While it’s common to have wisdom teeth, most patients must undergo wisdom tooth extraction at some point in their lives to combat or prevent oral issues caused by one or more wisdom teeth. Wisdom tooth removal surgery is a routine dental procedure that can treat impacted teeth and help eliminate discomfort, teeth crowding, and other issues affecting your overall oral health.
After you’ve undergone a wisdom tooth removal procedure, here’s what you can expect from your wisdom tooth extraction recovery.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Located at the back of the mouth, your wisdom teeth are the third molars that usually develop in your late teens or early twenties. While some people may develop only some or no wisdom teeth, most will experience four of them erupting: two on top and two on the bottom arch.
When You Need Wisdom Tooth Removal
There are many reasons you may need a wisdom tooth extraction, and your dentist can assess if and when you need wisdom tooth removal. However, here are some general signs you may need one or more wisdom teeth removed:
A common reason for wisdom tooth removal is when you have impacted wisdom teeth. This happens when a wisdom tooth fails to erupt from below your gums and continues to grow at the wrong angle. This can cause tender and swollen gums, stiffness or swelling in your jaw, and general discomfort.
Another sign you may need wisdom tooth extraction is when your wisdom teeth begin to overcrowd.
Teeth crowding can happen when there isn’t enough space for your wisdom teeth in the jawbone, causing surrounding teeth to shift, possibly undoing previous teeth straightening work.
Other Signs It’s Time For Wisdom Tooth Removal
Other indicators that you may need a wisdom tooth extraction include persistent sinus pain, infection, and cavities. If you experience any discomfort while eating or brushing, you should see your dentist right away.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery
The full recovery period after wisdom tooth removal can take up to two weeks. Your dentist will walk you through how best to look after yourself during this time. However, there are some general steps you can take to ensure a full recovery.
For the first 24 hours or more, you should avoid eating hard foods, drinking hot liquids, using a straw, rinsing your mouth, and exercising. It’s also best to avoid alcohol and smoking.
Immediately following your wisdom tooth extraction, it’s common to experience swollen cheeks and a stiff or sore jaw or discomfort once the anaesthesia wears off. Rest with your head elevated and avoid strenuous activity to prevent exacerbating any post-surgical swelling. You may also experience some bleeding, which can be treated with cotton pads provided by your dentist. If bleeding persists for more than 24 hours, however, you should contact your dentist.
To help manage your discomfort, you can take over-the-counter medications and apply an ice pack to your jaw as needed. You will also need to modify your diet following surgery, eating only nutrient-dense soft foods such as avocado, fruit and vegetable purees, smoothies, nut butter, and warm soups.
After a day or so, you can gently rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash or salt water solution to help reduce inflammation and decrease the risk of infection. If you experience any signs of infection, including ongoing bleeding, pus, or persistent discomfort, immediately contact your dentist.
Arrange a Consultation Today
If you have concerns about your wisdom teeth or questions about wisdom tooth extraction recovery, call Glebe Dental Group on (02) 9159 6816 today.
Note: Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.