If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, don’t worry, this is a common procedure done today. Your wisdom teeth, or third molars, aren’t necessary for a healthy mouth, and are pulled just like any other tooth if they have erupted–meaning they have emerged through the gums. If the tooth has not erupted and is still hidden beneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone, a small incision will be made in the gum tissue and a part of the bone covering the tooth will be removed. To reduce the amount of bone to be removed, this may be done by extracting small pieces at a time.
This procedure is relatively painless, by using a local anesthetic, numbing the area just like any other tooth removal. You may be sedated to relieve anxiety by using laughing gas (nitrous oxide), oral sedation, or IV injection into the veins. To extract all four wisdom teeth, you will likely receive a general anesthetic allowing you to sleep through the procedure and feel no pain.
24 Hours after the Extraction:
Bleeding: While the injection site is clotting after the extraction, you will likely experience bleeding. You will want to put pressure over the extraction area with a piece of clean, moist gauze and biting down firmly. Avoid rinsing or spitting first 24 hours to keep from removing the clot.
Swelling: There will likely be swelling in the facial area after the surgery so use an ice pack to relieve it. Apply the pack–10 minutes on, 20 minutes off–during the first 24 hours after the surgery. After 24 hours, you will want to switch to heat, placing a damp, warm towel–20 minutes on, 20 minutes off–as required.
Pain: To relieve minor pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen will be helpful. You may also be prescribed stronger pain medication if needed. If you have an infection around the tooth you will also be prescribed antibiotics.
Diet: You will want to consume a liquid diet (lukewarm soups or smoothies) for the first 24 hours until the numbness has worn off, and a soft food diet for a few days afterward, such as pasta, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, (lukewarm) soups, etc.
Brushing: Gently brush your teeth during the first 24 hours, avoiding any teeth near the extraction site.
Rinsing: 24 hours after the surgery you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals and before sleep. Avoid over-the-counter mouth rinses as they can irritate the socket.
Stitches: Stitches may need to be removed after a week if they are not the self-dissolving kind.
You should start to feel more comfortable around the extraction site after a couple of weeks. If you have any questions or need to be seen, please contact our Smiles Dental team at 503.877.1844!