Wisdom Tooth Removal is usually perceived to be a nightmare for most people of any age. People dread having to go to the dentist to extract a tooth. While the fear is understandable, there needs to be a way to overcome it.
Tackling fear usually begins with awareness. We often get scared of things we are not fully informed about. Further, awareness can add to our preparedness. So, why don’t we take a sneak peek into what one can expect while getting their wisdom tooth removed? It’s better to visit the dentist with no more surprises!
What is a wisdom tooth?
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge in our mouth. They appear in your mouth, probably in your late teens or twenties. Unlike the other teeth in your mouth, these occur at a later phase in life when you are presumably older and wiser. Hence the wisdom in the name! Typically, a person will have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth. They are the third set of molars. Due to their position in the back of the mouth they are called back molars.
Why should a wisdom tooth be removed?
In an ideal scenario, a wisdom tooth adds stability and chewing power by sharing the load with your existing set of teeth. But in some cases, the earlier teeth may be set in place so much so that there is no space for the wisdom tooth to occupy. The name given to these teeth that don’t have enough room to budge is impacted wisdom teeth. This lack of space is one of the significant reasons for dentists recommending wisdom tooth removal. The impacted wisdom tooth can cause any of the below-mentioned problems –
Your wisdom tooth might budge into bad angles due to the lack of space. It may move towards your second molar or jaw bone, causing irritation and pain. All the more troubling is a wisdom tooth growing at a right angle to the jawbone, that is, at a sleeping position.
In this case, there is no angular issue. The wisdom tooth stays up like any other teeth, but it gets trapped inside the jaw because of the lack of space and doesn’t come up.
A person may feel anything from mild irritation to excruciating pain in such cases. In worst cases, the impacted wisdom tooth may end up causing decay to its nearby teeth. Even if there is no pain, a partially developed wisdom tooth might provide space for food particles and debris to hide, resulting in tooth decay. These are the usual reasons for a dentist recommending wisdom tooth removal. Other specific cases of gum diseases or reconstructive treatment can also lead to a wisdom tooth removal procedure.
What is the procedure for extraction?
The first thing you must keep in mind is to have a detailed discussion with your dentist. Be aware of the number of teeth to be removed, the gravity of its position and what sort of procedure will be adopted. This will help you prepare for the day as you will be well informed. For example, you will know what kind of food to eat before the procedure, whether it is safe to drive afterwards, or if someone should accompany you to the dentist. Nevertheless, the process will depend on the position and development of the tooth.
In any case, an anaesthetic will be administered first. Sometimes the doctor may suggest a sedative to calm you down in case of anxiety. A wisdom tooth that has made its way out of the gum can be removed as quickly as any other tooth. It can be rocked back and forth out of the gum. But in the case of a tooth that is still inside the gum, a tiny incision must be made into the gum. The tooth may have to be removed by breaking it into small pieces, and in some cases, a small portion of the bone must also be removed. Cutting the tooth in pieces will minimise the portion of bone to be cut off.
In the case of decays, your dentist will clean up the sight of the procedure to ensure there is no debris caught. After the procedure, the incision made will be stitched up. Your dentist might ask you to bite on a gauze. This will prevent excessive bleeding and help formulate a blood clot. Further, you may be asked to take antibiotics or painkillers.
How to take care post-procedure?
Once the numbness wears off, you might notice slight swelling and pain for a while. For the swelling, place an ice pack on the face, and for the pain, you will be prescribed pain killers. It is advised to not brush or rinse for a day post the treatment. In some cases, your doctor may suggest gently rinsing with salt water instead.
You must take good care of your diet for a week. Drink lots of fluids, preferably cold and healthy ones. Do not drink alcohol, caffeinated and carbonated drinks at least for the first 24 hours. Do not have hot drinks or food. You must consume soft and easily digestible food. Do not smoke for at least two days post the procedure.
Take rest! Do not do straining physical activities the next day. Do not stay up late. Make sure you sleep comfortably while having your head propped up by a pillow.
This is usually a risk-free procedure. But for worse, keep these things in mind so you will know when to call your dentist. Excessive bleeding even after a day of the treatment is unlikely. So is pain that doesn’t lessen after taking medications and persistent swelling. It is wise to give your doctor a call in all these cases. Also, if any bad taste or breath is coming from your mouth, any signs of pus or other discharge, it is high time you consult for a post-procedure visit.