Wisdom tooth extraction is one of the most common types of surgery performed in the oral cavity and one that’s most feared by the patient. All human beings have a maximum of four wisdom teeth, or third molars, that are found right at the back of mouth on both the top and the bottom jaws. Since they erupt when you are between the ages of 17 and 25, and sometimes even later, they are known as wisdom teeth.
Sometimes they get impacted as their growth and eruption are prevented by the gum, bone and other teeth that overlie them. Softer diets and orthodontic treatment procedures prevent teeth from drifting apart. Due to this, there’s often no space left for the wisdom teeth to erupt. This results in impacted wisdom teeth.
The Extraction Procedure of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are generally extracted by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Before the surgery, it’s best to have a discussion with the surgeon about any illness you have and any medications you take. The extraction procedure is carried out in the office of the surgeon and can take between 45 minutes and an hour. It’s important to not eat for six hours before the procedure and to brush and floss your teeth to prevent any post-extraction infection.
An X-ray of the tooth helps the surgeon plan out the extraction procedure. The procedure is carried out under an injectible local anesthesia. The surgeon uses tooth forceps and elevators to extract the tooth. If the roots of the tooth are fractured, a minor surgical procedure might also be necessary.
What to Expect Immediately after Extraction
Although you won’t have any pain post-extraction, there might be a mild swelling that could last for a week after the procedure. The first few days can be uncomfortable, and you might experience pain and slight bruising along the jaw line and around the cheeks. Pain medications are administered to control the pain and the application of ice can take care of the bruising. Bleeding can also occur for several hours after the procedure.
What to Expect a Week after Extraction
During the week after surgery, it’s best to have a liquid and soft diet that includes soups, soft bread and yogurt. As a result of this change of diet, your bowel movements might be affected and you may pass little or no feces. Once you’re on a solid diet, the bowel movements will revert to normal. Bed rest is advised for the first week after surgery and it’s also advisable to prop the head up at an angle of 45 degrees to reduce swelling.
What to Expect Two Weeks after Surgery
Two weeks after surgery, you can eat pasta and macaroni. Since the incision is stitched with a dissolvable suture, some of the stitches disappear around this time. You will be able to open your mouth wider and the stiffness in your jaws will reduce. The soreness, bruising and swelling will also be negligible. If required, the surgeon will remove the rest of the stitches after a few days.
If your wisdom teeth are not creating problems, it might be best not to have them removed.