A wisdom tooth can be extracted (removed) by an oral surgeon or your family dentist. This can be done at the dental professional's facility and the surgery itself is usually done in a single visit, with aftercare being minimal in nature. If you are having all your wisdom teeth extracted or of you are at a high risk for complications (your dentist will determine that) then you may have your surgery performed at a hospital. If you do have prior infections, surgery will probably be delayed until the infection itself is cleared up. If this is the case, your doctor will have you take antibiotics to heal these complicating factors.
Your dentist will administer local anesthetic before removing a wisdom tooth. If several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time, a general anesthetic will be used to prevent pain in the entire body. This will cause you to sleep throughout the procedure. It is generally recommended that you do not eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery, so that the anesthetic can be administered properly.
During the procedure, your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering it, to remove the wisdom tooth. You may need stitches, after the tooth is removed. In most cases, stitches dissolve over time. Some stitches do not dissolve; however, and will need to be removed after a few days but this technique is used less often. Cotton gauze pad is generally used to stop any bleeding from the surgery.
What to Expect After Surgery:
Recovery usually only requires a few days. Here are some tips that will help speed up your recovery:
• Take pain killers prescribed by your dentist only as needed.
• Change gauze pads as they become soaked with blood and bite GENTLY on them to absorb blood.
• Avoid lying flat, this may prolong bleeding. Try to prop your head up with pillows, if required.
• Avoid physical activity as this promotes faster blood flow to the injured area.
• Soft foods are generally recommended to alleviate stress to the surgery site.
• Using a straw can loosen the blood clotting process so do not use a straw while recovering.
• Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. This is a generally recommended procedure after the first day.
• The sucking motion of smoking can loosen the clot and delay healing. Avoid this for 24 hours.
Why Wisdom Teeth Are Extracted:
• The teeth may be too large for the jaw bone that they are growing out of. As a result, your teeth might become impacted, which means that they cannot properly grow in a normal healthy fashion where they fully break through from under the gum line.
• A flap of gum tissue may grow over the teeth that only partially break through the gum line. Food and germs can then get trapped under this flap, which can be a cause of infection.
• One or more of the wisdom teeth can grow in at the wrong angle which then creates crowding of the other, more-healthy teeth. Removal is necessary to preserve the healthy teeth.
In many cases, wisdom tooth extraction is a necessary procedure for healthy dental development. Regular dental check-ups and meetings with your dentist can determine whether you are a candidate for a wisdom tooth extraction. Your dentist will be able to recommend what is right for you.