Removing or not removing your wisdom teeth is a question of concern. Wisdom teeth are your final molar sets that start growing during early or late adult tooth development years. Because of how different your jaw grows, wisdom teeth do not often fit properly beyond the other set of molars. As a result, they lack enough room to grow and become blocked or impacted below your gum line, thus pushing the other teeth to fit in. For this reason, oral surgeons recommend the removal of wisdom teeth before their emerging structure can tamper with the existing one. However, most dentists recommend their patients to retain their wisdom teeth to avoid complications associated with its removal and instead be under close observation.
Removing wisdom teeth is a standard surgical process that often goes well. Wisdom teeth are only removed if they have problems or are likely to have in the coming years. There are no proven benefits of removing wisdom teeth that don’t cause complications.
Wisdom teeth don’t break over the gums in many people. At least a significant percentage of adults globally have wisdom teeth that haven’t broken. This mainly occurs in the lower jaw because the jaw doesn’t have enough space. Complications associated with removing wisdom teeth include bleeding, swelling, and jaw numbness. There are several ways to reduce or prevent these complications, including notifying your dentist of any noticeable issues and following the dentist’s care guidelines.
When is it Ideal to Remove Wisdom Teeth?
The best time to remove your wisdom teeth depends on whether they are causing problems or will in the future. It is vital to get answers to the questions below before removing your wisdom teeth.
- Are your wisdom teeth causing damage and pain near your mouth or jaw?
- Are wisdom teeth hindering the growth of other teeth?
- What are the risks associated with surgery?
People with smaller jawbones and crooked front teeth often wonder whether their teeth may be tampered with when their wisdom teeth grow off the gum. Even though it may be true, that is not always the case. Patients can leave their wisdom teeth intact if they do not impact other teeth.
Potential Risks Associated with Removing Wisdom Teeth
1. Dry Socket
Blood clots form at the extraction site after the removal of wisdom teeth. This is helpful during the healing process of your mouth. A dry socket happens when the blood clot dislodges, and the nerve under your gum gets exposed to food debris and air. This may also result in Dental abscesses.
Researchers found out that a small percentage of people experience dry sockets after wisdom teeth removal. The National Health Service notes that dry socket occurs three to four days after removal of wisdom teeth. Its symptoms include sharp or throbbing pain in the extraction area. It is essential to reach out to your dentist if you experience a throbbing or sharp pain around the extraction place.
2. Swelling and Pain
Swelling and pain are typical after wisdom teeth removal for the first two to three days. Researchers found out that typically all patients who have gone through wisdom teeth removal experience swelling and pain. Your oral surgeon or dentist may recommend over-the-counter medication or prescription pain relievers. If you experience severe pain after a couple of days, contact your doctor, they may schedule an examination for you.
3. Lip Numbness
Lip numbness is a rare complication, but it’s possible. According to the NHS, if your surgeon damages a nerve during wisdom teeth extraction, it can cause lip or jaw numbness. The numbness is often temporary but may turn out permanent if the nerve has severe damages.
Your surgeon or dentist will take you through all the common complications associated with wisdom teeth extraction and the recommended ways of minimizing their risks, including taking care of the extracted area to help it heal well. Contact your doctors’ office for after-care instructions if you are concerned about wisdom teeth removal’s side effects.
Wisdom teeth extraction occurs under local anesthesia. Your doctor may also use general anesthesia for a more comprehensive process.
4. Partial Mouth Opening
After a lengthy wisdom teeth extraction procedure, you may experience temporary discomfort or restriction during mouth opening. If jaw stiffness prolongs, your dentist may prescribe specific pain medication, heat therapy, and muscle relaxants.
5. Excessive Bleeding
It is normal to bleed for eight to twelve hours after wisdom teeth extraction because blood clot takes time before it forms on the extraction area. Your oral surgeon or dentist will give you guidelines on reducing bleeding, including using salt water to rinse your mouth or avoiding smoking and eating soft food.
How to handle Pain after Wisdom Teeth Removal
Most people use pain relievers after the procedure. In most cases, your doctor gives you a painkiller before the operation. Both paracetamol and ibuprofen are effective for relieving pain after wisdom teeth extraction. Other medications like aspirin are not effective before or after the procedure as they may increase bleeding risks.
According to researchers, 400mg of ibuprofen dose works better than 1000mg of acetaminophen at relieving pain. However, their combination relieves pain better, and its effect is long-lasting. One should take this combination after every eight hours to avoid taking the maximum dosage of the drugs. Adults are recommended to take 80 to 1200 mg of ibuprofen and 4000 mg of acetaminophen daily.
Your doctor may also give your bromelain enzymes to reduce pain and inflammation around the extraction site. But more research is needed on this drug to approve its effectiveness and impacts. Several days after the extraction of wisdom teeth, placing an ice pack on your cheek effectively reduces swelling.
Avoid drinking hot drinks, fruit juices, eating complicated meals, and smoking for the first couple of days as it may slow down the process of healing. Drinking lukewarm tea and still water is suitable. Consuming not too hot food and soup such as pasta, potatoes, and fish is appropriate as you will use your tongue to crush it easily.
Try to avoid engaging in strenuous physical activities such as visiting a sauna or sports for the first couple of days after having your wisdom teeth removed. These activities may slow down the process of healing.