What to Expect From Wisdom Teeth Removal
As people age, the final set of molars begin to form inside the mouth, which are known as wisdom teeth. These four teeth tend to appear in most young adults in their teenage years or early 20s and consist of two upper back teeth and two lower back teeth. In many cases, the wisdom teeth can grow to be so prominent that they can crowd the other teeth in the mouth, resulting in them needing to be removed. Most people get their wisdom teeth removed when they start to cause pain or the dentist decides that they should be pulled to remove any risk of negative effects on the other teeth or the jawbone. A surgical procedure must be performed in order to properly and safely remove the wisdom teeth so they do not cause any more issues.
The Removal Process
If you’re having your wisdom teeth removed, the dentist will first perform an X-ray of your mouth to see exactly how the teeth are growing and how large they are. This helps the dentist get a better view of your wisdom teeth and how they’re growing as well as exactly where they are located. They will then administer a local anesthetic to your gums and the area near your wisdom teeth to numb it. In many cases, you may also have nitrous oxide given to you to help keep you calm, or you can be completely sedated with intravenous medication. This medication will put you completely to sleep so you won’t feel anything and will not know what is happening when the procedure is taking place. Most forms of sedation are completely up to the patient, so be sure to talk to your dentist or oral surgeon about your options beforehand. Your dentist will cut through all of the surrounding tissue and bone around the wisdom teeth and then surgically remove them from your mouth. It’s a very similar process to having other teeth pulled, but the wisdom teeth grow directly out of the jawbone so it can be more intensive and more painful than a standard tooth extraction. After the dentist removes the wisdom teeth, they will thoroughly clean the socket and then stitch up the wounds so that the gums can heal.
The Recovery Process
After your wisdom tooth extraction, the dentist will give you gauze to put in your mouth to help the sockets form a clot and promote healing. You can expect to see or taste a little bit of blood for a few days as your mouth heals. This should ease up after the first 24 hours to two days. If you’re still bleeding or feel intense pain after a few days, it’s recommended that you call your dentist so they can examine the area and ensure that it isn’t infected. You will be given a prescription for antibiotics and pain medication so that your body can fight off any infection during the healing process and so you can recover pain-free. You should not smoke or drink anything through a straw after having your wisdom teeth removed. Smoking or using a straw can cause dry sockets, which are extremely painful and dangerous. Dry sockets occur when the area of your mouth is unable to form a blood clot and heal, so be sure to follow your dentist’s advice carefully. You will probably only be able to eat soft, cold foods like yogurt, pudding, and ice cream for a day or two after the surgery. Try not to chew near the wisdom tooth area until your mouth has completely healed. Get as much rest as possible, and avoid heavy exercise for at least three to four days. The average recovery time after having your wisdom teeth removed is approximately five to seven days. Keep your mouth clean, but avoid brushing the area with a toothbrush so you don’t disturb the stitches. Once you’ve healed, you should be able to return to eating and drinking normally without any pain or inflammation.
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