Wisdom teeth extraction can be considered a minor surgery and it is usually done in a dental surgeon’s office. Only in extreme cases where a person is at high risk of developing complications would it be done in a hospital. If you had an infection, the dentist will wait until the infection is cleared up before they are extracted.
What is involved in wisdom teeth extraction?
The dentist will give you a local anesthetic before he begins removal of wisdom teeth. If you have to have more than one wisdom tooth removed, you will probably be given general anesthetic. A general anesthetic will keep you from feeling any pain and you’ll sleep through the entire procedure. It might be suggested that you not eat anything the night before after midnight, because it can cause an upset stomach.
In order to remove the wisdom tooth, or teeth, the dentist will have to open the gum over the tooth and remove any bone covering the tooth. Once the wisdom tooth is exposed, the dentist can remove it; but sometimes he has to cut the tooth into smaller pieces in order to remove it easier. Once the tooth or teeth are removed, the dentist may have to stitch the opening closed with a few sutures. Most of the types of sutures used today will gradually dissolve in a few days. If they need to be removed, then the dentist will tell you when to come back for them to be removed. They will place a piece of cotton gauze over the wound to help the bleeding stop.
What should be expected following wisdom teeth surgery?
Most of the time, it will just take a few days to recover fully. Your dentist will probably prescribe some painkillers to take for the first day or so following surgery. Some other tips include:
- Change out the gauze pad with a fresh one as it becomes soaked with blood. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours after the surgery, contact your dentist or oral surgeon.
- Be careful to not bite the inside of your cheek or tongue while your mouth is still numb.
- To help stop the bleeding, keep your head propped up.
- Don’t use a straw for a few days following the procedure as the sucking motion can loosen blood clots and make healing take longer.
- Eat soft foods for a day or two and slowly add in solid foods as you start to feel better and the healing progresses.
- Once the initial 24 hours is over, rinse your mouth out with warm salt water. This will help reduce swelling and alleviate some of the pain.
- No smoking for at least 24 hours following the surgery. Smoking will decrease the blood flow to the area and also contaminate it and increase the risk of infection.
- Try to refrain from rubbing your tongue over the area or from touching it with your fingers.
- Continue good oral hygiene as the area heals.
Make sure to follow any specific directions your dentist might give you and return as directed to have stitches removed.