What You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth Extractions
The thought of getting wisdom teeth (or any teeth) extracted may be a little scary, but wisdom teeth extractions are the most common oral surgeries performed every day, and they are meant to do your mouth good.
Wisdom teeth are called as such because they come in later in life, at around 17-21 years of age. Because the rest of the teeth have already erupted and settled, there usually isn’t any room left on the gum line for the wisdom teeth, causing them to come in at improper angles (becoming impacted). If left untreated, impacted teeth could cause discomfort. Because they are difficult to clean, debris can easily accumulate around them and lead to dental problems. Additionally, impacted teeth can lead to the development of cysts or cause the epithelial lining to become cancerous. All of these issues can be prevented by having the teeth extracted before they become a bigger problem.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Extractions are fairly straightforward procedures. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area around the teeth to be extracted. General anesthesia can also be administered to allow the patient to sleep through the procedure. The gum tissue will be opened up above the tooth and the tooth removed by separating it from the bone. Sometimes, it may be necessary to break the tooth into smaller pieces in order to remove it from the gums. Stitches may be necessary after the teeth have been extracted to prevent excessive bleeding.
After the Procedure
Gauze will be applied to the extraction sites, which you will need to bite down gently on. This removes excess blood so that you aren’t swallowing it. The gauze will need to be replaced as it gets used up, but gradually, the bleeding will stop; it should not last more than 24 hours. Any swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack every 10 to 15 minutes. Moist heat may also help; apply a warm washcloth for two to three days after the surgery. Rinsing and gargling with salt water will help to reduce swelling and pain.
Avoid touching or running your tongue over the extraction sites as this can increase the potential for infection and can also cause complications in the healing process. Be careful when brushing so that the bristles do not open up the wound. Physical activity should also be avoided for a few days after the surgery, as it could increase the chances of bleeding. Smoking and using straws are off-limits as the sucking motion can also cause bleeding.