Wisdom Teeth Removal: Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Wisdom teeth are the third permanent molars at the back of the mouth. While some people never experience any issues, others develop problems like wisdom tooth infection or an impacted wisdom tooth, which may require extraction.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

They are the third permanent molars and the last teeth to develop, typically erupting in the late teens or early twenties. We can have up to four wisdom teeth, two in the upper jaw and two in the lower.

Why Is It Important to Remove Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

Often, the lower wisdom tooth may be prevented from proper growth when it is "blocked" by the tooth in front. In such a case, the tooth is called an impacted wisdom tooth. Impacted wisdom teeth may cause an unpleasant sensation of pressure at the back of the jaw.

Furthermore, the gums around the impacted wisdom tooth may trap food and bacteria which may lead to a painful, swollen infection. 

Further discomfort may be experienced if the upper wisdom tooth bites down on the swollen gum below. Tooth decay may develop on the wisdom tooth and the back surface of the tooth in front of it. The decay may often go undetected until toothache sets in and in severe cases, the neighbouring teeth may be extracted alongside wisdom teeth removal. 

What Can You Do About a Wisdom Tooth Infection?

Your dentist may clean the infected area and apply some local antiseptic agent if necessary
Antibiotics and painkillers may be prescribed to reduce pain
If the upper wisdom tooth is biting on the swollen gum, the tooth may be trimmed or extracted, if deemed non-functional and unnecessary to retain
When the infection is under control, the lower wisdom tooth may also be removed after necessary X-rays have been taken and upon your dentist’s recommendation

Impacted Wisdom Teeth Removal

In many cases, the wisdom tooth removal is done by your dentist in an operation under local anaesthesia. You may be awake but the anaesthesia will prevent any pain. You may feel some pressure on your mouth area.

During the operation, the gum around the tooth is moved to one side and some bone around the tooth is removed. Often, the tooth may need to be divided into pieces before it can be removed. The gum is then stitched back into place.

After the operation, when the anaesthetic has worn off, you may need to take painkillers. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to prevent infection or as part of the wisdom teeth removal infection treatment. There is usually some swelling of the cheek which may last about a week. The swelling may also cause some stiffness of the jaw.

Your dentist will check on your condition about 5 days later. At this time, the stitches will be removed
Inform your dentist about any heart condition or any serious illness you have or had
Inform your dentist about any drug allergies you may have
Make arrangements in advance for a few days of medical leave
Have a good meal and brush your teeth

What to Do After the Operation

A little oozing of blood is normal and should be expected. This can be stopped by biting on a piece of gauze placed on top of the wound, for about 20 to 30 minutes
Do not wash the mouth too vigorously or use your tongue to disturb the wound as this might dislodge the blood clot and cause further bleeding
Call your dentist if you think the wound is bleeding excessively
You may place an ice-cold towel or ice pack over your cheek to help reduce the swelling. Do not put warm compresses on the cheek as this will worsen the swelling
Take all the medicines given to you at the prescribed times. If antibiotics have been given to you, complete the whole course
Keep to a soft diet
Do not exercise vigorously or do heavy work
Do not smoke or drink alcohol
After the first day of the operation, rinse your mouth gently after every meal to remove any trapped food at the wound. Continue to brush your teeth

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