A Step-by-step Look at the Process of Removing a Wisdom Tooth

Has your dentist recently recommended wisdom tooth removal services?

If so, it’s natural to be a little overwhelmed at first. This is especially the case if yours aren’t currently bothering you or causing you any pain. However, there are many reasons why this preventative dentistry procedure is a smart decision.

Removing your wisdom teeth can help prevent crowding, a condition that can lead to orthodontic issues down the road. In addition, it can also help keep your nearby teeth healthy, prevent jaw damage and lessen your risk of oral disease and inflammation.

Today, we’re sharing a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to this process. Taking away the uncertainty can calm your fears and offer you a clear view of what to expect as you take this important step forward.

Initial Consultation

Your pre-surgery consultation will include a complete oral exam provided by your dentist.

Before forming your final treatment plan, your dentist may need to take additional scans or X-rays of your mouth. This helps pinpoint the exact location of your wisdom teeth and allows your dental team to establish an accurate route forward. If you have any questions about the upcoming procedure, you’ll be able to ask them at this time.

Administering Anesthetics

Before removing your wisdom teeth, your dentist will administer a local or general anesthetic to help make the procedure more comfortable for you. Most patients will receive a combination of local and IV anesthesia to ensure their optimal comfort. Local anesthesia helps to numb the tooth and the surrounding area, while IV anesthesia can help you relax.

The exact amount of anesthesia you will receive depends on a range of conditions, including your family history, as well as your own physical needs.

The Wisdom Tooth Removal Process

Want an insider look at what’s going on during your surgery? Once the anesthesia has taken hold, your dentist will gently open up the gum tissue that’s lying over your tooth. This will expose the tooth.

Then, they will remove any small pieces of bone or other abnormal fragments that might be wedged in or around the tooth’s growth path. In addition, they will also separate any connective tissue that may be present around your tooth.

With the target area newly cleared, your dentist will then remove the wisdom tooth itself. Sometimes, the entire tooth can remain intact during removal. In other cases, it can be broken into smaller fragments for easier extraction.

When the procedure is finished, it may be necessary for your doctor to use dissolving stitches to close up the wound. You will be able to rest in the dentist’s office until the anesthesia wears off.

In addition, your dentist may also place a piece of gauze over the extraction site and ask you to bite your jaws together and apply pressure to it. This helps protect the extraction site by creating a blood clot.

Recovery Time

It can take up to two full weeks for you to recover from wisdom teeth removal. During this time, you may notice any or all of the following:

  • Swollen mouth and cheeks
  • Light bruising
  • Stiff, sore jaw
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Dull pain

Your dentist can prescribe painkillers to greatly ease your symptoms in your first few days at home. In addition, it’s also important to get plenty of rest.

Before long, any swelling that you’re experiencing should subside. After about one week, you’ll notice the stiffness and soreness in your jaw relaxing and easing up. The same applies to the taste in your mouth and the dull ache you’re feeling at the extraction site.

All of these recovery conditions might seem disheartening at first, but they are short-lived and usually mild. If you do experience excessive bleeding, severe pain or other abnormal symptoms, it’s important to call your dentist immediately.

At-home Aftercare

Looking for ways to lessen your post-surgery pain and quicken your recovery? The key is to practice excellent at-home aftercare! It’s best to take a few days off work so you can recover at home.

For quick relief, over-the-counter painkillers, such as ibuprofen, can be used according to the manufacturer’s dosage instructions. This medicine can help make the first few days at home as comfortable as possible.

In addition, you can also try using an extra pillow to elevate your head at night if you find that your pain spikes when you lie down. It’s also best to avoid strenuous activities and exercises while you’re recovering. Other activities to avoid:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Eating hard food

Try to stick to soft or liquid foods for a few days and focus on chewing with your other teeth.

Avoiding Dry Sockets

If you’re dreading the wisdom tooth removal process at all, it’s likely because you’ve heard horror stories of someone’s dry socket condition. This happens when the blood clot at your extraction site becomes dislodged or fails to form in the first place. When this happens, the underlying bone and nerves in your empty tooth socket can become exposed, leading to pain.

While this can be a painful condition, it’s usually avoidable as long as you follow the right steps.

First, it’s important to protect the blood clots that have formed in your empty wisdom tooth sockets. These are critical to the healing process and aren’t meant to be dislodged. For the first 24 hours at home, try to avoid rinsing, spitting, drinking hot liquids, or doing anything else that might cause those clots to become loose.

When 24 hours have passed, you can gently rinse the extraction site with an antiseptic mouthwash. Over the next few days, you can repeat this process regularly, especially after eating. If your gums are a little sore or inflamed near the site, you can swap the mouthwash for warm saltwater to help ease those symptoms.

Learn More About Wisdom Teeth Removal

Interested in learning more about wisdom teeth removal? Our team would love to talk to you today. This process doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking or scary. In fact, it can be one of the best decisions you make for your current and future oral health!

For more information on how the process works, what to expect, or how to get started, reach out to us today to make an appointment!.