Oral Surgery

Wisdom Teeth Removal

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Looking for wisdom teeth removal in Lehigh Acres?

At Total Health Dentistry, we are here to help you understand what wisdom teeth are and why they often need to be removed. The first thing to know about wisdom teeth is that you don’t need them. Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars in the back of our mouths that usually appear in our late teenage years. Long ago, our ancestors depended on these teeth to chew rough foods. Problem is, human jaws have decreased in size over time, so now wisdom teeth are more of a hindrance than a help and often need to be removed to avoid other dental issues.

The trouble with wisdom teeth

When wisdom teeth come in, they often come in at an odd angle that puts pressure on existing teeth, especially the second molars. This can throw off your bite, cause decay by creating areas where food gets caught, and even cause painful infections.

Common problems caused by wisdom teeth include:

  • Painful, swollen gums
  • Infection
  • Damage to surrounding teeth
  • Damage to nerves and jawbone

At Total Health Dentistry, we’re experts in removing wisdom teeth.

When wisdom teeth start to appear, we take a proactive approach and usually recommend removing them before pain and damage occur to your existing teeth. At Total Health Dentistry, our dentists are experienced with removing wisdom teeth and will make the procedure as comfortable and safe as possible.

Here’s how wisdom teeth are removed:

  1. We determine the right anesthesia option and administer the proper dose.
  2. An incision is made in the gum tissue.
  3. Bone that blocks access to the tooth root is removed.
  4. Wisdom tooth is removed.
  5. Removal site is cleaned and sutured to promote healing.

After surgery is performed, we evaluate the state of your mouth and advise you on a schedule for a successful and comfortable recovery.

Steps to a successful recovery

Most patients require a few days to rest following their procedure, so we will work with you to schedule your wisdom teeth removal for when it’s most convenient, as there may be some minor bleeding, swelling, and pain. By following recovery instructions properly, you should be back to normal in three to five days.

We’re here for all your dental needs.

At Total Health Dentistry, we’ve helped guide patients from across the Lehigh Acres area through wisdom teeth removal surgery. To learn more and get all your questions answered, please call 239-334-0037.

Recovery instructions – what to expect after wisdom teeth removal

After your procedure, your dentist will provide you with gauze. Apply it with pressure for an hour after arriving at home to alleviate bleeding. Then, bite firmly for 30 minutes before removing and replacing. If you run out of gauze, you can bite on a moist tea bag.

Swelling: Expect swelling, particularly around your lower face, the day after surgery. It will peak 2-3 days in. This is the body’s normal reaction to surgery. Immediately applying ice packs will diminish swelling. If you feel stiffness in your jaw muscles 48 hours after surgery, apply moist heat for muscle relaxation to help open your mouth.

Pain: Medication will be provided by your dentist following surgery. Consult our practice for individuals under age 18. Do not simultaneously take two medications. Prescribed medication should be taken as directed. Do not take any medications you are allergic to or have been instructed by your doctor to avoid. Avoid driving a vehicle, working around machinery, and alcohol. Pain or discomfort should subside as every day passes.

Diet: To prevent nausea, avoid eating or drinking after wisdom teeth removal for at least an hour, including anything prescribed. Only consume liquids in the 15 minutes following this hour, but do not use straws. Sucking via a straw may dislodge the blood clot and cause more bleeding. Soft foods are encouraged and be sure to chew away from the surgical sites. Maintain a high calorie/protein diet and increase fluid intake to 5-6 glasses daily to avoid malnourishment. Water, sports drinks, and shakes are other good ways of maintaining nutrients.

Change in Oral Hygiene: Do not rinse until 24 hours after surgery. After one day, rinsing 5-6 times daily is encouraged. Rinse with warm water mixed with 1 teaspoon of salt and brush your teeth 24 hours after surgery.

Antibiotics: If you have been placed on antibiotics, take as directed to prevent infection. In the event of a rash or any other adverse reactions, discontinue usage and contact our office immediately.

What to eat after wisdom teeth removal?

So, you just had your wisdom teeth removed and are thinking about what you can eat. As with most things, preparation is key. Stock up on easy-to-eat foods, such as popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, warm soup, Jell-O, and other items that require little to no chewing.

When can I eat solid foods after wisdom teeth removal?

For the first 24 to 48 hours, consume only liquids and soft foods, such as yogurt, applesauce, pudding, mashed potatoes, and ice cream. Cold foods are especially helpful with discomfort. As you start feeling better, you can experiment with more solid foods. By day three, foods like soft, fluffy eggs, toast, or oatmeal can be consumed. By the fifth day, you should be able to resume eating firm foods so long as you make sure to chew slowly and avoid taking large bites.

Other helpful information

Slight body temperature elevation after surgery is not uncommon. Tylenol or ibuprofen can be taken to reduce the fever but be careful not to mix medications. Be wary of going from lying down to standing quickly due to lightheadedness caused by low blood sugar or medications. Wait one minute in the seated position before standing to ensure you make the transition at a reasonable pace.

You may feel hard, sharp protrusions near the surgical sites. These are likely the bony walls that supported the now-removed teeth. These will usually smooth out spontaneously but can be removed if they persist. Keep your lips moist with ointment, such as Vaseline, to avoid dry, cracking skin. Sore throats are common due to swollen jaw and neck muscles. This should subside in roughly 2-3 days.

What are potential postoperative problems?

It is important to remember that wisdom teeth removal is a serious medical procedure, and that postoperative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and complications, such as infection and swelling, can be minimized if the above instructions are followed carefully. However, some complications may still arise. Common issues after wisdom teeth removal can include:

Dry sockets: Dry sockets are the most common issue during wisdom teeth removal recovery, typically arising due to the premature dislodging of a blood clot. Dry sockets typically occur in the lower jaw three to five days after surgery, causing aching in the ear that radiates down toward the chin. Those who smoke or consume oral contraceptives may be at greater risk for dry sockets. Luckily, they can be easily treated. First, we will need to perform a quick exam to determine if the discomfort is due to a dry socket. If so, we will gently clean it before we address the issue. Treatment relieves the pain almost instantly and effectively prevents future discomfort as the area heals. This is purely for pain management and does not expedite healing. If medication is managing the pain on its own, additional dressing may not be necessary.

Sensory nerve damage: One nerve in your lower jawbone is often close to the lower wisdom tooth’s roots. It can become injured during the procedure, specifically in older patients whose roots run deeper than a teenager’s. You may feel a tingle in your lower lip, chin, or tongue when the anesthesia wears off, but this is usually temporary and should resolve gradually. However, you should be aware of this possibility before consenting to surgery.

Sinus issues: The upper wisdom teeth are close to your sinuses, and their removal can leave an opening. This is unlikely for younger patients. It will typically close on its own, but we recommend you avoid blowing your nose for a few days.

Infections: Occasionally, infections occur after surgery. They are easily treatable and usually require a quick office visit and exam. A prescription of an antibiotic will typically do the trick.

Following these instructions should ensure a comfortable and safe recovery. If you need any assistance, feel free to reach us at 239-334-0037.