After Extraction of Wisdom Teeth

In most cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide/oxygen analgesia), or IV sedation. These options, as well as the surgical risks, will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed, the gum is sutured. You will rest under our supervision in the office until you are ready to be taken home. Upon discharge your postoperative kit will include postoperative instructions, a prescription for pain medication, antibiotics, and a follow-up appointment.

Our services are provided in an environment of optimum safety. We utilize modern monitoring equipment and our staff are experienced in anesthesia techniques.

What will I feel like after wisdom teeth removal surgery?

On the first day after wisdom teeth removal surgery, you may experience some minor bleeding and pain. Each individual’s reaction to surgery varies, and the sensation of pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. A variable amount of swelling can be expected following the surgery. This swelling usually peaks on the second day and should begin resolving on the third day. You can limit the amount of swelling you will have by using ice for the entire first day. The more ice you use the first day, the less swelling you are likely to have on the second day. Most of the time you will want to limit your activities for a few days. We ask that you follow your post-operative instructions closely. Doing so will make you as comfortable as possible during the first few days following your procedure. Please allow time for your body to begin healing before resuming an active social, academic, or athletic schedule. Patients will usually feel mostly recovered from the procedure in 3 to 5 days.

Are there any problems after the extraction of wisdom teeth?

As with any medical procedure, there can be complications or an unanticipated result. Some complications that patients undergoing wisdom tooth extraction may experience include:

After the procedure, our assistants will review your post-operative instructions with your escort. We ask that you follow these instructions closely, as they will make you most comfortable following your procedure. If you were sedated, you will be comfortable and drowsy when you leave the office. Most patients prefer to go home and rest with no other physical or scholastic activities planned for a few days. With any medical procedure, there can be unexpected results. These can include delayed healing, infection and post-operative numbness or tingling in your lip, chin, or tongue. Dr. Amborski and Dr. Pitcher will review relevant post-operative events with you and answer any questions during your office visit.

A representation of numbness caused by damage to a sensory nerve

Damage to Sensory Nerve:

A primary concern is a nerve within the lower jaw bone that supplies feeling to the lower lip, chin, and tongue. This nerve is sometimes very close to the roots of the lower wisdom teeth. Having these teeth out between the ages of 12 and 18 usually provides shorter roots so that the nerve is not so close to the roots of these teeth. Occasionally, when the teeth are removed at a young age, the roots of the wisdom teeth can grow around the nerve and increase the risk of injury. When local anesthesia wears off, you may experience a tingling or numbing sensation in the lower lip, chin, or tongue. Should this occur, it is often temporary and will resolve gradually over a period of weeks or months. On rare occasions it can result in a permanent alteration of sensation similar to having local anesthesia. We feel that you should be aware of this possibility before consenting to surgery.

A diagram showing the opening that can occur bewteen your mouth and sinuses

Sinus Communication:

The upper wisdom teeth are situated close to your sinuses, and their removal can result in an opening between your mouth and the sinus. Once again, if the teeth are removed at an early age, the root formation is minimal, and this complication is very unlikely. However, if it does occur, it will usually close spontaneously, but we may give you special instructions to follow, such as avoid blowing your nose for two or three days following the surgery. You can wipe your nose, but don’t blow your nose. If you have to sneeze, you should sneeze with an open mouth into a tissue. Pressure should not be created in the sinus area, which may dislodge the healing blood clot. If you sense this condition occurring after the surgery, please contact the office. An additional procedure may RARELY be necessary to close the opening.

A visual of dry socket that developed after the removal of wisdom teeth

Dry Sockets:

A dry socket is the most common problem people may experience following oral surgery. It arises due to premature loss of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket. This seems to occur with greater frequency in people who smoke or are taking birth control pills. While both jaws can be affected, it usually occurs in the lower jaw on the third to fifth day. If this happens, it causes a deep, dull, continuous aching on the affected side(s). Patients may first notice the pain starting in the ear radiating down towards the chin.

The symptoms frequently begin in the middle of the night. If you experience a dry socket call our office and we can help. Oftentimes the pain is caused by food particles which may be lodged at the extraction site which we can remove for you and show you how to irrigate the site to keep it clean while it heals. Occasionally it is helpful to place a medicated dressing in the empty tooth socket. 

A diagram depicting an infection that occurs after wisdom teeth removal

Infection:

Rarely, post-operative infections may occur. This usually requires an office visit and clinical examination. Many times, placing you on an antibiotic will take care of the infection itself without requiring any additional procedures. Other temporary problems you may experience in the post-operative period include stiffness of the jaws, chafing around the corners of your lips, facial bruising, and blood oozing from the extraction sites. The post-operative instruction sheet we provide should answer many of the questions related to these more common concerns.