Wisdom Tooth Extraction
As if you don’t have enough going on as a late teen, nature has more in store. Youth in their late ‘teens to early twenties can expect to experience the wisdom tooth eruption process. A far cry from cutting a baby tooth, wisdom teeth are the largest teeth in the human body and can bring with them a host of challenges. Although some wisdom teeth are well accommodated and symptom-free, the large majority of wisdom teeth are removed as a preventative measure.
What is Involved in Wisdom tooth Extraction?
If you listen to the rumours, you might think that wisdom tooth extractions are more complicated and painful for the patient. The truth is, while wisdom tooth extractions can be complicated in some cases, the large majority of these teeth can be removed in-clinic under the same local anesthetic used for fillings or other procedures – with the same effective degree of pain control.
Your dentist will ensure to carefully examine your digital X-rays in order to determine where your teeth and their roots are in relation to your nerves and your sinus cavity. Typically, a tooth that requires removal by a specialist is severely impacted, wrapped around a nerve, or protruding dangerously close to the sinus cavity.
Your dentist will provide you with directions and guidelines to follow as you recover from your wisdom tooth extraction. It is important to follow these directions which may include when to use pain control medications, how to use special rinses to keep the wound clean, and recommendations about how to return to eating your favourite crunchy snacks without harming your healing. If your dentist has placed a stitch over the site to encourage healing, it will dissolve on its own as the wound heals. Eating is easier to accomplish if only one wisdom tooth is removed, since foods can be chewed primarily on the opposite side. For those with multiple extractions, however, having the right food on hand during your recovery will be the key to comfortable eating in the first few days after extraction.
Important to Note
If you are having a wisdom tooth extracted, one of the most important warnings you should be aware of is not to smoke, sip from straws, or use any sucking action in the early days of your recovery. When your tooth is extracted, bone is painfully exposed, and your body begins to produce a blood clot over the exposure. This blood clot is critical for comfortable healing and dislodging it with a sucking motion leads to a painful condition called dry socket. If you are experiencing dry socket, you must see a dentist to have the wound flushed, medicated and packed
What to Eat for Comfort?
In the days following your extraction, you may experience some inflammation. This can be managed with a combination of dentist-prescribed medications for this purpose, and cold treatments. Between meals, an ice pack can be held against the cheek to soothe any discomfort you might be feeling. We recommend icing the cheek for 10-15 minutes and allowing the cheek to return to normal body temperature before reapplying when necessary.
At mealtime, foods chosen should be cool and smooth. This may include a smoothie made with pureed frozen fruit, your favourite jello or pudding, or an icy slush drink (all consumed by drinking or using spoons – no straws). When it is comfortable, graduate to lukewarm broth or consommé, or a thin pureed soup. By adding textures back into your diet gradually, you allow your extraction to heal and limit opportunities for food debris to get into the wound. The good news is these extractions typically heal quickly and you will be back to enjoying your favourite foods before you know it!
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When to Call Your Dentist
If you are experiencing your wisdom teeth coming in, you may feel like you’re teething again. Pain in the tissues as the tooth makes its way to eruption is not always a sign of a problem, but if you haven’t had your teeth X-rayed recently, we recommend booking in for a checkup. These images provide your dentist with the inside scoop on these teeth, their orientation, and root systems. Based on the way your wisdom tooth presents, your dentist will be able to offer insight into whether intervention will be necessary.
If pain is worsening and accompanied by a foul, sour taste weeping from the back of the mouth, this could be a sign of infection. This is common where wisdom teeth erupt into the mouth but remain partially covered by gum tissue. This creates a flap under which food and bacteria can hide and an extraction would likely be justified if the tooth has fully erupted.
If you have questions about this or other services offered by our general dentist, contact our clinic today.
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