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Wisdom Teeth Removal Complications

Mamta Mule Apr 14, 2019
If you experience severe pain, swelling, or numbness even a few days after the tooth extraction, do visit the dentist. Learn about the common wisdom teeth removal complications along with the treatment options.
Wisdom teeth are medically termed as third molars. They are the last teeth developed and are located at the back of the oral cavity. Many a time your dentist might recommend you to extract it, in case of an impacted third molar or severe pain, which can cause infections, damage to adjacent teeth, decay, etc.
In order to maintain overall dental health, you might have to get the tooth extracted. The recovery period usually lasts for a few days. Doctors prescribe painkillers and other medications, if required. However, in some cases, the extraction can lead to some complications as well.

Complications Associated with Removal of a Wisdom Tooth

Post Operative Infection

In rare cases, bacterial infection may occur after removal of the tooth. The common symptoms are abnormal swelling, fever, pain, salty or prolonged bad taste in mouth with or without evidence of discharge from the operated site or limited jaw opening. If these symptoms last for more than 7 days, you may have an infection. You must consult your dentist soon.

Jaw Fracture

A jaw fracture could occur due to wide opening of your mouth during the surgery. As the mouth is required to be opened widely during the surgery, the ligaments of the jaw joint becomes stretched leading to discomfort in and around the jawbone.
Usually, this is cured after taking medications given by the dentist. If the problem is not relived in 7 days, there is a possible jaw fracture. This happens because the bone might be required to be removed to get access to the impacted third molar.

Dry Socket Formation

This is one of the most common complications that is associated with the removal of third molars. If an adequate blood clot has failed to form in the extracted tooth's socket, a dry socket can occur. Also, if the blood clot that is formed in the tooth's socket has been dislodged and lost, it can lead to a dry socket.
As the formation of a blood clot is necessary for the healing process, a dry socket will delay the healing of the tooth socket. The symptoms include irritation and severe pain on 3rd or 4th day after tooth removal. Smoking or drinking using a straw are also known to cause this problem.
You need to consult a dentist in order to treat the dry socket. Dentists usually place a medicated dressing in that area for the healing process, which is replaced after every 24 hours.

Sinus Exposure

The sinuses in the upper jaw are closely associated with the upper wisdom teeth. The removal of such a tooth can lead to an opening into the sinus in rare cases, hence resulting in a communication between your mouth and sinus. This is one of the complications where you might need a second surgery in order to close it.

Nerve Damage

The inferior alveolar nerve is responsible for the sensation in our lower lip and chin, and the lingual nerve gives sensation to the front part of our tongue. An impacted third molar in the lower jaw is very close to these two nerves. These nerves might get injured during the removal.
Prolonged numbness in the lip, chin, or tongue after the local anesthetic wears off is caused due to injury to these nerves. In this case, you must consult your dentist to confirm whether there is nerve damage. In some cases, this problem resolves in a few months while it stays permanent in others.

Air Embolism

Air embolism is one of the most serious complications. This is a rare complication that occurs if a mixture of air and water under pressure find their way from the jaw into the veins and finally to larger blood vessels that go to the heart. This can also lead to cardiac arrest or death depending upon the size of the air bubbles.
Tissue damage and inflammation can be caused due to microscopic air bubbles, while cardiac arrest or death can be a result of a big air bubble. For curing this problem, you are required to be put into a hyperbaric chamber.
These were some of the common wisdom teeth removal complications that can arise after the extraction of the third molar. It is recommended that you immediately visit your dentist in case of any persistent pain or other tooth problems to maintain your dental health and prevent serious complications.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.