Most adults have 32 permanent teeth. Four of these permanent teeth are third molars. The third molars are also called wisdom teeth. Some adults might only have one or two wisdom teeth, while some don't have any at all. For adults that do have some or all of their wisdom teeth, they might need to get them removed. This is called wisdom teeth extraction.
To help you better understand wisdom teeth extraction, here are the answers to four frequently asked questions about this surgical procedure.
1. When Should Wisdom Teeth Get Extracted?
Since wisdom teeth are harder to clean, they can easily become infected. When a wisdom tooth gets infected, it can be very painful. Some dentists might prescribe antibiotics for the infection, but others might remove the infected tooth.
A dentist might also remove the wisdom tooth if it is impacted. Besides an infected or impacted wisdom tooth, a dentist might remove a wisdom tooth is that it's crowding other teeth.
2. How Painful is Wisdom Teeth Extraction Surgery?
Before removing a wisdom tooth, the dentist will numb the area so that there is no pain during the procedure. If the dentist needs to widen the socket before removing the tooth, you may feel some pressure just before the tooth is removed.
The most painful part of wisdom teeth extraction occurs after the numbness wears off. This pain usually lasts anywhere from 3 to 7 days. You can relieve the pain with over-the-counter pain relievers or by putting an ice pack over the jaw.
3. Are There Any Complications Associated with Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
Wisdom teeth extraction is a surgery, which means there is always a chance of complications. Some of these complications include excessive bleeding, severe pain, difficulty swallowing, oozing from the socket, swelling that doesn't go down, and a dry socket. If you experience any of these complications, contact your dentist as soon as possible.
4. What Is Recovery Like Following Wisdom Teeth Extraction?
The recovery process following wisdom teeth extraction varies from person to person. Recovery largely depends on how many wisdom teeth were removed and how long the procedure lasted. Along with reducing pain, you should avoid strenuous activity, drink lots of water, rinse your mouth with warm salt water, and avoid tobacco products.
You will only be able to eat soft foods following the procedure. Some of the best foods to eat following wisdom teeth extraction include soup, Greek yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, applesauce, and oatmeal.
For more information about wisdom teeth extraction, contact a local oral surgeon, like Cusumano Oral Surgery & Implant Center.