After Extraction of Wisdom Teeth
After the wisdom teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. To help control bleeding bite down on the gauze placed in your mouth. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, extra gauze to switch out ever 1-2 hours, and a follow-up appointment in one week for evaluation of the surgical sites. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us prior to your follow-up appointment. Dr. Breese and Dr. Tracy will call you the night of the surgery to ensure you are doing well.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Overview
For a brief narrated overview of the wisdom tooth removal process, please click the image below. It will launch our educational MiniModule in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about wisdom teeth.
Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety. We utilize modern monitoring equipment and our staff are experienced in anesthesia techniques.
What Will I Feel Like after Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?
On the first day after surgery, you may experience some minor bleeding for the first 24 hours. You may also experience some minor pain which should be well controlled with your medications given you. You should cover your pillowcase with towel so that you don’t get any blood on it. Each individual’s reaction to surgery varies, and the sensation of pain can vary from patient to patient. A variable amount of swelling can be expected following the surgery. This swelling usually peaks on the third and fourth day after surgery and should begin shortly after that. You can limit the amount of swelling you will have by using ice for the first 24-48 hours. The more ice you use the first day, the less swelling you are likely to have on the second day. Please remember to put ice on the first day even if it is somewhat uncomfortable to have the cold next to your skin. On the third day, you will notice that your jaw muscles are stiff, and it is difficult to open your mouth normally. You can apply moist heat to your face on the third and fourth day allowing your muscles to relax more and open wider. You will want to limit your physical activities for the first week after surgery, as any activity that can increase your heart rate may also cause some minor bleeding at the extraction sites. We ask that you follow your post-operative instructions closely. Doing so will make you as comfortable as possible during the first few days following your procedure. Please allow time for your body to begin healing before resuming an active social, academic, or athletic schedule. Most patients feel like they are over the hump and on their way to recovery in 3 to 5 days. You should also stay out of the ocean water or community pools until your surgeon see’s you for your one week follow-up after the surgery to assess how things are healing. Pools and ocean water harbor a lot of bacteria and can increase your risk for infection.
Are There Any Problems after the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth?
As with any medical procedure, there can be complications or an unanticipated result. Some complications that patients undergoing Wisdom Tooth Extraction may experience include: Damage to the sensory nerve that supplies sensation to the lips and tongue, sinus communication, infections and dry sockets.
After the procedure, our assistants will review your post-operative instructions with your escort. We ask that you follow these instructions closely, as they will make you most comfortable following your procedure. If you were sedated, you will be comfortable and drowsy when you leave the office. Most patients prefer to go home and rest with no other physical or scholastic activities planned for a few days. With any medical procedure, there can be unexpected results. These can include delayed healing, infection and post-operative numbness or tingling in your lip, chin, or tongue. The oral surgeon will review relevant post-operative events with you and answer any questions during your evaluation prior to surgery.
Damage to Sensory Nerve:
A primary concern is a nerve within the lower jaw bone that supplies feeling to the lower lip, chin, and tongue. This nerve is frequently very close to the roots of the lower wisdom teeth. Having these teeth out between the ages of 12 and 18 usually provides shorter roots so that the nerve is not so close to the roots of these teeth decreasing risk of damage significantly.. Occasionally, when the teeth are removed, and especially in older patients, the nerve can become injured. When local anesthesia wears off, you may experience a tingling or numbing sensation in the lower lip, chin, or tongue. Should this occur, it is usually temporary and will resolve gradually over a period of weeks or months. On rare occasions it can result in a permanent alteration of sensation similar to having local anesthesia.
The upper wisdom teeth are situated close to your sinuses, and their removal can result in an opening between your mouth and the sinus. Once again, if the teeth are removed at an early age, the root formation is minimal, and this complication is very unlikely. However, if it does occur, it will usually close spontaneously, but we may give you special instructions to follow, such as avoid blowing your nose, no sucking through straws, and no smoking. If you have to sneeze, you should sneeze with an open mouth into a tissue. Pressure should not be created in the sinus area, which may dislodge the healing blood clot. If you sense this condition occurring after the surgery, please contact the office. In order to ensure no sinus infection occurs during healing antibiotics and decongestants will be given. Additional procedures, which are rare, may be necessary after given adequate time to allow the sinus to heal on its own.
Dry sockets continue to be the most common problem people experience following dental surgery. They arise due to premature loss of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket. This seems to occur with greater frequency in people who smoke or are taking birth control pills. While both jaws can be affected, they usually occur in the lower jaw on the third to fifth day. Dry socket causes a sharp shooting pain that can radiate to the ear. That pain will keep you up at night and your pain medication will not adequately stop the pain. Once again the window for dry socket is 3-5 days after surgery.
Treatment involves having you return to the office so we can clean out the extraction site and place some medicine in the area of the extraction which alleviates the pain and discomfort. This will help decrease the pain and protect the socket from food particles. Sometimes it takes 1-2 visits to get dry socket pain controlled.
Occasionally, post-operative infections occur. This usually requires an office visit and clinical examination. Many times, just placing you on an antibiotic for one week will take care of the infection. If it persists, the area will have to be drained and cleaned. Other temporary problems you may experience in the post-operative period include stiffness of the jaws, chafing around the corners of your lips, facial bruising, and blood oozing from the extraction sites. The post-operative instruction sheet we will provide should answer many of the questions related to these more common concerns. If not, don’t hesitate to call the office with any concerns or questions.