All About Wisdom Tooth Removal
Getting your wisdom teeth removed at the end of your teens or early twenties almost seems like a rite of passage. Virtually everyone gets to the point where they need to be taken out to retain the health of your mouth. Some wisdom teeth come in perfectly and with plenty of room to spare, but that is the exception and not the rule. If you are to the point where you want or need to have your wisdom teeth removed, call us here at Canyon Oral & Facial Surgery. We can help with wisdom teeth removal and other dental needs.
Overview of Wisdom Tooth RemovalTypically, an oral surgeon is who will remove wisdom teeth. This is because they are at a higher risk of complication and impaction than most other teeth in your mouth. That is why we tell you to come to us for the consultation. We can perform the extraction in our office, or we can also coordinate your care with a local hospital if you are at higher risk for possible complications. We can set up extraction for one or two of your wisdom teeth, or we can set up a time to extract all of them simultaneously.
If you are sick with any infection, we typically postpone the surgery until the infection is gone to reduce the chances of obtaining an additional type of an infection during the healing process. We may ask you to take some antibiotics to hasten the healing process so that we can get your wisdom teeth out sooner rather than later, especially if they are worrisome or causing you pain.
The Extraction Procedure for Wisdom TeethBefore removing any tooth, we numb the area with a local anesthetic. We may also use a general anesthetic, especially if we are going to be taking out all of your wisdom teeth as part of the same procedure. By using a general anesthetic, you won't feel any pain in your body because you will be sleeping through the procedure. It is likely that we will request no drinking or eat starting at midnight the night before the procedure, so you can be fully prepared for administering the anesthetic.
We begin the procedure by opening your gum tissue that covers the tooth we will be taking out. We then remove any bone that covers the tooth. Next, we will separate any tissue that connects your tooth to the remaining bone, then remove the tooth from its socket. Occasionally we will have to cut your tooth into smaller pieces to make the process of removal a bit easier.
Once your tooth is extracted, you may need a few stitches. We can use stitches that dissolve on their own over the course of a few days, or we can use stitches that will require removal in our office in a few days. We will let you know which type of stitches we used when you wake up after your procedure. After the stitches are put in, we will place a folded gauze pad on top of the wound to help reduce and stop your bleeding while we work on the remaining teeth.
Expectations for After Wisdom Tooth SurgeryTypically, the time for you to recover is just going to be a few days. Take the painkillers we prescribe or tell you that you should be taking, on the schedule we tell you to take them on. That way, you can keep the discomfort down and your comfort optimized for the next couple of days. These tips can help hasten your recovery, and help you get back on your feet sooner.
Bite down on your gauze pad now and again, changing them out as they become blood-soaked. Give our office a call should you continue to have excessive bleeding more than 24 hours following your surgery.
When your mouth is still numb, you need to take care to not bite your tongue, your lips, or the inside of your cheeks. This can cause a lot of damage since you cannot feel anything you are doing.
Stay propped up. Lying flat can prolong your bleeding, and should be avoided. For the first 2-3 days, you want to rest and sleep propped up at about a 45-degree angle.
Use ice packs on your cheek during the first 24 hours, putting on for 15 minutes, then off for 15 minutes, to help keep swelling down. After the first 24 hours, you should opt for moist heat, like a warm, damp washcloth. This should be what you use for the following 2-3 days.
Stay relaxed after your procedure. Physical activity often increases bleeding and swelling and can increase your pain.
Go with a soft diet for the first day or two, then gradually add in more solid options as you feel up to it. Foods like gelatin, soup, yogurt, and pudding are ideal for the first couple of days.
Straws should be avoided during the first few days following your surgery. Straws cause you to suck to get the beverage to your mouth, which can cause the blood clot to become loose and delay your ability to heal.
After the first 24 hours, you need to rinse your mouth gently with salt water that's lukewarm, 3-4 times per day. This reduces swelling, relieves pain, and helps prevent infection. Making your salt water solution is easy. Combine 8 ounces of warm water with 1 teaspoon of salt, and stir. Just make sure to be gentle when you rinse so as not to disturb the blood clot.
Avoid smoking for at least 24 hours, ideally longer. Sucking, just like with straws, can pull the clot loose and delay your mouth's ability to heal. Smoking can also decrease your mouth's blood supply plus pull germs into the surgical area.
Don't touch your tongue or fingers to the surgical area, as both could introduce bacteria and germs.
Keep brushing and flossing like normal, being careful not to disturb the surgical area. Proper oral hygiene after surgery is important, so you do not struggle with infections.
Why remove wisdom teeth?Wisdom teeth are removed for one of two reasons: either one, to fix a problem that is there, or two, to prevent a problem that is likely to come up down the line. Some of the more common issues people face with wisdom teeth include:
Benefits of Wisdom Tooth RemovalTypically, removing your wisdom teeth can be an effective solution to a wide variety of problems. This can include crowding of the other teeth in your mouth, impaction, tooth decay of the wisdom tooth or surrounding teeth, and even gum disease. When you remove the wisdom tooth, it can allow the rest of your mouth to shift into a more natural position, and even help slightly straighten teeth that were otherwise compressed for space in your mouth.
Risks of Getting Your Wisdom Teeth ExtractedJust like with any oral surgery, there are risks. However, they are often far and few between due to how diligent we are here at Canyon Oral & Facial Surgery. Expect that some of these can accompany the extraction of your wisdom teeth.
On very rare occasions, your surgery may introduce a few bacteria into your bloodstream. This can lead to an infection in other parts of your body. If you already have a hard time fighting off even a simple infection, you may be required to take antibiotics before having the surgery, and afterward as well. People who were born with some specific heart defects, or have already gotten artificial heart valves, are likely going to need the extra antibiotics.
Some people are also going to struggle with the anesthesia. Since we use it with nearly all extraction procedures, including wisdom teeth, you need to let us know if you have ever struggled under anesthesia in the past so we can make sure to have the proper monitoring equipment in place.
Making the Choice to Have Your Wisdom Teeth RemovedFor those who are not struggling with their wisdom teeth currently, this can be a hard choice to make. However, you may want to consider a few things before dismissing the oral surgery. While you may not be undergoing any problems now, there is no way to guarantee that you won't down the line. Only a lucky few can go about their entire life without having any struggle with their wisdom teeth. It is often more risky to keep your wisdom teeth than it is to have them removed. Younger people can go through the surgery with fewer side effects than older individuals. That is because the tooth's roots still have yet to complete their formation, plus the bone is less dense, making removal of the tooth easier. The easier the removal, the less recovery time will be required as well.
The vast majority of people experience problems between 15 and 25 years of age. Beyond 30 years old, the risks of developing a problem with your wisdom teeth are slim. Beyond 30, there are almost no reasons to have your wisdom teeth removed as long as they are still healthy and have not fallen victim to tooth decay.
If you want to know if you should have your wisdom teeth removed, or simply want to know more about the process, call our offices. We will gladly sit down and talk with you about what would happen, and if your mouth would benefit from the procedure. We can show you the direction of your wisdom teeth through films and x-rays, and show you the benefits that you may receive after the process has been completed. Our experienced oral surgeons can go over the risks and benefits of having the procedure done and can give you their professional opinion on what is best for your specific situation. Not everyone will get the same benefits from having their wisdom teeth extracted, but if you are one that would be better off with the procedure, we will show you how. Call us today and let us help you decide what will keep your mouth healthiest. Centennial Hills: (702) 660-5574, Summerlin: (702) 660-5576