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Oral Surgeon Dr. Roy Thomas shares tips on care after wisdom tooth removal

Oral Surgeon Dr. Roy Thomas

How to Take Care of Yourself After Wisdom Tooth Removal

For many people, the eruption of wisdom teeth is a rite of passage into adulthood. However, there may be instances wherein wisdom tooth extraction is needed.

For one, your mouth may not have adequate space to accommodate your wisdom teeth. Keeping these molars can result in impaction, which means these teeth cannot erupt from the gums. Impaction, in turn, can lead to a host of other problems, including cysts and bone damage.

If the wisdom teeth break through the gums, this may cause the creation of flaps in the gums. In turn, these flaps can trap food debris and bacteria, which may then lead to infections.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth erupt at an awkward angle that can cause damage to the adjacent teeth.

Dr. Roy Thomas, who is a good candidate for wisdom tooth extraction?

Types of impacted wisdom tooth

Many people do not experience any symptoms that may be attributed to a troublesome wisdom tooth. However, the absence of any sign does not necessarily indicate the lack of a problem.

So should you consider having your wisdom tooth removed if you are not currently experiencing any issues with it? Here are a few crucial points to think about.

  • First, it is advisable to have a wisdom tooth extracted while you are young. Upon reaching the age of 30, the risk of complications increases. These complications include numbness, bleeding, infections, and dry socket.
  • Furthermore, problems associated with wisdom teeth may complicate other health conditions. This is why many dentists advocate the removal of wisdom teeth when their patients are at the peak of their health.
  • Finally, it is easier to extract a wisdom tooth when one is young. The roots of wisdom teeth in younger people have yet to develop fully. This makes extraction easier, and recovery, faster.

Patient preparation prior to the procedure

Wisdom tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure. That means that you can go home once the anesthetic has worn off.

It is advisable to have someone – a family member or friend – to drive you to and from the clinic.

Prior to surgery, your dentist will give you a list of things you will need to do or avoid. Some patients may need to go on a fast before the procedure. Your dentist will inform you how long you will need to do so.

You may also need to temporarily go off certain medications. Some medications can thin the blood and hamper the healing process. Your dentist may also prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers before the actual surgery.

Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes, contact lenses, and jewelry when you go to the clinic.

What can a patient expect during the procedure?

Wisdom tooth extraction is a quick procedure, often lasting less than 45 minutes.

Before your scheduled extraction, your dentist will provide you with an overview of the procedure and explain the benefits and risks. Take this as an opportunity to ask the questions lingering in your mind and to make the necessary plans and arrangements at work and at home.

On the day of your surgery, anesthesia will be administered – local, IV sedation, or general.

Once the anesthetic is in effect, your dentist will make an incision on your gums or bone to remove the wisdom tooth. He will then stitch the area and place gauze pads to contain the bleeding.

Dr. Roy Thomas, how would you advise patients to take care of themselves after the procedure?

The recovery period from a wisdom tooth extraction is relatively short. On the day of your surgery, you will be asked to get some rest. You can resume your normal activities the next day, but you will need to avoid strenuous tasks for a full week.

Immediately after the procedure, you will have to stay in the clinic until the anesthesia has worn off. Depending on the anesthetic used, you may need to have someone to accompany you and drive you home.

Your dentist will prescribe you with medications for pain relief. Many patients have reported that they have experienced little to no pain after the surgery. However, it is not unusual to experience swelling and some discomfort in the affected area.

To facilitate faster healing and avoid complications, here are a few helpful tips:

  • Use an ice pack for swelling and moist heat for soreness.
  • Follow a soft diet for a few days and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid drinking through a straw. This can adversely affect the clotting on the gums.
  • Do not brush your teeth on the day of your surgery. Instead, brush your teeth the day after, taking extra care to avoid the area where the wisdom tooth previously was. You can rinse your mouth with a saline solution, but you must proceed gently.
  • If you are a smoker, avoid smoking for a few days as this can hamper the healing process.
  • If the swelling or soreness does not dissipate immediately or if you run a fever, call your doctor.

What does an oral surgeon do?

Oral surgeons are specialized dentists helping with concerns ranging from wisdom and impacted teeth to bone loss and jaw misalignment.

Meet our Oral Surgeon

Dr. Roy Thomas is our Specialist Oral Surgeon with over 25 years of clinical experience. Dr. Roy’s expertise lies in oral surgical procedures like cysts, complicated extractions and removal of impacted wisdom teeth.

Need to know more about wisdom tooth extraction? Schedule a complimentary consultation.