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About 85% of wisdom teeth require removal (according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons) because of tooth crowding or impacted wisdom teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth are trapped in the gums and can lead to dental problems such as pain, infection or misalignment of the other teeth. The wisdom teeth might emerge only partially or remain completely trapped under gum and bone.
Pain, swollen/tender/bleeding gums, swelling in the jaw area, bad breath, unpleasant taste in the mouth near the affected teeth, headache/jaw ache, difficulty opening the mouth, swollen lymph nodes in the neck can be caused by impacted wisdom teeth. Your dentist can confirm symptoms by taking your dental x-rays where the exact position of your wisdom teeth will be revealed. If your wisdom teeth need removal, your dentist will perform a surgery usually under local anaesthetic to remove the tooth. Afterwards, the tooth socket is stitched and the empty location is packed with gauze. Your dentist will advise you to on diet for a few days and you will receive medication and painkillers after the tooth is removed.
Prepare for Wisdom Tooth Surgery
When you make your appointment, plan ahead so that you will have time to recover after the surgical treatment. If you are on medications or a period, schedule your wisdom tooth extraction when you have finished your medication to be at your best. Before you have surgery, go to the market and get a supply of soft foods that are easy to eat without chewing, such as yoghurt, jelly, soup, pudding, cottage cheese, etc for you to consume after the wisdom teeth surgery. Have your choice of movies, music, games and books available to keep your mind off any discomfort that you might have after surgery. It is advisable not to drive yourself to the wisdom teeth surgery as you may be groggy or not feel well enough to drive home alone afterwards. Ask a friend or family member to accompany you if possible.
Recovery from Wisdom Tooth Surgery
After your surgery, follow your dental surgeon’s instructions carefully, taking care to take the correct dosage of all the medicines and completing the antibiotics prescribed. It is normal if you are experiencing some bleeding, just change the gauze and leave the clean area alone so that it will dwindle and stop naturally. If you have reached home and run out of gauze, moist teabags can be used in an emergency. If you have swelling or pain, you can apply an ice pack to your cheek to sooth the acute symptoms. It will be time to rest and recover, use extra pillows to keep swelling to a minimum. Keep all the things you need handy by your bedside so that you don’t have to keep getting up to fetch want you want. Drink without using straws to prevent extra bleeding.
After a day, you can use salt water to rinse your mouth gently to reduce any irritation. Avoid gargling strongly because this may disturb the healing process. Don’t forget that alcohol and nicotine in tobacco products inhibit the healing process - and may interfere with the medications prescribed by your dental surgeon.
Comfort after Wisdom Tooth Surgery
While some of our patients do not experience pain after wisdom tooth surgery, we take care to ensure that if you experience discomfort then it is minimised to be easily tolerable. Please discuss your available pain management options with your dental surgeon when you are planning for the wisdom tooth extraction. Elite Dental Group patients have access to comprehensive pain management systems including specialist treatment by 2 visiting anaesthetists.
Please take your prescribed painkillers after wisdom teeth surgery. You can begin to take them immediately with a light soft snack even while the anaesthetic is still numb. This ensures that you do not experience increasing discomfort as the anaesthetic wears off gradually. While you are still anaesthetised and/or taking pain medication, please avoid driving or operating heavy machinery as it will be hazardous. Please contact us immediately if you begin to experience detrimental side effects such as nausea or vomiting, so that your dental surgeon can change your pain medication so that it does not make you sick.
General Advice for Recovery from Wisdom Tooth Surgery
Have soft foods after surgery. Besides yoghurt, jelly and pudding, congee, soft boiled noodle soup and soft boiled eggs are alternatives. Apply lip balm to keep your lips moist. Rinse gently with salt water after eating to minimise discomfort. Remember to take your medication, set a timed alarm on your phone if necessary.
Nothing helps your health and recovery better than the love and care that family or friends can give - seek their help around the house, taking your calls or making you comfortable - and there has never been a better time to show your appreciation for their love and care.