Unlike other teeth which erupt at specific period of time, the wisdom teeth, in normal adults, erupt anytime from late teenage years to adulthood. The refined food habits in the recent times have reduced the need for a third molar. Also, our jaw sizes have reduced with evolution, and oftentimes, there is less space for these to erupt completely, causing their impaction. The chances of infection developing within the tooth and in the surrounding tissues is very high, requiring removal. Before you go ahead with removal, know the following four things.
- Get a buddy: In addition to the effects of anesthesia, there also would be moderate pain and discomfort, depending on how traumatic the extraction was. It is always best to have someone accompany you for the visit. This also helps you reach home safely without having to drive.
- Numb tongue and lips: The wisdom tooth removal is done under a local anesthesia where the entire quadrant is numbed before the procedure. Therefore, the chances of chewing on the tongue and the lip are quite high. Be careful to consciously avoid this as there are a lot of people who do not feel pain, but continue to chew on the tongue or lip and end up with injuries.
- Pain Management: Once the effect of anesthesia wears off, the pain will slowly set in, and will depend on how traumatic the extraction was. It is always advisable to take a pain killer before the anesthetic effect wears off, usually 30 to 40 minutes after the extraction process is over.
- Diet: For the first couple of days, stay on a completely soft diet with nothing spicy, hard, or hot to eat. One of the best things to have after an extraction is an ice cream, which can be continued for a couple of days after the extraction. Yogurt, smoothies, milkshakes, mashed vegetables and well-cooked rice are all good food choices.
- Smoking: If you have had an extraction, avoid smoking for at least a week. The negative pressure created during smoking can dislodge the clot that is formed in the tooth socket. This can lead to a complication called dry socket, which can be very painful. Avoid smoking at all costs, especially with wisdom tooth extractions.
- Postoperative follow-up: Based on the complexity of the extraction, a postoperative follow-up would be required. Be prompt in following up with your dentist for suture removal, check on socket healing and postoperative irrigation of the surgical site. Resume routine oral hygiene practices as recommended by the doctor.
Wisdom tooth removal requires a little extra caution as compared to a normal extraction, the ideal thing to do is to follow your dentist’s advice.