January 20, 2022
The Ultimate Guide to Erupted Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth may have been around for ages, but it’s safe to say that they’re still a bit of a mystery to most. After all, why do we grow teeth we don’t really need—especially when we don’t have enough space for them in our mouths? Each year, around 5 billion Americans have to get these back molars removed at a national cost of around $3 billion.
These problematic teeth “erupt,” meaning that they push out of the gums, when we’re between the ages of 17 and 21. However, as we grow older, these teeth can cause serious dental issues. In some cases, an erupted wisdom tooth removal is necessary to maintain a healthy mouth.
If you’re worried about these back molars, or if you’re expecting to get a wisdom tooth removal sometime soon, it’s worth noting that the procedure is incredibly common and safe. Let’s take a quick look at what you should know, how to prepare, and what to expect from your surgery.
Signs You Need a Wisdom Tooth Removed
First things first: many people go through life without needing a wisdom tooth removal at all. If your wisdom tooth don’t cause problems after their initial eruption—by contributing to tooth crowding or jaw pain—you won’t need an extraction at all. Furthermore, some people don’t develop wisdom teeth or develop a partial set, meaning that you may not need to worry about them.
However, it’s important to take note of changes over time that may cause a dentist to recommend removal. If you notice any of the following issues, be sure to bring them up at your next visit:
- Red or swollen gums
- Jaw pain, stiffness, or swelling
- Difficulty flossing or brushing
- Stubborn bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Difficulty opening your mouth
In some cases, your wisdom tooth may become “impacted,” which is what happens when there isn’t enough room for a tooth to erupt. This can cause your wisdom tooth to grow crooked or stay trapped within the jawbone.
Sometimes, patients don’t experience any painful or obvious symptoms from this, which is why the X-rays at your biannual check-ups can be so crucial. Again, an experienced dentist is your best resource for learning whether or not your wisdom teeth are developing as they should.
How to Prepare for an Erupted Wisdom Tooth Removal
If your dentist has found that your wisdom teeth need to go, they’ll refer you to an experienced practice like our team. We’ll schedule an initial appointment with you, allowing one of our surgeons to take a look at your teeth and explain the removal process. Every mouth is different, so your procedure will vary depending on the position and condition of your teeth and how many need to be removed.
At this point, we’ll also go over your oral health history and medications, and we’ll discuss your options for anesthesia. This is a great opportunity for you to ask any specific questions you might have.
Before the surgery, you’ll also need to plan time off from work or school, schedule child or pet care, and arrange a ride to and from your surgery.
What to Expect on the Day of Your Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth removal surgeries are fast, often under 45 minutes. To get started, we’ll administer the anesthesia as requested to prevent pain and discomfort.
During the procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in your gums. They will use specialized tools to split your wisdom teeth into multiple sections, which allows easier removal. Once your wisdom teeth are gone, it’s time to clean the surgical site, stitch the wound closed, and place gauze pads on the affected area.
After your surgery, make sure to have someone drive you home. Everyone has different responses to anesthesia, and even local anesthetics can cause drowsiness.
Recovery and Care After Your Oral Surgery
You should expect mild discomfort, swelling, and pain for the first three days after your surgery. During this time, you should take pain medication as prescribed, and you can also use an ice pack as needed.
For the first 24 hours after your procedure, it’s important to avoid brushing or flossing your back teeth. You should also avoid rinsing your mouth altogether, and be sure to steer clear of any intensive exercise as well. If you experience slight bleeding or redness, sitting upright and biting firmly on a gauze pad for 30 minutes is often enough to help.
As you recover, make sure to drink plenty of fluids—though never with a straw—and to eat soft foods like soup. In addition, saltwater rinses can help you heal faster and avoid pain. Don’t forget to also get plenty of rest!
Though it’ll take a month or so for the site of surgery to heal completely, you should be able to resume your normal activities within about three to four days after the surgery.
It’s not unusual to have a small amount of numbness or a slightly elevated temperature after your removal. However, if your pain or swelling doesn’t go away, or if you develop a fever, give us a call right away.
Request a Consultation to Learn More
It’s worth repeating that erupted wisdom tooth removal surgeries are very common. Though the prospect of facing this kind of surgery might feel intimidating, you’re in great hands with our experienced team. We’re committed to easing your worries and providing exceptional surgical care to every patient who comes through our doors.
If you’re concerned about getting an erupted wisdom tooth removal, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Contact our office to request a consultation today.