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Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery

Omkar Phatak Apr 10, 2019
Getting your wisdom teeth removed, is not such an awful experience, as the recovery time after it. Here are some tips on recovery, which can make it less painful and easier for you to get through the ordeal.
Wisdom teeth have nothing to do with wisdom. A person with these teeth may not be wise and a wise guy may not have them. The 'wisdom' tag may be due to the fact that these teeth usually erupt in late teenage years or in early 20s which is supposedly the period of the dawn of wisdom. That dawn may never occur, but we are stuck with the name, unfortunately.

About Wisdom Teeth

In medical terms, wisdom teeth are called third molars. Molars are the grinding teeth which do the bulk of chewing. Third molars rarely erupt. More often than not, these teeth cause trouble when they erupt. They either get misaligned after eruption or just half grow out causing pain in the gums and disturbing alignment of other supporting molars.
The later phenomenon is described as impacted wisdom teeth, which collide with and push other teeth causing intense pain. As such, these teeth need to be removed before or when they cause problems.

Removal

As mentioned earlier, since wisdom teeth often cause problems, it's 'wise' to get them extracted. It's recommendation of almost all dentists, in case they do not erupt properly. The wisdom tooth is often very deeply rooted and huge in size. Also, their wayward eruption makes wisdom tooth extraction a complicated job, compared to removal of other teeth.
It is more complicated in the sense, that it will cause more pain after removal, as it is deeply rooted. The extraction method is simple. The gums and muscles of half the jaw, including the tongue are made numb using anesthesia which is administered intravenously. The purpose of this is to insulate you from pain during extraction.
Then enough time is given for the anesthesia to spread sufficiently and once the injected area is numb enough, the wisdom tooth is simply pulled or rather ripped out. There is no delicate way of putting it. Dentistry is a brutal job and if it was not for anesthesia, tooth extraction would be a harrowing experience.
However, you feel no pain, as there is no sensation in that area due to anesthesia. There is an entire field in dentistry that deals with sedating a patient during tooth extraction. In some cases, stitches might be needed when the tooth is extracted from deep within the gum.
Once the tooth is removed, a cotton swab is placed at the position of the tooth and you are asked to bite down on it and apply pressure to stop the bleeding.

Recovery Steps

Here are steps and measures that should be taken for smooth wisdom tooth removal recovery:
  • Bleeding will continue for some time after extraction. Don't remove the cotton swab and keep pressing it down on the extraction area with upper teeth, for about an hour after extraction. This will help in blood clotting and help stop bleeding.
  • For 48 hours after extraction, do not eat any hot or hard foodstuff. In fact, minimum jaw movement is advised by most dentists. You can have cold and soft stuff like ice cream. That is one of the luxuries you can enjoy after tooth extraction. You get to eat a lot of ice cream!
  • Do not gargle vigorously or spit for 24 hours after extraction, as it may hinder blood clot formation and bleeding will continue. Swallow your saliva and do not gargle at all, as the pressure may rupture any clots formed.
  • Avoid any kind of physical contact with the affected gum area with your tongue or fingers.
  • Rest as much as possible, after the surgery.
  • The anesthesia will take about 12 hours to wear out. Once it wears out, you will start feeling pain, although lessened in intensity. Talk as less as possible, as jaw movements will be painful otherwise.
  • You may replace the cotton gauze placed over the affected gum area periodically, with a new one.
  • Restrict to cool fluid intakes for 2 days.
  • After 48 hours, gargle with salt water to avoid infections.
  • Apply an ice pack externally, over the affected area to lessen the possible pain in the first few hours after anesthesia wears off. Prescribed pain killers will lessen the pain greatly. Take them and any antibiotic medicines as prescribed by the dentist.
  • While sleeping, keep your head elevated, so that blood flow towards the affected site is reduced and there is less of throbbing pain.
  • Overall, it's a good idea to make your wisdom tooth extraction appointment just before weekend, so that you get adequate time for recovery.
  • After two days, you can start having regular food. Exercise the jaw by opening and closing it slowly. Initially it will be painful, but the pain will slowly subside and you will feel comfortable chewing food.
  • When brushing, make sure that you don't disturb the affected gum area, as it will put to naught, whatever recovery has been achieved till then.
  • Avoid using a straw for drinking fluids or smoking cigarettes for about 24 hours after the surgery, as it may disrupt clot formation and extend the time required for complete healing.
  • If the bleeding doesn't stop after 12 hours, contact your doctor immediately.
Wisdom tooth removal is a painful experience, but it's better to go through it once, than deal with the pain forever. After recovery, the relief felt is worth all the initial pain you go through. If you follow these tips to the letter, you should be back to your old 'wise' self, albeit without a painful wisdom tooth lodged in your gums.