What happens when your wisdom teeth have to go?

If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, take heart! Wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure done today and can be pulled just like any erupted tooth–meaning they have emerged through the gums. If the tooth is not erupted and is still beneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone, a small incision will be made in the gum tissue and a part of the bone covering the tooth will be removed, often extracting small pieces at a time to lower the amount of bone that needs to be taken out.

But is it painful?

Wisdom tooth removal is generally painless using a local anesthetic, numbing the area just like a regular tooth removal. Sedation to relieve anxiety might be administered by nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or IV injection. To remove all four wisdom teeth, you will likely receive a general anesthetic allowing you to sleep comfortably through the procedure, feeling no pain.

24 Hours after the Extraction:

Bleeding–While the injection site is clotting after the extraction, you can experience bleeding. It will help while the area is clotting to place pressure over the extraction site using clean, moist gauze and biting down firmly. Avoid rinsing or spitting during the first 24 hours after surgery to keep from removing the clot.

Facial Swelling–Use an ice pack on the face to relieve the swelling. Place the pack 10 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours after the surgery. After 24 hours, switch to heat, placing a damp, warm towel–20 minutes on, 20 minutes off–as needed.

Pain–To relieve minor pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen will be helpful. You may also be prescribed stronger pain medication if necessary. If you have an infection around the tooth you can be prescribed antibiotics.

Diet–You will want to consume a liquid diet for the first 24 hours until the numbness has worn off and then a soft food diet for a few days afterward. For example, you might enjoy pasta, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, lukewarm soups, etc.

Brushing–Gently brush your teeth during the first 24 hours, avoiding any teeth near the extraction site.

Rinsing–24 hours after the surgery you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals and before sleep. Don’t use over-the-counter commercial mouth rinses, as they can irritate the socket.

Stitches–Stitches may need to be removed after a week if they are not the self-dissolving kind.

You should start to feel more comfortable around the extraction site after a couple of weeks. Wisdom teeth removal doesn’t have to be scary! If you have any questions or need to be seen, please contact our Smiles Dental team at 360.339.7499.