As per anthropologists, wisdom teeth served our ancestors the purpose of chewing hard items like raw meat, roots, and nuts that were part of their diet. Because of human evolution, these teeth are no longer necessary and have outlived their purpose due to the availability of softer food and modern tools that make eating easier. They are located at the very back of your mouth and are the last set of teeth to grow in.
Though some wisdom teeth grow without causing any trouble, some are problematic. Sometimes, they may come through at an angle, pushing into the tooth or gum near them. This is known as impaction, which can be quite painful, cause difficulty opening the mouth and chewing, and lead to an infection.
Similarly, crowded wisdom teeth can lean sideways, brushing against the cheek to cause painful ulcers and difficulties in chewing.
Dealing with pain due to a troublesome wisdom tooth can be challenging. You are not alone in facing such a problem. Many face discomfort, pain, and anxiety due to their wisdom teeth, and it is commonly experienced by most people at least once in their lives.
The perfect solution for solving this dilemma and easing your suffering is wisdom tooth extraction. In this article, we will guide you on planning for your wisdom tooth removal, explain the whole process, and show how you can recover smoothly to good health.
When do you need wisdom tooth removal?
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Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure for preserving your oral health and preventing other teeth from possible issues in the future. Sometimes, dentists recommend wisdom tooth removal even if you have no symptoms if your tooth looks like it can cause problems in the future. This is to reduce your risk for infections or tooth issues later.
Doctors may suggest wisdom tooth removal if you:
- Develop gum disease, especially around your molars
- Experience pain at the back of your mouth
- Find that your food or debris gets trapped around your wisdom teeth
- Have developed cavities around a partially-erupted wisdom tooth
- Have partially or fully trapped wisdom teeth in your gums or jawbone
- Have a crookedly-developed wisdom tooth
- Develop a cyst around your wisdom tooth
Step-by-step guide for wisdom tooth removal
Before the procedure, you will need to plan for recovery, aftercare, transportation, support and clear doubts about the process.
Step 1: Making Time For The Procedure
Contact your employer or your school or college to request to book time off for your procedure. Your dentist will help you plan how many days off you need based on the number of teeth to be removed, the type of anaesthesia to be used, and other needs.
Generally, you may need 1 to 3 days off. But if your job is physically demanding, you may need more days to recover.
Step 2: Arrange Transportation and Support
You need to arrange transportation to take you home, as most people go home the same day after the procedure. You also need to arrange for someone to accompany and support you for 24 hours following the surgery.
Plan for appropriate post-procedure food based on the list of acceptable foods your surgeon will provide.
Step 3: Discuss Your Concerns With The Oral Surgeon
Understanding the whole process of wisdom tooth extraction correctly is crucial. Know the type of anaesthesia used during the procedure, whether general anaesthesia, IV sedation, or nitrous oxide, and understand the recovery process.
During your consultation, ask questions and clear your doubts about the procedure. Know what you should do in the days leading up to the surgery. Inform your surgeon of any medications you are taking and understand if you need to stop them before the surgery.
What happens during and after the wisdom tooth removal process?
Usually, wisdom tooth removal takes around 40 to 90 minutes. If you are getting both wisdom teeth removed, it may take an hour. In complicated cases, where wisdom teeth are in a difficult position, it may take longer than an hour. But that shouldn’t be of any concern to you.
After administering anaesthesia, surgeons make incisions in your gums to expose the tooth, and then after loosening the tooth, they lift it out of the socket. If needed, they stitch the area to close the site.
You may experience any of the following during this period, and you needn’t panic:
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- Swollen mouth and cheeks
- Mild bruising that may be visible on your cheek
- The jaw may be sore and stiff
- Pain, which varies as per the difficulty of the extraction
- An unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Tingling or numbness around your face, tongue or lips
- Difficulty to talk and swallow food
Self-care tips after the procedure
Following these tips will pave the way to a smooth recovery after your wisdom tooth extraction:
- Keep a gauze at the surgery site for 30 minutes till your surgeon tells you to remove it.
- Use an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash to gently soak the surgical areas and keep them clean.
- Place an ice pack for 20 minutes if need be.
- Brush and floss the rest of your other healthy teeth every day.
- Take your prescribed medicines on time.
- Eat soft foods or ice cream only after the surgery.
Avoid doing these after the tooth removal procedure:
By taking care to avoid the following, you can speed up the recovery process and reduce pain:
- Doing a strenuous activity like weight lifting and exercise for a few days
- Drinking through a straw as it dislodges blood clots and causes dry sockets
- Sipping carbonated beverages or drinks that contain alcohol
- Eating chewy, crunchy, or hard foods like pizza, burgers, candies etc
- Drinking very warm or very cold liquids
Recovery to normal health
It may take around a week to fully recover after the procedure. The level of postoperative pain is different for everyone. Some people may experience more pain and swelling after the third or fourth day. Usually, once the pain peaks, you will notice a lessening of the side effects.
If you experience more pain, bleeding, or swelling subsides, you may have developed an infection, for which your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
You can resume brushing your teeth after a few days. Though you can eat foods immediately upon leaving your appointment, it is better to stick to soft foods for three to five days and gradually add hard foods to your diet.
After a rest of three to four days at home after your wisdom tooth removal, you can resume your normal routines like before.
Call your doctor immediately if you develop any of these:
- Fever higher than 102 degrees
- Heavy bleeding
- Pus oozing out of your surgical site
- Swallowing or breathing difficulty
- Pain that doesn’t lessen with medication
- Swelling that doesn’t subside after three days
If you are wondering whether you require wisdom tooth removal or not, visit Gnathos Dental, the best dental hospital in Hyderabad, to get a proper evaluation and a decision that is right for you.
At Gnathos, you receive a complete range of comprehensive dental care ranging from oral hygiene (scaling) and dental fillings to laser dental surgeries.
Our elite dentist team with over 15 years of experience and expertise offers hospital-based dentistry and world-class dental treatments, ensuring a speedy recovery to complete health and wellness.