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Wisdom Teeth

How long does the procedure take?

Wisdom teeth removal varies in length depending on difficulty.  At Precision Implant and Oral Surgery, Dr. Bulloch specializes in the most difficult as well as routine wisdom teeth.  Because of his experience, Dr. Bulloch is able to remove four typical wisdom teeth in about 10 to 12 minutes and difficult ones in generally less than 30 minutes.  This is done with a minimum of trauma to the area and maximum safety by using 3D x-rays when needed to evaluate the exact shape of each root and the safest path for its removal.  Every movement in the surgical process has a purpose and has been practiced thousands of times.  More precise surgery means better healing and fewer problems.  Since the procedure is generally done with the patient comfortably asleep, it seems like no time at all to them.  With check-in and recovery time, the entire experience usually takes about an hour.

Will I feel anything?

NO. If you have your wisdom teeth removed the smart way, you will be comfortably asleep through the entire procedure.  Local anesthesia (numbing) will also be given while you are asleep so that you will not feel any pain when you wake up either.  We give long lasting pain medications along with the anesthetic medications which also help minimize pain and swelling for hours and even days after the procedure.  Prescription pain medications are also given, but are rarely needed for more than a couple of doses.  Even the most sensitive of patients generally do very well and only require pain medication for a couple of days.

How long before I can play sports or exercise again?

Generally, we recommend 3 days of avoiding strenuous activity (enough to get your blood pressure up).  This is the swelling time, and an elevated blood pressure will lead to more swelling and slower healing.  Normal low impact and non-strenuous activity is fine though.

What is dry socket and how do I avoid it?

Dry socket is when the blood clot that should form inside the socket breaks down and leaves the base of the socket exposed to food and chemicals in the mouth.  This is mostly thought to be genetic and related to types of bacteria that are known to break down blood cells.  It can also be caused by excessive inflammation from poor surgical technique.  Other than good genetics, you can rinse with mild salt water or most mouth washes which will decrease the bacteria count in our mouth and lessen the chance of dry socket.  DO NOT rinse with hydrogen peroxide however since it will break down the clot itself and greatly inhibit normal healing.  If you do get a dry socket, you would notice it is getting more uncomfortable around day three.  Call us and we can help make it better.  Again, the more precise the surgery, the better healing and fewer problems.

What should I do if bleeding continues?

This is a very rare problem.  In most people, the bleeding is minimal after just a few minutes.  A slight amount of bleeding is however normal.  Generally, it is a good idea for patients to put a towel over their pillow since they will probably have a small amount of bleeding at night.  If bleeding is continuing to be concerning, bite on a tea bag (black tea) or on ice chips.  Also make sure that the gauze or tea bag is between the upper and lower jaws where the wisdom teeth were not between the back teeth.  The pressure needs to be directly over the extraction sites.  Once the bleeding stops or is no longer noticeable, it is better to remove the gauze since the pressure will make it more uncomfortable.

What type of impacted teeth are there and do wisdom teeth always need to be extracted?

A tooth becomes impacted when it is blocked from coming visibly into a normal position in the mouth.  Any tooth that has not erupted into the mouth yet may become impacted.  Some people even have extra teeth that will often become impacted as well.  The most common teeth to become impacted though are the wisdom teeth.  Impactions are classified by how deep they are in the bone of the jaw and how difficult they will be to remove.  Impacted wisdom teeth often form close to the feeling nerve that goes to your lower lip and present a significant risk of damage to that nerve if they are not removed correctly.  Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed.  If a wisdom tooth erupts into a useable and cleanable position, it may be kept just like any other tooth.  If however it is unable to come all the way in, or does not come in at all, it will generally need to be removed prior to root formation if possible to avoid problems later.  Leaving wisdom teeth that should be removed has a significantly higher risk of gum disease that spreads to other teeth, crowding, infection, formation of cysts and tumors, and potentially permanent nerve damage.

How long do I stay on a soft food diet before I can eat normally again?

Most of our patients are able to eat normal soft foods as soon as the numbness wears off.  Only hard and crunchy foods need to be avoided.  Mostly it is important to chew gently so that you do not bite your cheek while you are numb or swollen.

When is the best time to get wisdom teeth removed?

For most patients, the best time is between the ages of 14 and 18.  This does vary though.  Some form earlier and can be close to the nerve at an earlier age.  Sometimes the impacted wisdom teeth can crowd the molars in front of them and block them from coming in also.  I that cast they may ne

ed to be removed at an earlier age.  The best thin to do is get a panoramic x-ray which will show all of the wisdom teeth and have a consultation with Dr. Bulloch to evaluate your wisdom teeth.  Usually we recommend that you have all of the wisdom teeth removed at the same time.  This reduces cost, discomfort, and inconvenience.