Possible wisdom teeth removal complications

Wisdom teeth emerge in most adults between the ages of 17 and 24. If you haven’t talked to your dentist about your wisdom teeth yet, it’s likely that you will. Wisdom teeth are located far in the back of the mouth, behind the other molars. Because they are so tucked away, they are very difficult to clean. In many cases, they also cause the other teeth to crowd or come in at awkward angles, affecting your bite, because there is no room for them in the mouth. Removing them is usually the optimal option for most people’s oral health.

The wisdom teeth removal with Dr. Michael Drone is very common and usually without complications. However, sometimes complications can occur. According to a study in the American Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, as many as 30% of wisdom teeth removal patients experience some complications. Preparing for these possible outcomes is the best way to handle them, or even to possibly prevent them.

The first complication from wisdom teeth extraction surgery is alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as “dry socket.”  The normal healing procedure for a wisdom teeth extraction requires a blood clot to form over the site of the surgery, essentially filling the hole left by the extracted tooth and allowing new gum tissue to form. If this blood clot is disrupted, dry socket can result. Dry socket is vastly more common among smokers than among non-smokers, and is most likely to appear only in the bottom jaw. Dry socket can occur anywhere from three to five days after surgery. Symptoms include throbbing in the jaw and a foul smell or taste near the surgery site. Be sure to call your dentist if these symptoms appear. The dentist will clean out the surgery site and pack it with medicated dressing, which you will need to monitor and change until the site heals.

All patients experience at least minimal pain and swelling following a wisdom teeth extraction. Studies have found that the amount of swelling and pain is usually connected to the duration of the surgery, though most patients reported no pain a week after surgery. Your dentist will talk to you about a pain management plan for after your surgery, including medications, eating soft foods, and avoiding general muscle strain.

Some patients report an inability to fully open the mouth, following extended procedures like wisdom teeth extraction. This condition is called “trismus,” and younger patients, especially those with an impacted wisdom tooth, experience it much more frequently than older patients. Your dentist will work with you to pinpoint the cause of the issue and discuss appropriate therapies, which may include pain medications, mechanical devices to open and stretch the jaw, heat therapy, or muscle relaxants. More than a quarter of patients reported excessive bleeding immediately following wisdom teeth extraction, usually for up to a day. Your doctor will talk to you about the best ways to reduce this bleeding, which include rinsing the mouth with saline rinse, avoiding smoking, and avoiding muscle strain. Due to their proximity to the inferior alveolar nerve, which runs through the jaw, wisdom teeth extraction may sometimes lead to nerve damage. This can lead to lip numbness. This is a very rare complication of wisdom teeth extraction, affecting only about 2% of patients. In many cases, this condition spontaneously resolves over a brief time period. Your surgeon will discuss this risk with you before your surgery and will minimize the likelihood of it occurring. The risk for complications in wisdom teeth extraction can vary based on anything from gender, age, oral hygiene, or smoking habits, to the shape of the patient’s mouth, so be sure to talk to your dentists with any concerns you have or for any clarifications you might need.

More on Wisdom Tooth Extraction : Impacted Wisdom Teeth

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