Recovery From Wisdom Tooth (Third Molar) Surgery
- Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
- What age is ideal for wisdom tooth extraction?
- How can I prepare for wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
- How long is the recovery from wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
- Should I have my wisdom teeth extracted before orthodontic treatment?
- How fast will the swelling resolve?
- How do I use the jaw bra?
- What can I eat after wisdom tooth surgery?
- When can I wear my retainer?
- I had my wisdom teeth removed yesterday and the pain medicine isn’t helping my pain. What should I do?
- Will I have bruising?
- Why is my jaw stiff and sore?
- When can I start working out?
- What is a “dry socket” and how do I know if I have one?
Wisdom Teeth Questions
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. Some people have wisdom teeth that erupt normally and are in function.
Unfortunately, in many people, there is inadequate space for third molar teeth to erupt into functional positions. This can lead to infection, pain, damage to adjacent tooth and structures, and the development of pathology. At the pre-surgical consultation, Dr. Maranon will discuss the indications for wisdom tooth extraction if it is necessary.
What age is ideal for wisdom tooth extraction?
The age of wisdom tooth removal is not set in stone, as different people develop at different times. The same is true for wisdom teeth. It is Dr. Maranon’s opinion that as soon as it is determined that wisdom teeth are mal-positioned or if there is not enough space for their functional eruption is when the indications and timing of surgery should start to be discussed to prevent future problems. Two factors will dictate when wisdom teeth will be removed. The first is pain or associated disease from wisdom teeth. The second is when an informed decision is made to remove the wisdom teeth and then patients decide when the best time is for them to have their surgery.
How can I prepare for wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
Every patient is different, and every wisdom tooth case is different. In Dr. Maranon’s office, patients receive a pre-surgical consultation, unless they present on an urgent basis. At the consultation, the patient receives a thorough discussion, an explanation on how to prepare for surgery, and what to expect.
How long is the recovery from wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
Recovery from wisdom tooth extraction surgery is dictated by many factors. The patient’s presenting condition (pain, infection, or other problems), the degree of impaction, the difficulty of the procedure, any associated medical problems, and the patient’s age. During the consultation appointment, expectations for recovery and things that can be done to speed recovery will be discussed.
Should I have my wisdom teeth extracted before orthodontic treatment?
The timing of wisdom tooth extraction as it is related to orthodontics is determined by consultation between Dr. Maranon and the treating orthodontists. Dr. Maranon has worked with most of the orthodontists in the area. For those that he works with frequently and those he does not, those communications are always in order.
How fast will the swelling resolve?
Swelling is the body’s normal response to surgery and it affects some patients more than others. The resolution of swelling can depend on many things. Is the swelling caused by infection of the wisdom teeth before surgery? Did the position of the wisdom teeth make the surgery more difficult? Lastly, how closely did the patient follow the post-operative instructions? Recovery from surgery requires a team approach. Dr. Maranon will perform the procedure to the best of his ability and patients must do all they can to speed their recovery by following the post-operative instructions (use of ice packs, head positioning, and return to light physical activity). At the consultation appointment, Dr. Maranon gives patients an idea about all aspects of their recovery, including swelling, and how they can best speed their recovery.
How do I use the jaw bra?
The jaw bra is intended to be a pressure dressing to assist in the management of swelling. It should be worn for the first 36 hours after surgery. The ice packs should be used for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off for those 36 hours while awake. When the ice packs are off, they should be placed in the freezer in between items that are already frozen. This will speed up the chilling of the ice packs. After 36 hours, the ice packs should no longer be used as they may slow the resolution of any swelling. The pockets of the jaw bra face out. One of the Velcro straps goes over the top of the head and the other strap goes behind the head. The stitched fold on the bottom part of the jaw bra goes over your chin.
What can I eat after wisdom tooth surgery?
Adequate nutrition is especially important for recovery from surgery. Oral surgery can sometimes make getting adequate nutrition more difficult. At the consultation appointment, dietary recommendations will be given and discussed. Individual modifications to those recommendations will also be discussed depending on the patient and their surgery.
When can I wear my retainer?
Patients should wear the retainer starting the night of surgery. The only exception is if wearing a retainer causes pain. If that is the case, contact the office.
I had my wisdom teeth removed yesterday and the pain medicine isn’t helping my pain. What should I do?
At this point, it is important to contact Dr. Maranon. Pain not controlled by medication may be an indication that something needs to be addressed. You must not take medication found around the house or prescribed for someone else. This is for two reasons. First, stronger pain medications may have side effects and may not be indicated for certain patients. In addition, taking stronger pain medication may mask symptoms of something that may need attention. At consultation, an individualized pain medication protocol will be recommended after Dr. Maranon’s review of your medical history, your physical examination, and the procedures recommended. You will then receive instructions on how to manage pain and a pain management protocol. This protocol will maximize your pain control, minimize unwanted side effects of the medication (nausea), and prevent overdose or addiction to medication. If you have medical problems such as kidney or liver disease, please consult with your surgeon or medical doctor before starting a regimen like this. Also, make sure you are well hydrated if you are taking Ibuprofen or Motrin for longer than 24 hours.
Will I have bruising?
Bruising is occasionally seen after surgery. Bleeding and bruising are caused by the interruption of blood vessels that run through the surgical site and throughout the body. Surprisingly, the bruising may often appear at a site distant from the surgical site. Dr.
Maranon will do all he can to prevent or minimize bleeding and bruising. If there are any questions or concerns related to either bleeding or bruising, contact Dr. Maranon.
Why is my jaw stiff and sore?
This occurs commonly after oral surgery and is called post-surgical trismus. Trismus usually starts on the second day and peaks on the third or fourth day and then improves slowly. These are also the sorest days. For patients that can take ibuprofen, this medication has a therapeutic effect on trismus and soreness. In some patients, Dr. Maranon may recommend Tylenol as well for jaw soreness, though Tylenol has minimal effect on trismus. Medications and other modalities to manage trismus will be discussed during the pre-surgical consultation.
When can I start working out?
Dr. Maranon believes that early mobilization and a return to light physical activity are important after surgery. Early mobilization and light physical activity (activities that do not cause large increases in heart rate or blood pressure) can have beneficial effects after surgery. Vertical positions and light physical activity can aid in the resolution of swelling. Early mobilization and activity can have a therapeutic effect on recovery. Patients that start to return to normal function feel better and are less likely to focus on their surgery and recovery. That being said, patients must be careful not to overdo the intensity of their physical activity. Dr. Maranon likes to remind his athletic patients to consider recovery from surgery to be like recovery from an injury. Returning to vigorous physical activity too quickly after surgery can slow recovery.
What is a “dry socket” and how do I know if I have one?
A dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is a condition that can occur after tooth extraction, usually wisdom tooth extraction. After an extraction, a blood clot forms in the socket to protect the underlying bone and nerves. This blood clot is essential for the healing process. A dry socket happens when the blood clot that normally forms in the socket where the tooth was removed either dislodges before the healing process is complete.
Several factors can increase the risk of developing a dry socket, including rinsing or spitting out on the day of surgery, smoking, poor oral hygiene, traumatic tooth extraction, using oral contraceptives, and a history of previous dry sockets. Dry sockets usually become symptomatic 3-5 days after the procedure. They are associated with severe pain, an empty-looking socket with visible bone, bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth, pain that radiates to the ear, temple, or neck on the same side as the surgery. This is a treatable condition. If you feel that you have a dry socket, please call the office.
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