Wisdom teeth, or the third molars, are the last permanent teeth that grow out. This occurs between age 16 and 18. These mature by age 25 and, at that time, become well-rooted in the gums.

Whether you need wisdom teeth removal in Austin is a decision that varies from individual to individual. Wisdom teeth might become impacted wisdom teeth and can cause some dental problems. For others, the teeth are completely healthy and don’t need extraction at all.

Wave goodbye to your wisdom teeth

What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

woman holding cheekImpacted wisdom teeth fail to grow in their natural position. They either become enclosed within the soft tissue of the jawbone or emerge only slightly.

If your wisdom tooth is only partially erupted, bacteria can enter your tooth area and cause infection. If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, it can suffer from cavities and gum disease since they are hard to brush and floss.

Impacted teeth can also cause diseases, cavities, and infections. Here are some common conditions that cause teeth to become impacted:

  • Slow eruption of these teeth
  • Getting partially stuck below soft tissue
  • Settling lower than adjacent teeth
  • Erupting in an angle against adjacent teeth
  • Over-eruption of top wisdom teeth in absence of lower teeth

How do I decide if I need these teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth removal should only be done if it is hurting your oral health, such as when they become impacted teeth. Get your dentist’s recommendation before making a final decision. If you have healthy and normal wisdom teeth, there is no need for surgery.

Here are some conditions that can help you determine whether you need to get these teeth removed or not. If you answer “Yes” to any one of them, you should get a consultation from a dentist:

  • Do they cause pain?
  • Are they decaying and cannot be reached for cleaning?
  • Do they pose a risk of affecting or damaging adjacent teeth?
  • Can they weaken the jaw or increase the risk of jaw fracture?
  • Can they be removed safely and is the benefit worth the risk?

An important thing to do is keep a check on your wisdom teeth from an early age. Their position and growth can be monitored using radiographs and x-rays. If they appear to be impacted or problematic, you can get them removed early on.

If you do not receive wisdom teeth removal, they could become impacted. A flap may grow over them which can catch food and cause infection. This increases your chance of cavities or gum disease. Also, a cyst can grow around any impacted teeth, causing more damage to your jaw.

Before the surgery

Prepare your food for the coming weeks

While you might be able to go back to your regular schedule in 24-48 hours, you will be on a restrictive diet and will most likely feel sluggish. To make sure that you have enough nutrition pick up some food before your procedure. This will ensure that you have enough at hand without having to go out of your home for food.

Don’t consume food 6-8 hours before your surgery

Depending on the anesthesia used, it is important to not consume any food for a period of 6-8 hours before your scheduled surgery. This prevents any side effects that can occur during the surgery while you’re under anesthesia.

After the surgery

Have a parent, guardian, or caretaker with you during the surgery

When you come out of the surgery the anesthesia used will make it difficult to operate a vehicle. It’s important to have a fully capable adult assist you afterwards to take you home and to ensure that you are safe.

Eat only when you are fully alert

Make sure that you are fully aware before attempting to eat. This prevents any injury that can occur such as biting your lips, tongue, cheeks, gum or teeth while numb.

Eat something nutritious and soft

Maintaining your body’s health is crucial since it allows for healing to occur without any setbacks. Once you’re out of the wisdom teeth removal procedure you might not feel like eating at all, however, it’s important to drink water and eat soft food such as milkshakes or smoothies.

Within 24 hours

After the surgery the anesthesia and any other numbing agents used will begin to wear off. But, expect to have a numb mouth and lips for a few hours after surgery. This also means that you won’t be able to operate vehicles or be in activities that require too much energy.

Change your gauze every 30 minutes for a few hours

Bleeding will occur so it’s important to change the gauze every 30 minutes until bleeding slows or stops completely. This will help form a blood clot in the areas of surgery and will start the body’s healing process. It’s normal to see blood or a red tinge in your saliva for a day or two, with time this will clear up.

Apply ice packs for 10 minutes every 30 minutes during the first 24 hours

Inflammation will occur to a certain degree, however the body’s first response will be to stop the bleeding. To reduce the instance of inflammation, apply ice packs to your cheeks 10 minutes at a time every 30 minutes to constrict the blood vessels and reduce any bleeding that might occur. Do not apply for longer since this could cause damage to your skin.

Do not wash your mouth at all for the first 24 hours

Do not wash your teeth or mouth at all during the 24 hours after surgery. This time frame is essential for recovery and it’s when the body is the most active in terms of healing. Washing would only get rid of the blood clot which could lead to dry socket. Instead focus on resting, drinking water in small sips from a glass, and eating food that doesn’t require chewing.

Take your antibiotics as prescribed

Your dental surgeon should have prescribed antibiotics to avoid any infection during the healing process. It’s important to take them as directed to avoid any complications.

Take pain medication

Pain medication is also prescribed during recovery. Every individual is different so no two prescriptions will be the same, however, it’s important to follow the instructions given to reduce any feelings of discomfort. Pain medication often takes some time to take effect so taking it preemptively in some cases can help.

Numbness and nausea

Numbness is normal after the procedure due to the sedatives used during the removal of your wisdom teeth. This should wear off in the following hours and should be gone in 24 hours. Swelling and numbness can occur for up to 7 days due to the recovery of nerves in the jaw. If numbness is still present after a week, contact us.

Nausea is common if pain medication is taken on an empty stomach. Try to take some food with your medication to avoid any nausea.

Week 1

Apply heat packs after 24-36 hours to reduce swelling

During the 2-3 days after the operation some swelling is expected. Applying ice packs to the cheeks will not be beneficial after a period of 24-48 hours. Instead, apply hot packs for a period of 10 minutes each 30 minutes to greatly reduce the possibility of swelling.

Ice packs work by constricting the blood vessels which reduces the amount of blood going to the tooth extraction site. Once blood has stopped and clotting has begun, heat pads are much more useful since they open the blood vessels and allow blood to leave to the rest of the body quicker.

Begin rinsing after 24 hours of the procedure

Salt rinses are important to do once the 24 hour period is complete. This provides a safe and effective way of removing any bacteria that could infect the damaged socket. Mix a ¼ of a teaspoon of salt with one cup of water to create the salt water. Your dentist might also prescribe chlorhexidine or another prescription mouthwash to eliminate bacteria near your extraction site to keep it clean.

Do not swish vigorously since it could dislodge the blood clot, simply insert the salt water in your mouth and tilt your head from side to side carefully before opening your mouth and allowing the water to drip out. If you spit out this could cause the blood clot to be removed and it could lead to dry socket.

What is the white tissue on my gums?

White material after a wisdom tooth extraction will begin to form on the gums during this time. This is scar tissue that forms as a result of the damage and it’s a natural response by the body that indicates that healing is occurring as it should be. As the days go by this white tissue might begin to fall off, this is normal. The tissue has served its purpose and it’s discarded by the body with continual salt rinses.

Begin reintroducing soft foods slowly

If your teeth have recovered feel free to eat soft foods such as the ones listed below. It’s important to continue eating foods that don’t require any chewing so as not to irritate the area around the healing area. This will also prevent any food from becoming lodged and will reduce the likelihood of you getting an infection.

Hydration and maintaining a healthy diet are essential during this stage, so make sure you’re consuming an adequate amount of food.

Avoid dry socket

Dry socket most commonly occurs during the first 3-5 days of the procedure, although it is still possible depending on the extraction procedure. Many dentists recommend not sucking on a straw, spitting, or cleaning your teeth vigorously for 7 days after the procedure, since these could cause the blood clot to dislodge.

Learn more about dry socket here.

Go for a postoperative appointment with your dentist

Most people see a major recovery in the 1st week, however, a follow up appointment with your dentist 5-7 days after your procedure is important so they can see how you are healing. They will then check the area and provide instructions for water irrigation or provide these instructions before your surgery.

Swelling

Swelling in the face and mouth should go down in the coming 3 days with proper use of ice bags/heat pads. If swelling continues to increase after 5 days make sure to contact your dentist.

Bruising

Bruising can occur in the cheek, eyelids, chin, and neck as a result of the blood loss. This can remain for around 7 to 14 days and should decrease gradually.

Use the water syringe to clean your tooth extraction holes

Water irrigation is important since the hole left by the removed tooth hasn’t healed completely. Gums heal from the bottom up, gradually filling the area with healthy tissue. This means that food particles can get stuck in these holes and could lead to irritation if left inside.

A syringe will be provided to aid in cleaning and you will be instructed on when to use it. To use simply use salt water, prescription mouthwash, or lukewarm water and fill the syringe. Once full, gently place the tip to the side of the extraction site and slowly allow the substance to fill the hole. This will help slowly flush out any food that might have gotten stuck without disturbing the blood clot.

Week 2

Continue eating soft food and avoid crunchy food

Continue eating food that’s soft until you feel comfortable and gradually re-introduce solid food into your diet. You might be tempted to go for crunchy food such as chips. It’s recommended that you wait at least until the end of the 2nd week in order to allow for full healing of the jaw or tooth.

Gum tissue should have covered most of the area

Gum tissue heals at a rapid rate and by the 2nd week the body is working hard to heal the area. Your extraction site should show significant improvement. If your teeth were impacted this could cause the area to heal slower, so it’s normal to see holes for a few more weeks if that’s the case.

Week 3 and beyond

The extraction site should be covered by gum tissue

The gum will completely cover the socket where the tooth was, although it might still be tender to the touch. Take care to not poke or stab the area with a toothbrush, pointy food, or other hard materials. This is due to the area being covered by tissue that can easily bleed if irritated too much.

Some people take much more time to heal, especially those who are older or had impacted wisdom teeth. For this 3-6 weeks are often necessary to see the site heal significantly.

Bone will take time to fully heal

The bone beneath the gum will not heal immediately and will instead be filled in during the next 6 to 8 months. After that the area should be completely healed with most people seeing no evidence of the extraction site.

What about the numbness in my jaw/cheek?

Any numbness that occurred as a result of potential nerve damage should heal in the coming weeks or months. Feelings of tingling are a good sign that the nerve is slowly healing, however, if there is any concern make sure to contact your dentist as soon as possible.

Need Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Call Dr. D’Alfonso and Lakeway Cosmetic Dentistry for your wisdom teeth removal in Austin. If you believe you may need wisdom teeth removal, you can schedule a consultation with our clinic. Conquer wisdom tooth pain and get started now by calling us at (512) 402-9399.

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