One of the most common oral operations in the USA is wisdom teeth extraction. According to an estimate, 95% of Americans get their wisdom teeth removed even if they don’t pose any health problems. Looking at the number of complications these teeth cause because of their absurd positioning and late age of development makes it understandable why a lot of people go ahead and get it at a young age, proactively preventing the plethora of painful health conditions and hygiene problems wisdom teeth leads to.
Even though it is a commonly practiced procedure worldwide, these days, some doctors advise against getting it removed unless absolutely necessary. Given that wisdom teeth removal was almost a right of passage for American youngsters, one might wonder why doctors are now recommending against it. The answer lies in the accompanying risks and possible difficulties this surgery can cause.
A lot of factors influence the aftermath of wisdom teeth removal. Especially for patients going in for the procedure, it is important to know what to expect and how to lower down the probability of any complication. This blog takes you through the aftermath of wisdom teeth removal surgery and the important facts to note.
WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTION PROCEDURE:
Before we proceed further, it is essential to know the surgical process of extraction to understand the aftermath of wisdom teeth removal better.
The procedure of extraction depends on the positioning of teeth. Wisdom teeth develop at a time when permanent ones have already replaced milk teeth. Due to this, there is very little, or no room left for the large flat wisdom teeth to develop and grow properly. Therefore, they often grow at a horizontal angle or sideways. At other times they don’t even erupt out entirely of the gums. Instead, they become impacted that is they either partially or wholly remain inside the soft tissues or the jaw bone. The number of problems wisdom teeth cause is attributed to their weird position.
The extraction process for a fully grown wisdom tooth is the same as any other tooth in the mouth. But in the case of impaction, it gets a bit complex. To reach your impacted teeth, the doctor is required to cut through the gums and the jaw bone around. The tooth mostly does not come out in the whole piece to preserve as much jawbone and soft tissue as possible.
Wisdom teeth surgery is a major operation and involves many complexities and intricacies. A lot of the post-operational problems occur because of something going wrong during the process.
POSSIBLE COMPLICATIONS OF THIRD MOLAR EXTRACTION:
Wisdom teeth or the set of third molars can result in the following complications:
DRY SOCKETS: After the surgery, a blood clot forms at the site of extraction. This clot helps in healing and covers the site, protecting it from bacteria, saliva, and other things that could result in infection. It is easy for this blood clot to dislodge. It could happen either due to harshly brushing it off or even drinking from a straw. This displacement of the blood clot is called ‘alveolar osteitis,’ also known as dry socket. It is an extremely painful condition and leaves the socket open, exposing the nerves and the bones. This could cause significant damage to the site if left untreated.
NERVE INJURY: Wisdom teeth lie in close relation to the inferior alveolar nerve. This nerve supplies the lower teeth, lips, and chin. This nerve can get damaged during the surgery, causing loss of sensation in the lips and surrounding area. Mostly the injury is minor and causes temporary damage only, but in severe cases, the loss of sensation could be permanent. It is important to mention that this condition is rare, but it is crucial to choose an experienced professional dentist for yourself to stay on the safe side.
INFECTIONS: After removing the teeth, it takes at minimum a week to recover and resume a regular routine. Swelling and pain make it difficult to brush adequately. Besides, as a result of a dry socket also, the exposed area can develop infections. The chances of infection are less than 2%, but it is still a possible painful situation, so you must abide by the doctor’s guidelines to prevent it.
Discussed above are some of the main complications of wisdom teeth surgery. Your experiences after the operation largely depend on the occurrence of these. Now that you know about it let us move to the main subject- the after-effects.
THE AFTERMATH AND SIDE EFFECTS OF WISDOM TEETH SURGERY:
Following are the possible risks and side effects of wisdom teeth extraction. The probability of their occurrence depends on how extensive the procedure needs to be.
VOMITING: After surgery, the doctor prescribes medicines to combat pain and other problems, if any. These medicines might not suit every patient and can cause nausea and vomiting. While it is normal to throw up after surgery, the doctor should be called if it continues for a day or two.
SWELLING: Swelling is typical after surgery. According to a study, all patients that underwent wisdom teeth extraction surgery experienced pain and swelling. This swelling lasts between a couple of days to a few weeks and goes away on its own. Home care routines like applying an ice pack or warm water bags can help with it.
SORE THROAT: Teeth extraction surgeries require you to keep your mouth open for the entire procedure. In the case of wisdom teeth, this continues for approximately 45 minutes. Therefore, sore throat and dried bruised lips are expected after the operation.
FEVER: Some people experience fever after the surgery. It is a serious condition, and if it gets high or persists for days, the doctor should be consulted immediately.
DENTAL CYSTS: Dental cysts might develop as a result of infections or dry sockets. The wound at the extraction site might also get bruised, leading to cysts. It is a severe condition and can damage jawbone, teeth, and nerves.
BLEEDING: Traces of blood after oral surgery is normal. But if the blood continues oozing out of the wound days after the extraction, that could result from infection or gum inflammation.
PAIN: Pain after oral surgeries is normal, and doctors give you pain killers to keep it in control. If, however, the pain does not go away even after 3-4 days, you should call your dentist. Excruciating pain for an extended period might indicate the development of a secondary complication.
Many factors determine the aftermath of wisdom teeth removal, such as how involved the procedure had to be, what position your teeth were in before removal, the success of the surgery, and how well you cared for the oral health after the procedure. It is essential to ask your doctor as to what you should be expecting as a patient. Bear in mind that it is paramount to inform them if you feel any complications arising.
HOW TO CARE FOR TEETH AFTER SURGERY?
Good aftercare can significantly reduce the risks of any complications and can help you recover fast. Given below are some of the tips, dos, and don’ts after wisdom teeth extraction surgery.
AVOID SMOKING: Research tells that smoking increases the risk of infection, dry sockets, and gum diseases.
MAINTAIN ORAL HYGIENE: One of the primary reasons wisdom teeth removal is preferred is that it is difficult to maintain. They are located at the backside of the mouth, often ingrown, and no matter how hard you try, it isn’t easy to clean. After the surgery, due to wounds and other reasons, your gums, teeth, and bones become even more prone to inflammation and diseases.
Regularly flossing and brushing can help prevent decay, cysts, and infection.
FOLLOW THE PRESCRIPTION: Your doctor would inquire about your health history if you are on any medications, your past surgeries before the operation. Based on that, they would prescribe a personalized aftercare plan and prescriptions. It is incredibly crucial to stick to your doctor’s advice to ensure a healthy recovery.
REGULAR DENTAL CHECKUPS: Routine dental checkups should anyways be practiced. But particularly after oral surgery, that too a major one, it becomes even more important to schedule regular appointments with your dentist. This is helpful not just to keep the health of other teeth in check but also to catch any developing health problem so that it could be nipped in the bud.
DON’T DO HEAVY EXERCISES: Strenuous workouts, cardio, heavy lift, and other hardcore sports and exercises might put a strain on your teeth and slow down the healing. Therefore, at least for a week after the operation, heavy exercises should be avoided. You can go for easy yoga asanas or some other light, less energy-consuming, quick workouts.
EAT SOFT FOODS: Oral surgeries can increase the sensitivity of teeth many folds. It is, therefore, better to consume mild soft foods and fluids to prevent pain. Solid food can get stuck between the dry socket and can be difficult to remove; hence, it should be avoided.
We hope you gained some valuable, helpful knowledge on wisdom teeth surgery and its aftermath. Now that you know the possibilities after surgery, stay prepared for them mentally and consult your doctor if you have any fear or confusion concerning it.