Common Questions About Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are the last four teeth to erupt into the mouth. They grow in the back of the mouth, often coming in during the late teens or early twenties. Unfortunately, many people don’t have room for them and need their wisdom teeth removed. This guide will answer some common questions about wisdom teeth removal.

When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Many people choose wisdom tooth removal between the ages of 15-20. At this age, your teeth may not be fully erupted, but wisdom tooth removal is often easiest before the wisdom teeth are fully developed. Some patients may need extraction at an earlier age to avoid damage to the surrounding teeth.  The best way to determine the timing of your wisdom tooth removal, or to determine if removal is needed, is to schedule a consultation with an oral surgeon. After an oral examination and x-rays, we can help you decide if and when wisdom tooth removal is needed.

If you have room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth and can keep them clean, they may not need to be removed.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are often malpositioned due to space constraints. The teeth may be unable to fully erupt or may be growing at an angle, pressing up against the neighboring teeth. An oral surgeon can help you determine if your wisdom teeth are causing problems or if they are likely to cause problems in the future. Here are a few reasons you may need to consider wisdom tooth removal.

  • Jaw Damage– Cysts can develop around new teeth. If left untreated, they can cause permanent nerve and jaw damage.
  • Sinus Issues- Some patients with wisdom tooth issues experience sinus pain.
  • Damage to Other Teeth– Wisdom teeth can cause alignment problems with other teeth. Cavities and decay on the wisdom teeth can spread to the surrounding teeth.
  • Cavities- Many patients are unable to properly clean their wisdom teeth, leading to cavities and tooth decay.

What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Your wisdom tooth removal will be customized to your unique needs. During your consultation, we’ll discuss your individual situation and make plans for appropriate pain relief, sedation (if desired), etc. We typically remove all four wisdom teeth at once, minimizing your downtime and inconvenience. Come see us and we’ll create a treatment plan together.

What Is Recovery Like After Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Recovery times vary after wisdom tooth removal, often depending on the difficulty of your extraction.  Plan on at least three days of downtime with prescription pain relief. Take it easy and get plenty of rest during the first few days. Most patients are sore for about a week, but able to resume regular activities. Complicated removals may require a longer period of downtime.

Not all patients need wisdom tooth removal, but if you do, we’re ready to help. Call our offices today and schedule your consultation.

Tips for Recovering from Oral Surgery in the Summer

Are you getting dental implants or wisdom tooth removal this summer? If you are, keep reading. This guide will help you recover successfully this summer. Dental surgery isn’t always fun, but our goal is to make the process as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.

Take Advantage of Extra Time Off

Summer is a popular time for oral surgery. Students needing wisdom tooth removal often use their summer break to schedule the procedure. If you’re lucky enough to have time off in the summer, schedule any needed oral surgeries. Use the extra time to fully recovery, without worrying about missed classes or work.

Stay Indoors

Hot summer weather is hard on a body that needs to heal. After your surgery, recover in a cool, comfortable area. You’ll heal quickly, but for those first few days, stay indoors as much as possible.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Proper hydration can be difficult during the summer. Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after surgery. You’ll know you’re getting enough liquids if your urine is close to clear.

Drinking sufficient liquid is important after surgery, but we have one big caution as you hydrate. Avoid using a straw if you’ve had a tooth extraction. This can lead to a painful condition known as dry socket, a condition that occurs when the blood clot becomes dislodged too early.

Focus on Hygiene

We’ll give you detailed instructions on proper dental hygiene after your procedure. These instructions will vary, depending on the procedure you’ve received and may include mouth rinses, brushing protocols, etc. Follow these instructions to prevent complications like infection, tooth or implant staining, etc.

Eat Soft Foods

Hot dogs and potato chips may be the official foods of summer, but aren’t the best choices right after oral surgery. For the few days, enjoy a diet of soft foods including mashed potatoes, soups, and pasta. Try not to chew over the surgical site for a week. Be careful with food temperatures to avoid burning yourself.

Take advantage of the break from school and/or summer vacations to schedule your oral surgery. Call today and schedule a consultation at Hill Country Oral Surgery.

Wisdom Tooth Surgery Recovery

 

Your dentist may suggest a wisdom tooth removal (or third molar surgery) for various reasons. It could be to prevent further oral complications or to help maintain how well your teeth look. Once your wisdom tooth has been removed, it’s wise to follow all aftercare instructions for your safety and fast recovery.

What to Do After the Surgery

For Swelling

It’s natural to have some swelling after your tooth has been extracted. To help with swelling, apply an ice pack to the outside of your mouth. Do it intermittently; for example, you can apply it 20 minutes on, and then 20 minutes off. If the treated area was infected prior to the procedure, your dentist may suggest using warm, moist compresses rather than ice. You should do this within two days to minimize bruising or any discomfort.

For Bleeding

Bleeding will occur after your surgery for up to 24 hours. Try to avoid spitting as it may dislodge the blood clot from the surgery site. You may be asked to keep a gauze pad over the extraction site 30 minutes after the procedure. It is also an option to use a wet tea bag and place it over the treated site for 30 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea bag will help contract the bleeding vessels that will eventually set the blood clot.

Cleaning Your Mouth

Typically, your dentist will allow you to brush your teeth or use mouthwash 24 hours after your surgery. However, in some cases, patients are permitted to use diluted mouthwash or salt water for mouth cleansing 12 hours after the procedure. Practice care when brushing teeth, especially at the site of extraction. You may also need to avoid doing rigorous exercise, smoking, or spitting for as long as there is bleeding.

Limitations on Food

Eating, drinking, and talking should be limited for at least two hours after the surgery. Once the bleeding stops, you can only drink clear liquids and eat soft food. To avoid dislodging of the treated site, you will be asked to avoid carbonated drinks. You must also refrain from eating foods like popcorn, pasta or peanuts that may leave particles in your socket.

Medications

Your doctor will prescribe medicine that will help you manage pain and prevent infection. Follow your doctor’s instructions exactly as directed. If you take a strong narcotic medication, you must avoid driving or operating machinery as well as drinking alcoholic beverages.

When to Reach out to Your Dentist or Surgeon

Swelling and bleeding at the treated site will improve as the days go by. If you experience or notice unusual changes or no improvement of the extracted site, you may need to call your dentist. Here are some of the symptoms and signs to look out for that suggest you need to see your doctor:

  • Swelling gets worse
  • Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
  • Excessive bleeding despite of applied pressure
  • Throbbing pain 3-4 days after the surgery
  • Consistent bad taste in the mouth that cannot be removed by rinsing
  • Elevated fever
  • Pus in the socket
  • Nasal discharge in the form of pus or blood
  • Persistent numbness

Know More About a Wisdom Tooth Surgery

Our highly trained medical staff will be happy to inform you about a third molar surgery. Schedule a consultation to find out if you need a wisdom tooth surgery, or if you need a professional help after getting one.

Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth or third molars often erupt during adulthood. By this time, the mouth has developed a complete set of teeth, and the size of the jaw has stopped growing. It could be the reason why wisdom teeth frequently become problematic. When there is no room in the mouth for another molar, or when the third molar protrudes in an awkward position, it typically results in complications. For this reason, numerous doctors suggest wisdom tooth removal. A third molar surgery is usually performed between the ages of 15 to 20. The situation of your wisdom teeth can be detected with an x-ray. If you don’t feel any pain, but your third molar/wisdom teeth may soon cause a mouth problem, your dentist will recommend removal. There are various reasons why third molar removal is necessary. In this section we will know when the wisdom teeth can be kept or removed.

When Wisdom Tooth Removal Becomes Necessary

The Wisdom Teeth Will Cause or are Causing Damage to Other Teeth

The new set of growing molars may push the existing teeth, which may cause pain or bite problems. The new wisdom teeth may also damage other existing teeth by pushing against them as they grow. This problem can be prevented by removing wisdom teeth that can potentially damage teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Will Cause or are Causing Jaw Damage

Cysts can form around the wisdom teeth. These cysts can hollow out the jaws and damage the nerves.

Wisdom Teeth Will Cause or are Causing a Sinus Problem

An impacted wisdom tooth may cause further sinus problems leading to sinus pain, pressure, as well as congestion.

Wisdom Teeth Will Cause or are Causing Inflamed Gums

The location of wisdom teeth may cause the gums to swell and become difficult to clean. This could lead to more complicated issues such as infection.

Wisdom Teeth Will Cause or are Causing Cavities

Wisdom teeth can cause the gums to swell. The swollen gums can result in formation of pockets where bacteria grow. Thus, resulting in cavities.

Wisdom Teeth Will Affect or are Affecting the Teeth Alignment

An impacted wisdom tooth can cause overcrowding to the existing set of teeth. The new third molars may push against other teeth, which may affect the original alignment.

When Wisdom Teeth Can Be Kept

  • You have healthy third molars
  • Your wisdom teeth are positioned correctly
  • The third molars do not affect other teeth
  • The third molars are fully erupted
  • The wisdom teeth and surrounding gums can be cleaned easily
  • The wisdom teeth don’t cause pain or swelling

Schedule Your Consultation

Schedule a consultation and let our best surgeons assess your teeth. The only way to find out if your wisdom tooth must be removed is through an X-ray, and then analyzing its results. Get your questions asked during your consultation, our highly trained medical staff will be glad to provide answers. For the healthiest teeth and mouth possible, call Hill Country Oral Surgery today.

Can I Have My Wisdom Teeth Extracted without Narcotic Pain Medications?!

Opioid treatment for postoperative pain has long been an integral part of treatment following oral surgery.  Although very useful and well tolerated by many people, these medications come with their own issues.  Before recently we did not have a lot of options for those patients who wanted to avoid post-operative opioid medication use.  With the advent of Exparel, a local anesthetic specially formulated to provide pain relief for up to 3 days following the surgery, WE NOW HAVE OPTIONS!

I am often faced with a myriad of situations for which patients would like to minimize the use of post-operative narcotics.  There is the patient who would like to return to work earlier with a clear head, or the student who needs to get back to the books for an exam.  Believe it or not there are those patients for whom narcotic medications do not even work, and some patients who just cannot tolerate the side effects.  If you are one of these patients, then we have an answer for you.

Exparel is administered at the time of surgery along with other traditional local anesthetics, and then the surgery is completed as usual.  The anesthetic has a special structure that prevents it from diffusing away from the surgical site, and allows it to be metabolized slowly over time.  The result is a constant level of anesthesia at the surgical site that lasts days, allowing you to avoid those times when the pain is at its highest level.  For many patients this can allow us to avoid opioids altogether.

Contact us today, for more information on narcotic-free recovery from wisdom tooth extraction and other oral surgery procedures.