Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to emerge in the back of the mouth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. While some people may not have any problems with their wisdom teeth, others may experience pain, infection, and other issues that require them to be removed. In this post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about wisdom teeth removal, including what wisdom teeth are, why they need to be removed, how to know if they need to be removed, the procedure itself, types of anesthesia used, recovery time, potential complications, and more.
What are wisdom teeth and why do they need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge in the back of the mouth. They can cause problems because they often don’t have enough room to grow in properly, which can lead to a number of issues. For example, wisdom teeth may become impacted, meaning they are unable to emerge from the gum line, which can cause pain, infection, and damage to adjacent teeth. In some cases, wisdom teeth can even lead to the development of cysts or tumors.
How do I know if my wisdom teeth need to be removed?
If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort in the back of your mouth, or if you notice swelling or redness, you should see a dentist or oral surgeon to determine if your wisdom teeth need to be removed. Your dentist will examine your teeth and take x-rays to assess the position of your wisdom teeth and the surrounding teeth. They may recommend removing your wisdom teeth even if you’re not currently experiencing any symptoms, as a preventive measure.
What happens during a wisdom teeth removal procedure?
Before the procedure, your dentist or oral surgeon will administer anesthesia to ensure that you don’t feel any pain or discomfort during the procedure. The procedure itself involves making incisions in the gum tissue to access the wisdom teeth, which may need to be sectioned or removed in pieces to make the extraction easier. Once the teeth have been removed, the incisions are closed with stitches, which will dissolve over time.
What are the different types of anesthesia used during wisdom teeth removal?
There are several types of anesthesia that can be used during wisdom teeth removal, including local anesthesia, nitrous oxide, oral sedation, and general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is the most common option and involves numbing only the area around the wisdom teeth. Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a mild sedative that can help you feel relaxed during the procedure. Oral sedation involves taking medication before the procedure to help you feel more relaxed, while general anesthesia puts you to sleep during the procedure.
How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?
Recovery time after wisdom teeth removal varies depending on the individual and the complexity of the procedure. In general, it takes about a week to fully recover. During this time, you’ll need to follow post-operative instructions carefully, including resting, avoiding smoking and drinking through a straw, eating soft foods, and keeping the extraction site clean.
What are the common complications of wisdom teeth removal?
Like any surgical procedure, wisdom teeth removal can have potential complications. These may include bleeding, infection, dry socket, nerve damage, and damage to adjacent teeth or restorations. While these complications are rare, it’s important to be aware of them and to contact your dentist or oral surgeon if you experience any symptoms.
Can wisdom teeth grow back after being removed?
No, once wisdom teeth are removed, they do not grow back. However, in rare cases, a small piece of tooth or root may be left behind and continue to grow. If this occurs, your dentist or oral surgeon may need to remove the remaining fragment.
What Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
After wisdom teeth removal, it’s important to stick to a soft and easy-to-chew diet to avoid irritating the extraction site. Here are some food options to consider during your recovery:
- Soups: Creamy soups such as tomato, butternut squash, and cream of mushroom are a great option.
- Mashed Potatoes: You can make mashed potatoes with butter or gravy for added flavor.
- Smoothies: Smoothies made with yogurt, milk, or nut milk, and fresh or frozen fruit are an excellent option. It should be noted that you should avoid using a straw and use a spoon to eat your smoothie.
- Applesauce: Applesauce is a great source of nutrients, and its texture is perfect for recovery.
- Scrambled Eggs: Soft scrambled eggs are a good source of protein and easy to eat.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is easy to swallow, and it contains healthy bacteria that promote good gut health.
- Pudding: Pudding is a tasty option, and it’s easy to swallow without chewing.
- Ice cream: Cold and creamy, ice cream can help soothe soreness and reduce inflammation.
Avoid eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods such as nuts, chips, popcorn, and candy as these can cause irritation, bleeding, and pain.
How Do I Manage Pain and Swelling After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Pain and swelling are normal after wisdom teeth removal. Here are some ways to manage these symptoms:
- Take Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, acetaminophen, and aspirin can help reduce pain and swelling.
- Apply Ice Packs: Applying ice packs to the cheeks can help reduce swelling.
- Rest: Resting and avoiding physical activities can help reduce swelling and promote healing.
- Rinse Your Mouth: Rinsing your mouth gently with warm salt water can help reduce swelling and promote healing.
- Follow Aftercare Instructions: Follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist, including avoiding smoking and using a straw.
When Can I Return to Normal Activities After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
The recovery time after wisdom teeth removal varies from person to person. Here are some general guidelines:
- Activity Level: You should rest for the first 24-48 hours after surgery, and gradually increase your activity level as you feel comfortable.
- Driving: You should avoid driving for the first 24 hours after surgery.
- Work/School: You may need to take a few days off from work or school depending on the extent of the procedure and your recovery.
- Exercise: Avoid strenuous exercise for at least a week after surgery.
- Follow-Up Appointment: Attend your follow-up appointment with your dentist to ensure proper healing.
It’s essential to listen to your body and not push yourself too hard during the recovery period. Contact your dentist if you experience excessive pain, bleeding, or swelling after the surgery.
In conclusion, at Viva Dental Wellness, we understand that wisdom teeth removal can be a daunting experience, but our team is here to make the process as comfortable and stress-free as possible. If you are experiencing pain or other issues with your wisdom teeth in South Edmonton, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with us to discuss your options. Trust us to provide you with the best possible care for your dental health.