Depending on the complexity of the case or the patient’s need for a higher level of sedation, Dr. Schick will occasionally refer patients to a very respected oral surgeon he works closely with. Before removing a tooth, a local anesthetic will be given to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. Oral sedation or nitrous gas may also be used, especially if several teeth will be removed at the same time. Oral sedation may make you groggy during the procedure and does require that a companion bring you to the office and drive you home.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. Dr. Schick will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.
What To Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by Dr. Schick or your oral surgeon. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
- Bite gently on the gauze pad, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call Dr. Schick or your oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
- While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek, lip, or your tongue.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop your head up with pillows.
- Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wring out for the following 2 or 3 days.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent future problems. When wisdom teeth come in, a number of problems can occur:
Your jaw may not be large enough to accommodate them, and they may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
Your wisdom teeth may break partway through your gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. Food and germs can become trapped under this flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful. These are signs of infection.
More serious problems can develop from impacted teeth, such as infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or the development of a cyst.
One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to either side causing damage to an adjacent tooth.
How Well It Works
Wisdom tooth removal is effective in preventing:
- Crowding of the back teeth.
- A wisdom tooth becoming stuck in the jaw (impacted) and never breaking through the gums.
- Red, swollen, and painful gums caused by a flap of skin around a wisdom tooth that has only partially come in.
- Gum disease and tooth decay in the wisdom tooth or in the teeth and jaw in the area of the wisdom tooth due to these areas being difficult to clean.