The back molars, known as wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to emerge, usually in our twenties and vestigial teeth that don’t have much function in grinding out food. As a result, wisdom teeth tend to cause more serious problems, such as severe decay, improper emergence, even horizontal growth under the surface of the gum and the best solution is, more often than not, extraction. Wisdom teeth extraction is also somewhat more complicated than the extraction of other teeth, but even so, the recovery is usually quite fast – here are the factors that influence the duration of the process.
The Extraction Process
Wisdom teeth that have erupted and grown normally are extracted as any other tooth. The wisdom teeth removal Colorado Springs oral surgeon performing the intervention administers the local anesthetic, then the tooth is loosened and removed from the jawbone. However, in many cases, wisdom teeth extraction is more complicated, especially if the tooth has not erupted correctly or it has not erupted at all and is growing horizontally, inside the gum, pushing the entire row of teeth. If the case is more complicated, the surgeon might recommend complete sedation to perform the operation and in these cases, the surgical wound might also be larger, requiring one or several stitches.
In the case of simple wisdom tooth extraction, recovery time is about 3-4 days, very similar to the extraction of other teeth, while in the case of more complicated extractions, recovery might take a week or so.
Complications that Might Prolong Recovery
One of the most common complications after dental extraction is dry socket. After extraction, a blood clot forms in the socket of the extracted tooth. The clot plays a very important role: it protects the socket from inflammations and infections and it promotes the healing. Unfortunately, the blood clot can be lost easily – it can be swallowed while eating or drinking and a stronger swish while cleaning the teeth can also dislodge it. If that happens, the patient will start experiencing increasing pain in the extraction area about 3-5 days after the surgery and the surgical area needs to be examined by an oral surgeon as soon as possible. The pain related to dry socket is usually caused by an inflammation and the doctor might prescribe antibiotics or a special mouthwash to eliminate it. The healing process after dry socket might take a couple of weeks longer than in cases in which the blood clot is preserved.
Other Factors that Might Influence Healing after Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Patients need to take it easy for a while after wisdom teeth extraction – it is not recommended to engage in any strenuous physical activity, to consume alcohol, foods and beverages that are too hot or too cold, foods that need to be chewed, dairy, carbonated beverages and spicy dishes. Smoking is also counter-advised – the draw from the cigarette generates negative pressure in the mouth that might dislodge the blood clot and the chemicals released in the mouth increase the risk of infections, so smokers who have undergone wisdom tooth removal should also stay away from smoking at least for a couple of days after the surgery.