Wisdom Teeth Extractions: What to Expect?

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At Cosmetic & Family Dentistry of Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, we know that having your teeth removed for any reason can be scary. Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure many adults have to go through. Usually, wisdom teeth appear in about 90% of the population. However, the most pertinent fact about them is to ignore them and allow them to grow and remain.

Way back in the day, humans had larger, stronger jaws, and wisdom teeth helped with chewing coarse foods such as raw meat and plants. Also, our ancestors tended to lose teeth at much younger ages, so a third set of teeth, known as our wisdom teeth, had enough room to grow. But now, we don’t have space in our modern-day mouths to fit a third set of teeth.

Our dentists can detect if you have an erupted or impacted wisdom tooth, and then we recommend extraction. Some symptoms that you may experience prior to extraction are:

  • swelling in the back of the oral cavity
  • limited jaw mobility
  • pain when chewing.
  • or asymptomatic, the most troublesome for some patients.

Without proper management of wisdom teeth, they can become infected, form lesions, cysts, tumors or even further damage to adjacent teeth. If ignored, some of these conditions can escalate and become life-threatening. There is a window of opportunity for dentists to remove wisdom teeth when they are under two-thirds a way developed. Also, as the teeth grow, they reposition, and related risks such as injuring a nerve increase.

We recommend that you remove your wisdom teeth in your teenage years versus when you are older or middle aged because the recovery time lengthens with age. During the procedure, you will have the choice between laughing gas and anesthesia. In both cases, you will also have local anesthesia to numb the area before extraction. Before your appointment, you will receive a dose of antibiotics and you should not have anything to eat or drink six hours before.

The procedure is completed by our board-certified dentists in the following steps:

  1. Make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone,
  2. Remove bone that blocks access to the tooth root,
  3. Divide the tooth into sections if it’s easier to remove in pieces,
  4. Remove the tooth or teeth,
  5. Clean the site of the removed tooth of any debris from the tooth or bone,
  6. Stitch the wound closed to promote healing, though this isn’t always necessary,
  7. And place gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form.

After the procedure, you may experience a range of discomfort and pain, for which we can prescribe some strong analgesics. You will experience some facial swelling that will make you look like a chipmunk, but nothing to worry about. The swelling, for most people, diminishes within a week.

Sorry, but yes, your cheeks will likely look a chipmunk. In fact, many doctors state that swelling gets worse before it gets better. Swelling often peaks 48 to 72 hours later and resolves within a week, but keeping your head elevated and applying ice pack compresses will help the swelling go down. Don’t be alarmed if you also see bruising or yellowing appear several days later. Applying some cold compresses will help with the pain management.

Up until a few days after the procedure, you may also notice some bleeding. We will give you a gauze to intermittently bite for 15-30 minutes to constrict the blood vessels. To help with the discomfort due to the swelling and bleeding, a liquid diet is advised for the first 24 hours. Stay away from straws! The suction or even the straw itself can further hurt. From days two to five we recommend soft foods like mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and pastas. And we strictly advise against chewy food; no steak.

If you have any other questions, concerns, or comments about wisdom teeth extraction, contact us today!