If you’ve got a recent graduate, they’re probably excited about their newfound wisdom and the doors it will hopefully open for them. If their wisdom teeth have come in, they may be less excited about the discomfort created by these “extra” teeth. The third and last set of molars, wisdom teeth are found on each side of the upper and lower jaws. Most people get them in their late teens or early 20s.
Your graduate may need a wisdom teeth procedure. There are many reasons for removing them. Because they come in so much later than other teeth, wisdom teeth are often crowded. This can affect surrounding teeth, the jawbone, and even the nerves. Sometimes they come in sideways, or in another awkward position.
If the teeth don’t completely erupt through the gums – a not uncommon occurrence – it can enable bacteria to enter the gums and become infected. Even if wisdom teeth come in normally, their location in the mouth makes it difficult to keep them clean.
The only way to know for sure if your grad needs a wisdom teeth procedure is an examination in our Plano, TX dentist office. Dr. Barfield will use digital X-rays to get a good look at your grad’s teeth and determine if the molars are likely to cause problems. Call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105 to schedule one.
Relax With Sedation During Wisdom Teeth Procedure
A graduate of the Texas A&M University Baylor College of Dentistry, Dr. Barfield has extracted countless wisdom teeth in his more than 30 years as a dentist. Using digital X-rays, he’ll determine if any teeth are impacted and their exact position under the gums. That way he can prepare for any potential complications before the wisdom teeth procedure begins.
Wisdom tooth removal often can be completed in less than an hour, depending on the position of the teeth, number of teeth removed, and the condition of the gums. We’ll thoroughly numb your graduate’s mouth with local anesthesia. If they are still nervous, they can receive dental sedation. Three types are available: inhaled sedation (“laughing gas”), an oral sedative, or intravenous (IV) sedation.
Anesthesia and sedation will help them remain comfortable during a wisdom teeth procedure, but what about after? Here are six tips for a smooth recovery.
Encourage Clotting With a Tea Bag
Right after the procedure, we’ll advise gently biting down on a piece of clean, damp gauze to stop the bleeding and encourage clotting. They should apply gentle but firm pressure on the site for at least 45 minutes. If bleeding continues, just change to a new piece of gauze.
To further slow bleeding, they can use a damp tea bag in place of the gauze. Use black tea, the kind usually used to prepare iced tea. The tea’s tannic acid encourages blood clots to form.
Avoid Rinsing & Brushing at First
Don’t brush or floss teeth for 24 hours after the wisdom teeth extraction. Avoid spitting and rinsing too. Leave the extraction site alone as much as possible; don’t touch of poke it, with a finger or a tongue. After the first day, brushing and flossing can resume, avoiding the site of the extraction. Don’t use mouth rinses with alcohol. Rinse with warm salt water, and avoid overly vigorous rinsing or spitting.
Avoid Changes in Air Pressure
Your graduate should avoid changes in air pressure. They can dislodge the blood clot at the extraction site, causing a painful complication called a dry socket. Avoid:
- Drinking through a straw
- Blowing the nose
It’s also a good idea to avoid exercise for a few days, as an increase in blood pressure can also cause a clot to come out of the socket. How will you know if you have a dry socket? If your degree of discomfort hasn’t lessened in three or four days, you may have a dry socket. Give us a call.
Use Cold, Then Heat to Reduce Swelling
Use ice packs to reduce swelling. If swelling continues longer than a day or two, switch to a heating pad or warm towels instead of ice. The warm compresses should reduce swelling in the jaw, cheeks, and temples. They’ll help with discomfort too.
If your grad got a prescription for pain relief medication, see that they take the meds as directed. They can also use an over-the-counter product like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve).
Stick With Soft Foods for a Day or So
Drink plenty of water following the root canal procedure. Avoid both solid foods and spicy foods for the first 24 hours or so. After that, stick to cool, soft foods for a few days. Yogurt, scrambled eggs, milkshakes, pudding, and soup (if not too hot) are all good choices.
Finally, if you’re concerned about any aspect of your graduate’s recovery, call 1st in Smiles at 972-380-8105.