom teeth and getting rid of the pain.


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Extracting Wisdom Teeth

Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, are usually the last to make their appearance in your mouth. Some people don’t even have them break through at all. Whether or not they erupt, they can wreak havoc in your mouth if there isn’t enough room for them. If they become impacted, removal becomes even more important.

Your dentist will monitor your wisdom teeth through examinations and X-rays, and will recommend extraction if it appears they may cause any complications. Some dentists suggest removing them even if they aren’t impacted, as they can be difficult to clean and therefore prone to decay. Wisdom teeth may even get infected, requiring immediate medical attention. Symptoms of infected wisdom teeth can include:

  • Pain in the tooth and gums
  • Gum bleeding
  • Gum inflammation
  • Swelling in the face and jaw
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath

If your dentist says you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t put it off because it is better to have them removed before further complications occur. Usually, you will be referred to an oral surgeon for extraction. If only one tooth is involved, local anesthesia may be sufficient. The removal of multiple wisdom teeth typically requires general anesthesia, and is a day surgery so that you can return home afterwards.

It is important for you to follow your doctor’s instructions after tooth extraction to avoid problems. Your activities might be restricted for the first day or two, ice or heat can be helpful, and care should be taken if stitches are present. You will also be given a list of foods that are suggested during your recovery. If you follow all of your doctor’s advice, you can be expect to return to your normal activities soon and no longer have to worry about any problems those teeth might cause.


We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Why Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

A wisdom tooth is often extracted to correct an existing dental problem or to prevent the possibility of problems that may arise in the future. Some problems associated with wisdom teeth are:

  • Your jaw may be too small to accommodate the eruption of your wisdom teeth, leading them to become impacted (stuck in the jaw, often under the edge of an adjacent tooth) and unable to erupt through your gums.
  • Your wisdom teeth may partially erupt, leaving a flap of soft gum tissue to grow over the tooth. Food, bacteria and germs can get trapped underneath this gum flap, leading to swelling, redness and pain, which are signs of infection.
  • Impacted teeth can lead to a more serious problem, such as acute infection, damage to the surrounding teeth, damage to the bone or the development of a cyst.
  • Wisdom teeth can present at an awkward angle, coming in with the top of the tooth facing sideways, forward or backward.

Removing your wisdom teeth can be a good method to prevent:

  • crowding at the back of the mouth
  • an impacted wisdom tooth stuck in the jaw and never erupting
  • painful gums or infection caused by a flap of gum skin
  • gum disease or tooth decay in the individual wisdom tooth or in the surrounding teeth and gums

You may want to have your wisdom teeth removed when you are younger because:

  • The younger you are, the less developed your wisdom teeth roots are, and the less dense your jawbone, allowing for an easier extraction of the tooth.
  • The majority of problems with wisdom teeth begin between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.
  • If you have a medical condition that is known to worsen with time, you may choose to have your wisdom teeth out early, while you are in your best health, to facilitate maximum healing.

Wisdom teeth extraction is rarely harmful, but there are risks associated with any surgery. Talk to your dentist today about any concerns you have regarding wisdom tooth extraction.

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