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Wisdom teeth removal no longer has to be a daunting experience. With modern extraction procedures, along with sedation, a wisdom tooth can be pulled just like a normal erupted tooth, if they have emerged through the gums.

However, if the tooth is still underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone, a small incision will be made in the gum tissue to uncover the tooth. Then, a part of the bone covering the tooth will be removed, often extracting small pieces at a time to reduce the amount of bone that needs to be taken out.

Is it painful?
Wisdom teeth removal is generally painless. You will be receiving a local anesthetic numbing the area just like any other tooth removal. You can also receive sedation to relieve anxiety administered by nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or IV injection. To remove all four wisdom teeth, you will likely receive a general anesthetic allowing you to sleep comfortably through the procedure, feeling no pain.

If you only receive nitrous oxide, you will be able to drive yourself home. With other sedation methods, you will need a companion to drive you home after the procedure.

24 Hours after the Extraction:

Bleeding
While the injection site is clotting after the extraction you may have bleeding. Place pressure over the extraction site using clean, moist gauze and biting down firmly. Avoid rinsing or spitting during the first 24 hours after surgery to keep from removing the clot.

Facial Swelling
Use an ice pack on the face to relieve the swelling. Place the pack 10 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours after the surgery. After 24 hours, switch to heat, placing a damp, warm towel–20 minutes on, 20 minutes off–as needed.

Pain
To relieve minor pain, acetaminophen or ibuprofen will be helpful. You may also be prescribed stronger pain medication if necessary. If you have an infection around the tooth you will receive a prescription for antibiotics. If you do receive antibiotics, remember to take the entire amount over the course of recovery to make sure the infection disappears.

Eating
Drink a liquid diet for the first 24 hours (no straws) until the numbness has worn off. After 24 hours, you can move on to a soft food diet for a few days afterward. Soft foods include yogurt, pudding, pasta, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, soups, etc.

Brushing
For the first 24 hours after the surgery, avoid tooth brushing, rinsing or spitting, to avoid disturbing the clot. After 24 hours you can brush your teeth except the ones near the extraction site, generally for about three days.

Rinsing
24 hours after the surgery you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water after meals and before sleep. Don’t use over-the-counter commercial mouth rinses, which can irritate the socket.

Stitches
Stitches may need to be removed after a week if they are not the self-dissolving kind.

You should start to feel more comfortable around the extraction site after a couple of weeks. Wisdom teeth removal doesn’t have to be scary, with preparation and proper care you can have a good experience. If you have any questions or need to be seen, please contact Dr. Jon Packman’s dental team at 704.873.2211 today!