At some point in our lives, we must decide to either let our wisdom teeth grow in – which can lead to severe complications – or have them removed.
Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last adult teeth to emerge. When your wisdom teeth become impacted due to overcrowding, this can present a problem. Wisdom teeth can be hard to clean, so they are more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. When erupted partially, the opening around the teeth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection resulting in swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. We can ensure you feel at ease during the procedure and will help to maintain your oral health for years
When Should I Remove Wisdom Teeth?
Many patients report a significant reduction of discomfort in their mouth after having their wisdom teeth pulled, and the process itself is quick and safe. Early removal of your wisdom teeth is recommended to avoid future problems and to decrease the risk involved with the procedure. It is always preferable to remove wisdom teeth when they are not causing an emergent problem. While your wisdom teeth may not be causing you pain now, the risk of decay and infection increases as you age.
Our team of board-certified oral surgeons can ensure your wisdom teeth removal is comfortable, quick, and hassle-free.
To prepare for this type of oral surgery procedure, follow these guidelines:
- For your safety, don’t eat or drink after midnight prior to your surgery. Very serious complications can arise, such as regurgitation and airway obstruction when administering anesthesia on a full stomach.
- You can help avoid unpleasant and unsafe interactions from anesthesia by being honest and upfront about any over-the-counter and prescribed medications you have taken. The same can also be said about any recreational drug use or alcohol use, which can pose other procedural challenges.
- You should not smoke for 12 hours prior to your procedure.
- You will be resting at home for at least a couple of days after your procedure, so prepare the room where you will rest ahead of time.
Make sure to add soft foods to your grocery list for when you return home to rest. These can include soup, mashed potatoes, yogurt, apple sauce, smoothies, and ice cream.
The wisdom tooth extraction procedure:
It’s perfectly normal to be nervous about having your wisdom teeth removed, but you can rest assured our team at Austin Oral Surgery is highly experienced with this procedure. Generally, the steps involved in a wisdom tooth extraction procedure can be outlined as:
- An incision is made in the gum to expose the tooth and bone
- Any bone blocking access to the tooth root will be removed
- The tooth can be divided into sections for easier removal
- The tooth is removed, and the site of the extraction is cleaned
- If necessary, the gum will be sutured closed to promote optimal healing
- Gauze is applied to the extraction site to manage bleeding
Wisdom tooth removal aftercare:
After having your wisdom teeth removed, following your oral surgeon’s aftercare instructions is essential to optimize your recovery process. You may likely experience some swelling and pain, but it’s important not to interrupt the healing process. There are certain activities that can negatively impact the natural formation of blood clotting at the site of the extraction that can lead to a condition called a dry socket, which can be a painful complication caused when nerves are exposed from improper clotting. These are some general tips that will help you heal safely and properly:
- Some bleeding will most likely continue to occur the first day after your procedure. Avoid excessive spitting so you don’t dislodge or disturb the blood clot, and replace gauze as directed by your surgeon.
- Use ice packs to help manage swelling, which should subside after two or three days.
- Take pain medication as directed or prescribed by your oral surgeon to help manage pain.
- Do not consume alcohol, carbonated, caffeinated, or hot beverages within the first 24 hours of your procedure. Don’t drink with a straw, as this can lead to dislodging the blood clot from the extraction site.
- Drink plenty of water after surgery. Eat only soft foods, especially within the first 24 hours after your procedure. Avoid hard, chewy, hot, and spicy foods, as these can irritate the wound. Resume eating semisoft foods once you’re confident you can tolerate them.
- Do not rinse your mouth, use mouthwash, or brush your teeth during the first 24 hours following the procedure. When you do resume brushing your teeth, be very gentle around the extraction site. Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater for up to a week.
- Do not smoke for at least 72 hours after your procedure! Smoking after oral surgery can delay the healing process and lead to serious health risks and complications.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wisdom Teeth Removal
When wisdom teeth emerge in the wrong position they can result in a great deal of discomfort or complications, and possibly the need for extraction. If you are in need of wisdom teeth removal, Austin Oral Surgery is here to answer all of your questions and concerns regarding the procedure.
If you are being sedated for your procedure, you must not eat or drink for 8-12 hours before wisdom teeth removal. If you must drink or take medications, it’s important to only have small sips of water to avoid any complications during your wisdom teeth removal procedure.
If your wisdom teeth do not grow in the correct position, they can prohibit you from properly cleaning and maintaining your teeth. Wisdom teeth can also impact neighboring teeth causing shifting and discomfort. In severe cases, they can cause cysts and benign tumors.
Wisdom teeth are not a direct cause of TMJ but can contribute to the symptoms of TMJ as they put added strain and pressure on the jaw.
It is recommended to avoid smoking for up to 72 hours following a wisdom teeth removal procedure to avoid the risk of developing dry sockets in the removal area. Once you’ve passed the 72-hour period, the risk of dry socket is still possible, however, it’s less likely.
If you have impacted wisdom teeth you may experience symptoms similar to those of TMJ disorder. This means that you may develop jaw popping and aches within your jaw.
The exact timing of wisdom teeth removal will vary depending on the condition of the wisdom teeth. On average, most patients will have their wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 15 to 20. It’s best to have wisdom teeth removed prior to full development to deter complications and risks.
If you have lost several teeth, you should consider dental implants to enjoy all of your favorite foods, restore your appearance and preserve your facial structure.