Wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure performed by a dentist or oral surgeon to remove one or more of your third molars. These molars, or wisdom teeth, are the final teeth to grow in and usually appear in a person’s late teens or early twenties. Most people have four wisdom teeth — one on each side of the upper and lower jaws. However, in some cases it is possible to only develop a few wisdom teeth, or none at all.
No matter when they erupt or how many you have, your dentist might suggest wisdom teeth removal for a number of reasons. The back molars can sometimes cause dental issues, including impaction of the tooth in the jawbone or gums, misalignment, tight spacing or decay.
While the extraction of teeth does qualify as surgery, wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure that is safely performed every day by dental professionals.
Aftercare for Wisdom Teeth Removal
After your third molars have been removed, it is important to follow the dentist’s guidelines for aftercare. The ease and speed at which your mouth heals is heavily influenced by how intently you adhere to the dentist’s post-surgery instructions.
Your doctor may make recommendations such as:
- Avoid any activity that could encourage bleeding, dislodge the blood clot and slow healing time. This includes sucking through a straw, rinsing vigorously or exercising.
- Manage swelling and pain with over-the-counter pain medications and ice.
- Drink plenty of fluids and eat soft, nutritious foods on the day of surgery.
- Resume regular brushing and flossing after 24 hours to keep your mouth clean and prevent infection.
Nicotine Use After Tooth Extraction
To reduce your risk of complications such as dry socket, doctors recommend avoiding nicotine products for at least a week after surgery. Even using a tobacco-free nicotine pouch after wisdom teeth removal can lead to post-surgery difficulties. The action of inhaling, chewing or sucking required of many nicotine commodities can disturb clotting, interfere with the recovery process and sometimes cause infection. Many dentists counsel patients to refrain from dipping, chewing and other types of nicotine consumption until the extraction sites are completely healed.