In a way, wisdom teeth are like termites. For something you mostly can’t see, they can cause a lot of trouble. The potential for trouble is why our Montgomery, AL dentists may recommend wisdom teeth removal.
Most people get wisdom teeth in their late teens or early 20s. They may or may not experience discomfort. Since wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars, they are often crowded. This crowding can impact nearby teeth, the jawbone, and even the nerves.
Wisdom teeth also don’t always completely erupt through the gums. If this happens, it makes it easy for bacteria to enter the gums and become infected. Even if wisdom teeth come in normally, their location in the back of the mouth makes it tough to keep them clean.
If there’s a young person in your family, we’ll keep an eye on their wisdom teeth during their dental exams. The younger they are, the easier it is to extract the teeth. So if it looks like problems could develop, we may suggest a proactive wisdom teeth removal.
If your family member is experiencing discomfort, don’t wait until their next exam. Call Carmichael Dental Care at 334-600-1423.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Is Less Scary Than Its Reputation
Wisdom teeth removal has a scary reputation. But the truth is, it often isn’t that different from extracting any other teeth. Our dentists have decades of experience between them and can remove most wisdom teeth. They’ll use technology like digital X-rays to plan the procedure. With these digital images, they can see potential problems before treatment starts and can refer you to an oral surgeon if necessary.
We’ll thoroughly numb the patient’s mouth with local anesthesia. We can also provide either inhaled sedation (“laughing gas”) or an oral sedative so they’ll stay calm and relaxed throughout the procedure.
Laughing gas is administered through a small mask that covers the nose. It takes effect quickly, creating a euphoric feeling. It wears off fast too, so they’ll feel “normal” again right away. With an oral sedative, they’ll be more relaxed and groggy for a while after the procedure.
After Your Wisdom Teeth Removal: What to Expect
Post-extraction care is similar to any other tooth removal. Your family member should plan to take it easy for at least a day or two. The extraction site will be tender, and they’ll experience some bleeding and swelling.
We’ll give them a piece of clean, damp gauze and ask them to gently bite down on it to stop the bleeding. They should apply this gentle but firm pressure for at least 45 minutes. They may need to change to new pieces of gauze a few times. If bleeding doesn’t seem to be slowing, try using a damp tea bag instead of gauze. Use black tea, the kind typically used to prepare iced tea. The tea contains tannic acids that encourage blood clots to form.
They shouldn’t brush or floss their teeth for 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal. They should avoid spitting and rinsing too. After the first day, they can rinse with warm salt water, though they should avoid vigorous rinsing. They can also gently brush teeth, avoiding the site of the extraction. No mouth rinses with alcohol.
Six Tips to Encourage Healing After Wisdom Teeth Removal
Here are some other tips to minimize pain and encourage healing after wisdom teeth removal:
- Reduce swelling with ice packs. If swelling lasts longer than 24 hours, use warm towels instead of ice.
- If we give a prescription for pain relief medication, take the meds as directed. If not, you can use an over-the-counter product like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) – but NOT aspirin.
- Leave the extraction site alone as much as possible; don’t touch or poke it with a finger or the tongue.
- Avoid creating changes in air pressure. So no smoking or drinking through a straw. Avoid blowing the nose.
- Drink lots of water.
- Don’t consume solid foods for the first 24 hours. Then stick to soft foods for a few days. Yogurt, scrambled eggs, milkshakes, pudding, and soup (warm, not hot) are good choices.
If you’re worried about anything during their recovery, don’t hesitate to call us at 334-600-1423.