Extraction of a wisdom tooth (third molars) is necessary for the prevention of the spread of infection. Wisdom teeth extraction also provides permanent pain relief in cases when the tooth is impacted, and does not grow out from under the gum line; in this situation, the tooth pushes sideways against the other teeth, causing extreme pain. An impacted wisdom tooth is also very prone to decay, since it is very difficult to properly brush and clean the tooth from under the gum line.
A surgical extraction may be needed in cases when the wisdom tooth is under the gum line, or if a simple extraction is not possible to remove all of the pieces of the tooth. A local anesthetic will be applied in the extraction area to prevent discomfort during the procedure.
After the removal of the wisdom tooth, it is important to properly follow aftercare tips which will ensure that complications will not develop. Taking proper care after the extraction will also prevent further discomfort and pain associated with the time immediately following a wisdom tooth removal.
Wisdom Tooth Aftercare Tips
The dentist will place a gauze pad or cotton ball on the extraction site, to deal with the bleeding. Pressure should periodically be put on this gauze or cotton ball, to stem the flow of blood. The gauze pad should be when it gets soaked with blood.
Keeping the head elevated when lying down helps stem the bleeding. Lying down flat can make the bleeding last for a longer period of time.
Heavy exercise or physical activities should be avoided immediately after the wisdom tooth extraction. This is because the physical activities will contribute to heavy bleeding on the extraction site. Patients are advised to relax and avoid strenuous activities for the first few days following the surgical procedure.
A straw should not be used for the first few days following the extraction, as the sucking motion can dislodge the blood clot formed on the extraction site. If the blood clot is removed, the healing process will take a longer time to be completed.
Soft food items are recommended immediately after the wisdom tooth removal. Pudding, soups, and gelatin can be taken for nourishment, to ensure that the affected area will not be disturbed by hard food items.
A warm saltwater solution can be gently gargled to clean the area, and also to relieve the pain. It is important to gargle as gently as possible, to avoid dislodging the blood clot.
Touching the extraction site with the tongue or fingers should be avoided, to prevent infection and further pain.
Smoking should be avoided for at least 24 hours following the surgery. The chemicals in cigarette or tobacco smoke can bring infection to the area, while the sucking motion can dislodge the formed blood clot.