Answer: Wisdom teeth removal is no different from regular dental extractions. But just like usual extractions there are several factors that can complicate wisdom teeth extractions. If there are no complications removal is done the usual way.
How are wisdom teeth removal performed?
As mentioned, wisdom teeth are removed just like usual dental extractions. A patient is usually scheduled weeks or days before the procedure. An assessment of the procedure to be done is handled by the dentist or dental surgeon; the patient is assessed using diagnostic imaging equipment like X-rays or CT scans to rule out any abnormality in wisdom teeth growth. Physical exams are done and medical and dental histories are also taken. This is the best time to inform your doctor of any allergies or medical conditions that may affect wound healing like blood clotting diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular problems, etc.
When the patient is given a clearance to undergo treatment he is advised to do the following:
- If he smokes, he must quit days or even weeks before the procedure. Smoking will only affect wound healing and reduce the immunity of the person which can also lead to prolonged healing of the extraction wound. Smoking also has so many benefits and quitting for life would be the best thing to do.
- He is advised to keep his resistance up by eating a healthy diet composed of proteins, carbohydrates and good fats. He must also exercise and improve his lifestyle to improve his health as well.
- If the wisdom tooth is impacted and if there is infection, your dentist will prescribe antibiotic treatment and postpones the procedure when the infection is controlled. Signs that the impacted wisdom teeth is infected is the presence of severe pain, swelling on the site, low to moderate fever, tenderness on the site and a positive result of a blood exam for infection.
- There are no special diets or preparations just before the procedure but the patient is usually advised to rest and relax prior to the extraction. Being anxious and restless can only increase your blood pressure and affect the outcome of the procedure.
- Schedule for someone to accompany you on the day of your extraction. You will be given a local anesthesia and it is impossible to drive or commute without assistance.
Minutes before wisdom teeth extraction, the patient will undergo the following:
- Oral preparations are done and this includes gargling with water and an oral disinfectant to clean the oral cavity. Be sure to brush and floss before you leave home. Getting rid of little bits of food will help reduce the possibility of an infection since rotting food is perfect haven for bacteria.
- You will be provided with a local anesthetic to reduce pain while the procedure is being performed. Your dose will depend on many factors; the length of the procedure, the complications of the procedure, your tolerance to pain and your weight are to name a few. Your dentist will usually ask you questions if you can still feel anything on the area before he proceeds with the extraction process. Adding more anesthetic is normal so don’t be afraid to tell your dentist.
During wisdom teeth extraction, you will probably experience the following as your dentist carefully pulls out your teeth. Complicated extractions happen when there is infection, impaction and misalignment.
- The dentist uses tools to extract the teeth from the gums just like an ordinary extraction. Any gum tissue that covers the tooth will be removed to facilitate easy removal of the wisdom tooth. In complicated extractions, wisdom teeth may be partially or completely covered; there are also conditions when the tooth is embedded in bone. In these conditions an instrument to remove gum tissue is used and a small drill is also used to cut away bone to remove the tooth completely.
- Wisdom tooth which is already visible will be loosened from the gum before it is removed; there are also teeth that have to be cut into pieces before it is removed.
- After removing the tooth and all the bits that have been left in the socket, the dentist may use stitches to close the wound or he may leave the wound open to heal on its own. He may use a removable-type of suture or he may opt for an absorbable type instead.
Most dentists use sutures to close the wound since an open wound increases the patient’s risk of developing infections and bleeding. Helping the wound close with stitches will also reduce the risk of food entering the open wound and getting stuck inside the socket.
- Gauze will be placed on the site for you to bite on. Expect bleeding and swelling minutes or hours after the procedure. Pain will also be present. Your doctor will provide you with instructions to follow for your after care. You will need to recover from the anesthetic before you are sent home.
After the procedure, is a critical time for anyone who has undergone wisdom teeth extraction; this is when infection is likely to happen and other complications may also set in. it is therefore important to follow your dentist’s advice all the time especially when you are given medications like antibiotics, medications for bleeding and for pain.
Remember the following after your wisdom tooth extraction:
- Inform your dentist for any unusual signs like severe pain, fever, swelling for more than three or four days, stitches that are removed and bleeding on the affected area.
- Take a rest for a few days to allow the body to completely heal and recuperate from the procedure. Take a leave from work or school.
- Improve your health by eating nutritious foods and taking supplements. You can significantly shorten wound healing time when you are healthy and fit.
- Finally, come back for a check-up. Your dentist needs to evaluate your wound and your condition. He may advice follow-up procedures as well.