Large teeth known as wisdom teeth emerge from the gums at the very back of the mouth. Sometimes the mouth does not have enough space for the wisdom teeth to erupt into their proper position. They might erupt partially or might penetrate the gums at an angle. When this happens, the wisdom teeth are referred to as ‘impacted’. Impaction can lead to issues like pain or infection. The dentist may therefore decide to remove the impacted tooth. Please keep in mind that removing impacted wisdom teeth is one of the most common surgeries. This article lists the reasons why a patient may need the removal of their wisdom tooth, time to recover from the removal, and some self-care advice.
What are the reasons for wisdom tooth removal?
Wisdom tooth impaction may or may not cause pain. Pain in the back of the jaw is an obvious sign of discomfort. The emergence of wisdom teeth may also cause gum swelling, redness, or pain. It may also result in jaw pain, tooth crowding, recurrent oral infections, cysts, and even tooth decay.
A consultation with a dentist is the best way to ascertain whether one needs their wisdom teeth removed because they may not always cause pain. The dentist typically makes this decision after examining the tooth clinically and radiographically. Due to the possibility that impacted third molars may be completely or partially embedded in the jawbone, only a dental x-ray can reveal this. In order to identify the impacted tooth, it is always advisable to visit the dentist.
What is the recovery period following a third molar removal?
Wisdom tooth extraction is typically carried out in a dentist’s office or by an oral surgeon. You may require a more involved surgical procedure and occasionally sedation for the extraction. You should discuss the process to recover from wisdom tooth removal thoroughly with your dentist. Usually, mild facial bruising and swelling after the procedure subsides two weeks. However, complete healing varies from person to person. Recovery is a gradual process, and it continues to get better every day.
The following time frame is typical for the healing process:
- The first 24 hours are when blood clots form.
- Mouth and cheek swelling usually goes down within two to three days after surgery.
- One week after the tooth extraction, the stitches are removed.
- Jaw stiffness that restricts mouth opening should subside in about 7–10 days.
- Mild facial bruises typically take two weeks to heal.
What after-care guidelines are there for wisdom tooth removal?
There are certain things that you have to take care of while you are recovering from wisdom tooth removal. You should refrain from spitting, drinking hot liquids, or doing anything else that could disturb the blood clots that form in the empty tooth socket for the first 24 hours. For the first few days, you should chew with your other teeth while having soft foods. Drink plenty of fluids, avoid smoking and alcohol use, and stay away from foods that are hard, crunchy, spicy, or too hot. Ice therapy can help with post-surgical bruising and swelling. After 24 hours, you should also continue gentle saline water rinsing. Use additional pillows to support the head while sleeping, take the medication as prescribed. You must immediately contact your dentist if you experience any infection-related symptoms like fever, deteriorating pain, or swelling after the wisdom tooth removal.
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