Why Is Dental Care Important After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Wisdom teeth are a sign you are getting older and wiser. They’re the last of our teeth to come in, usually erupting in our late teens to early twenties. Wisdom teeth might seem a bit random, but anthropologists believe there used to be a biological advantage to having an extra set of molars.
Diets of early humans used to be rougher and more fibrous, which meant food was harder to break down. Today we have modern diets full of soft, tender food, and wisdom teeth are no longer a necessity. Some people don’t go through wisdom teeth eruption at all, which anthropologists speculate is because of evolution. Some people do, but their wisdom teeth cause no pain and don’t displace any of their other teeth. Oftentimes though, people aren’t so lucky. Wisdom teeth can grow in and crowd the other teeth in the mouth. They can also cause jaw or nerve damage by growing in crookedly. Wisdom teeth can break part way through the gums, resulting in a flap of gum tissue growing over top. The site can become very infected and painful, requiring a dentist’s intervention to correct the problem.
A dentist will generally use a local anesthetic to numb the area. If you’re nervous, your dentist can also give you a sedative. Some people opt for general anesthesia if they are very concerned about invasive dental work, or if they’re getting several teeth out at once. Local anesthesia is the easiest to recover from — something to consider if you have things to attend to the same day as your wisdom teeth removal.
The way you take care of yourself following your wisdom teeth removal is very important. You could lengthen your healing time by not following your dentist’s advice, or you could aggravate the stitches holding the healing site together. Your dentist will give you a set of guidelines to follow after you leave their office. In addition, you may also experience the following:
- Your dentist will lay a gauze pad where your wisdom teeth were extracted. Keep this gauze in place for half an hour, then remove and discard it.
- Be careful not to bite your cheek or tongue! It will be hard to feel pain while the anesthetic is wearing off.
- Don’t lie flat while recovering from your wisdom teeth removal. This can promote bleeding. Instead, sit upright. If you do lie down, be very careful when getting up again. Bring yourself to a seated position for at least one minute, then stand. You could get dizzy and faint by standing up too quickly after surgery.
- Put an ice pack to the side of your face. One of the side effects of wisdom tooth removal is swelling around the area. Applying ice immediately after surgery will help minimize swelling before it has a chance to develop. Leave the ice on for 10 minutes and off for 10 minutes. This will be an easier way to keep the ice in the area for a longer overall time.
- Don’t do any strenuous exercise after getting your wisdom teeth out. Rest for the first day, and be very cautious when reintroducing vigorous activity back into your schedule. It’s better to under-do it than to overdo it!
- Consume liquids only for the first couple of days after your wisdom teeth removal. Your mouth will be too tender to chew solid food, and your stitches could come undone. Water, juice, milk and liquid meal replacements are good staples to have on hand. When you feel ready to try food again, start with soft foods such as bananas, pudding, and oatmeal. Take your time when eating, and try to avoid the site where your wisdom teeth were taken out.
- Some bleeding is normal following wisdom teeth removal. If there is a red tinge to your saliva don’t worry, but if there is consistent bleeding call your dentist. The incisions in your gums have to clot before they heal. If the site is bleeding, place a fresh piece of gauze over the area. You can also use a cold tea bag over the site to stop the bleeding. Tannins in the teabag cause blood vessels to constrict, lessening blood flow.
- 24 hours after your wisdom teeth removal you can start rinsing your mouth out with salt water. Do this several times a day to kill bacteria and manage pain.
Getting your wisdom teeth out isn’t a comfortable procedure, but it’s necessary for the long run if they’re detrimental to other aspects of your oral health. It’s important to seek out advice from your dentist about pre and post surgery care so that your recovery time is reduced and you have minimal pain and swelling. Some people have a tough time in recovery, and for others, it’s a breeze. Every mouth is different, that’s why it’s important to have an expert assess yours.
Don’t be nervous about getting your wisdom teeth out. With the right dentist, clinical environment and information, you’ll be in good hands. Make sure you take plenty of time to rest and recover properly, stock up on soft food, and have an ice pack handy. And make sure to take plenty of selfies with your swollen chipmunk cheeks (you know, for posterity!).
For the top dentists in Rosedale, downtown Toronto and the GTA, contact Dawson Dental at 1-877-542-2043. You can also contact us here. We’re a full service dental practice offering a broad spectrum of care. We have locations across Ontario to serve you best.