Last week on our blog, we introduced wisdom teeth, or third molars, and the severity of an impacted wisdom tooth, as well as what medical conditions constitute necessary removal.
To help our patients better understand what happens during a wisdom tooth surgery at our office, this blog post will outline what typically happens during the procedure so they can be better prepared. When discussing the possibility of wisdom teeth surgery, patients at Healthy Smiles of Georgia are also shown a video that explains what to expect during and after the procedure, as well as risks and benefits.
There are several conditions that affect how easy it will be to remove a wisdom tooth. These conditions include how the tooth is positioned and the stage of root development. If the wisdom teeth are impacted the surgery might be more complicated.
Most of the time wisdom teeth can be removed with little or no pain. Patients are given either local anesthesia, intravenous sedation or general anesthesia, depending what type of anesthetic option we recommend for each patient. Depending on the medication selected, you may or may not be able to drive yourself home, and will need someone to drive you to and from the appointment. As for the surgery itself, the length of time is based on the difficulty of extracting the teeth, and if you’re having all four removed.
Wisdom Teeth Recovery
During the first 24 hours:
After having your wisdom teeth removed, the speed of your recovery depends on the difficulty of your extraction, but for most patients, some swelling and bleeding is expected. Patients can take pain medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain, and foods should be restricted to a liquid diet until the numbness from anesthesia has worn off, followed by only soft foods. Be sure to continue to brush your teeth, but avoid the teeth directly next to the extracted tooth during the first 24 hours. Additionally, patients can use an ice pack for the first 24 hours, with 30 minutes on, 30 minutes off as many times as needed.
After 24 hours:
Patients may still have some swelling in the area of the tooth extraction, and can treat the areas with heat after the first 24 hours with ice. Additionally, we recommend a warm saltwater rinse (1/2 teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water) after meals and before bed. Avoid commercial mouth rinses, as the alcohol in these can irritate the extraction site. If your dentist used stitches that are not the self-dissolving kind, they will need to be removed in about a week’s time. Additionally, during recovery, it’s important to watch for signs of dry socket, which requires immediate treatment.
If you’re concerned about getting your wisdom teeth removed or have more questions about the tooth extraction procedure and recovery, we invite you to make an appointment to come in and discuss your concerns with Dr. Jai Thirumalai of Healthy Smiles of Georgia.