Extracting a wisdom tooth is a standard oral surgery to remove a problematic wisdom tooth. When a wisdom tooth is impacted or lacks enough space to erupt from the gums, it can cause severe pain, infection, and damage to surrounding teeth and gums. When you consult a dentist with these complications, they may recommend that the tooth be extracted.
Sometimes, a wisdom tooth is removed before it erupts to protect your oral health and prevent potential complications. Wisdom tooth extraction is an invasive dental procedure that must be performed correctly to avoid possible complications like damage to surrounding teeth and infection.
The process of wisdom tooth extraction can be scary for some people. Therefore, you must consult with a skilled dentist. At Washington Dental, we offer safe and reliable dental care services for all our clients in Carson, CA.
An Overview of Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Your wisdom teeth are the third or last molars to grow in the adult teeth set. Wisdom teeth are located at the back of your mouth and can grow between seventeen and twenty-five years old. Not all individuals grow wisdom teeth. Dentists consider wisdom teeth vestigial, and research shows we do not need them.
While our ancestors needed these teeth to chew on and grind tough foods, modern food preparation procedures and utensils have eliminated the need for wisdom teeth. Since the wisdom teeth come through later in life, the other teeth will have settled in the correct positions.
For most people, there is not enough room on the jaw for the wisdom teeth to erupt. Therefore, these teeth could erupt partially or entirely under the jaw. This could cause severe pain and swelling of the gums. As wisdom teeth try to find their way out of the gums, they could cause shifting and danger to surrounding teeth.
For this reason, dentists recommend the removal of these teeth even before they erupt. When a person keeps up with their routine dental visits, their dentist may be able to detect the impacted wisdom teeth in their adolescent years and have them removed. This helps protect the surrounding teeth and saves you from the pain caused when the wisdom teeth erupt.
Reasons for the Extraction of a Wisdom Tooth
Your dentist may recommend extracting a wisdom tooth when you report dental complications or routine checkups. Some of the reasons the tooth may need to be removed include:
- The wisdom tooth is impacted. The wisdom teeth are impacted when they fail to erupt from the gums. The teeth could be partially or completely impacted.
- Crooked wisdom tooth. When there is no space for the wisdom teeth on the jaw, the teeth could erupt sideways. This could cause tooth alignment issues. In this case, the dentist will recommend that the tooth be extracted.
- Gum disease around the molars. Impacted wisdom teeth allow the accumulation of food particles on the gums, which can cause inflammation and periodontal disease.
- Cavities and tooth decay. A poorly erupted wisdom tooth can accommodate food particles and bacteria, which cause cavities in the surrounding teeth.
- Severe toothache and headache. You could experience severe pain when your wisdom teeth exert pressure on your jaws and surrounding teeth.
- Orthodontic complications. Eruption of the wisdom teeth can ruin your smile by distorting the alignment of your teeth. The first step in correcting your smile will be extracting wisdom teeth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
During an initial consultation, the dentist will perform an oral health check and take X-rays to determine the exact location and condition of the wisdom teeth. Your dentist will recommend wisdom tooth extraction if the tooth is painful, impacted, or causes problems for the surrounding teeth and gums.
Before the extraction procedure begins, you must inform your dentist about your underlying dental and medical conditions. This helps determine whether you are a good candidate for the procedure. Wisdom tooth extraction takes the following steps:
The removal of a wisdom tooth is a surgical procedure. Therefore, your dentist will apply anesthesia to reduce pain and discomfort during the procedure. Depending on your comfort level and the complexity of the tooth removal, the dentist could choose from local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, or general anesthesia.
When your gums are numb, the dentist will follow these steps to remove the wisdom teeth:
- Make an incision into the gum to expose the bone and tooth.
- Remove bone fragments that obstruct the tooth.
- Divide the tooth into sections that are easier to remove.
- Remove the wisdom tooth.
- Clean out the extraction site.
- Stitch the wound and place gauze on the area to control bleeding.
After-Care Instructions for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The extraction of a wisdom tooth is an invasive dental procedure. While you can go home immediately after the procedure, you cannot resume your normal activities until the anesthesia wears off. Your dentist will give you aftercare instructions that you must follow to ensure a quick recovery and minimize the risk of complications. Care tips after a wisdom tooth extraction include:
Avoid Touching the Area
Since tooth extraction is a surgical procedure, you will be left with an open wound in the area where the tooth was removed. Although the wisdom tooth extraction site could feel swollen or painful, you should not be tempted to touch it. Contact with the area can introduce bacteria that cause infections and other dental complications.
Slight bleeding after an invasive dental procedure is normal. However, if there was a surgical complication, the bleeding could be more than normal. You can control excessive bleeding after extracting a wisdom tooth by biting clean gauze for up to thirty minutes. You could bite a moistened tea bag if the bleeding does not stop. The tannic acid in the tea is a clotting agent and can reduce bleeding by contracting the blood vessels.
Pain is a common result of tooth extraction. Although the procedure may not be painful due to anesthesia, the pain could kick in after the anesthesia wears off. Your dentist may recommend pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. Prescription medication will benefit you if you lose a bone during the procedure. In addition to taking medication, you can place an ice pack against the jaw to reduce inflammation.
The severity of the wisdom tooth removal procedure varies depending on the condition of your tooth and the number of teeth you want to be removed. The procedure may be complicated if the wisdom tooth is impacted or you need multiple extractions. The removal of a wisdom tooth is a surgical procedure that requires the application of different types of anesthesia. This could make you feel tired and sleepy.
You should give your body time to rest after the procedure by avoiding strenuous activity. Conducting vigorous exercise immediately after the procedure could interrupt healing and cause a dry socket. Dentists recommend that you rest for the first twenty-four hours of the procedure.
The duration you need to wait before returning to your regular physical activity routine will vary depending on the location of the surgical site. For upper jaw wisdom teeth, you can resume activity within five days. Extracting a wisdom tooth on the lower jaw is more complicated and will take up to ten days to recover.
Your diet after wisdom tooth removal could impact the procedure's healing process and success. While you heal from this invasive procedure, your dentist will recommend soft foods rich in vitamins. This will help:
- Avoid dislodging the natural clots. Hard foods after wisdom tooth removal can cause injury to the surgical site and dislodge the natural clots from the socket.
- Prevent foods from entering the tooth extraction site. Wisdom teeth are more prominent than other teeth. Therefore, an extraction could leave a large, empty socket. Eating hard and sticky foods could result in the accumulation of food particles at the surgical site. These food particles will attract bacteria that cause infection at the extraction site and other dental complications.
- Prevent complications. Eating hard foods after the procedure could delay healing and cause other oral health complications.
- Offer nourishment. Eating healthy foods rich in vitamins after oral surgery can provide the nutrition you need for healing.
Some of the recommended foods after wisdom tooth removal surgery include:
- Blended soup. Soups do not require energy to chew and cannot get stuck in the empty socket. Additionally, soups are naturally rich in much-needed nutrients.
- Mashed potatoes. Potatoes can be prepared in many ways for a nutritious meal. You can ingest the rich-calorie meal without worrying about your extracted wisdom tooth.
- Taking smoothies after your procedure is a great way to stack up nutrients while gently brushing your tooth extraction site. You should avoid including fruits with seeds in your smoothie. This is because these seeds could enter the extraction site and cause infection.
Your dentist will recommend that you avoid the following foods after wisdom tooth extraction:
- Spicy foods. Spicy and salty foods could irritate the wisdom tooth extraction site.
- Crunchy foods. Crunchy snacks like cookies and chips could enter the extraction site and cause infection.
- Hard foods. Chewing on hard foods can cause injury and bleeding at the extraction site. In addition to avoiding hard foods, you must refrain from using your teeth as tools.
- Alcohol. After removing your wisdom tooth, you must avoid alcoholic drinks until healed. Alcohol can irritate the surgical site and interact with some prescribed medications.
The removal of a wisdom tooth helps prevent various dental complications. However, you must still care for your remaining teeth and maintain good oral hygiene. You should avoid brushing your teeth within the first few hours of the surgery. Instead, you can rinse your mouth with salty water.
When you resume brushing, you must avoid scratching the surgical site. This could be achieved by using a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing gently. Additionally, you can use an antiseptic mouthwash to prevent bacteria accumulation at the surgical site.
The extraction of a wisdom tooth is an invasive procedure. Depending on the state of your tooth, your dentist may need to stitch up the area. This helps prevent excessive bleeding and reduce exposure to the bone. The stitches may be removed or dissolved within a week of the procedure.
Caring for your stitches will help prevent infections and speed up your recovery. You should not be concerned with stitches poking out or feeling loose unless you experience severe pain or other signs of infection after the procedure.
Swelling around your mouth, cheeks, eyes, and lips is a common reaction for the body after wisdom tooth extraction. The severity of the bruising varies depending on the extent of the surgery. Swelling may not be immediate and can continue for several days after surgery. You can minimize the swelling by applying ice packs to your face and jaw. You should leave the ice pack on continuously while you are awake.
Your oral hygiene and lifestyle choices could affect the recovery rate after wisdom tooth removal. Your dentist will discourage you from smoking after the procedure. Tobacco products delay the healing process and increase the risk of dry sockets, a common complication after the procedure. Smoking before the anesthesia wears off can also cause the burning of your oral tissues.
Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Not all individuals will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. However, if the teeth are problematic or your dentist foresees a potential complication, they may recommend an extraction. The following are the benefits of wisdom tooth extraction:
Fewer Orthodontic Complications
Wisdom teeth erupt when other teeth in the adult set have settled into their positions. Therefore, they may need more space. If the wisdom teeth manage to erupt, they could cause overcrowding. Overcrowded teeth are more challenging to clean, and food particles may be stuck between them, causing tooth decay and cavities.
In addition to overcrowding, the wisdom teeth could push other teeth out of their position, causing alignment problems. Misaligned teeth can distort your smile and affect your self-esteem. This will require braces or other dental procedures to realign the teeth. Removing the wisdom teeth before they erupt could help you avoid these orthodontic complications.
Protect Neighboring teeth
Wisdom teeth exert pressure on adjacent teeth, squeezing them out of the gums. This could weaken and damage the roots of surrounding teeth. Root damage could expose the teeth to cavities and bone loss. Additionally, wisdom teeth are more difficult to reach and clean.
When food particles are stuck between the wisdom teeth and the neighboring molar, the likelihood of tooth decay increases. Extracting wisdom teeth could help protect other teeth from these complications and spare you the need for expensive dental procedures to correct dental issues.
Prevent Orofacial Pain
Impacted wisdom teeth cause severe pain and pressure on the gums and jaw. You can relieve the pain by having the problematic tooth extracted. If, in your dental checkups, the dentist discovers that your wisdom tooth could cause problems, they could recommend that you have the tooth extracted before it erupts. The outcome of extracting this tooth is reduced complications and no dental pain.
Reduced Risk of Periodontal Gum Disease
Wisdom teeth cause overcrowding in the mouth. Maintaining good oral hygiene can be challenging with crowded teeth. This will cause the accumulation of food particles on the gums and between teeth. When left on the teeth for a long time, the food particles attract bacteria, which cause infection of the gums and periodontal disease.
Complications Associated with the Extraction of a Wisdom Tooth
Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure that could save you from severe dental issues. Although most procedures for removing wisdom teeth are successful, complications could arise during or after the procedure. You can minimize the risk of complications by seeking expert dental services and following the dentist’s aftercare instructions. Some of the complications associated with wisdom tooth extraction include:
Severe Pain and Swelling
The dentist will apply anesthesia before extracting the wisdom tooth to prevent pain. However, you may experience some pain and swelling when the anesthesia wears off. Pain should subside within forty-eight hours with pain-relieving medications prescribed by your dentist. If the pain does not disappear after a few days, you may need to return to the dentist for further assessment.
Injury to the trigeminal nerve is another complication that could arise after the extraction of wisdom teeth. Damage to this nerve lasts several weeks and could numb your lips, gums, and tongue. However, there are cases where the nerve damage is permanent. This could interfere with your normal activities, like eating and talking.
Your dentist will notify you of this risk before the procedure. This allows you to proceed with the procedure or stop removing a problematic wisdom tooth. Consulting an experienced dentist ensures you receive top-notch dental care with a minimized risk of nerve injury.
The dry socket is the most common complication associated with removing wisdom teeth. This condition occurs when a blood clot fails to form in the socket or is dislodged. This happens within three to five days after the wisdom tooth removal surgery.
The empty socket could cause throbbing pain in your jaw and gums. Additionally, you could experience a foul smell and a sour taste. The risk of a dry socket increases under the following circumstances:
- Continued smoking after wisdom tooth extraction.
- You are over twenty-five years old.
- Your wisdom tooth extraction surgery was complicated.
- You fail to follow the dentist’s aftercare instructions.
Limited Mouth Opening
Extracting a wisdom tooth is a surgical procedure that could temporarily prevent you from opening your mouth. This condition is common in patients between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. To solve the issue, the dentist could recommend using jaw-opening devices, muscle relaxants, and heat therapy.
One of the major concerns during the removal of an impacted wisdom tooth is interference with sinus communication. Since the upper wisdom teeth are near your sinus, their extraction could create an opening between the sinus and socket. Your dentist may recommend the early removal of a wisdom tooth to avoid root formation and minimize the risk of this complication.
A competent dentist will always use a sterilized tooth and take the necessary measures to avoid infection at your wisdom tooth extraction site. However, an infection could develop in individuals with weak immunity or underlying conditions. Some of the signs of infection that you should look out for include:
- Difficulty swallowing food and breathing.
- Swelling and redness of the gums around the tooth extraction site.
- Excessive bleeding from the surgical site.
- Pus oozing from the socket.
- Bad breath and taste a few days after the procedure.
Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics after the removal of a wisdom tooth. If you experience any of these symptoms of infection, you must seek emergency care.
The removal of a wisdom tooth is a surgical procedure that requires anesthesia. Allergies to anesthesia may vary between patients and be mild, moderate, or severe. Common symptoms of anesthesia reactions include:
- Skin rash.
- Swelling of the tongue, mouth, and lips.
If you are allergic to anesthesia or other drugs, you must notify your dentist before the procedure.
Find a Skilled General Dentist Near Me
Wisdom teeth are the last molars that grow at the back of your mouth. Sometimes, the wisdom teeth lack enough space to erupt from the gums correctly, causing them to be impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth cause dental issues, including toothache, gingivitis, and, sometimes, damage to the surrounding teeth. For this reason, they may need extraction.
Debris considers wisdom tooth removal a minor oral procedure that requires up to two weeks to recover. However, the procedure's outcome will vary greatly depending on the condition of the extracted tooth. A more invasive procedure may be necessary when the wisdom tooth is impacted. After extracting a wisdom tooth, the dentist will offer some aftercare tips and instructions.
Following these instructions will help speed up the healing process and avoid complications. Practices like consuming hard foods, poor oral hygiene, and smoking could result in severe complications like dry sockets or infections. You will benefit from our expert dental services at Washington Dental if you need a wisdom tooth extraction in Carson, CA. Contact us today at 310-217-1507 for a consultation.