After Extraction of Wisdom Teeth
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, extra gauze, and likely some prescriptions for antibiotics or pain medication. Your prescriptions can also be sent to most pharmacies electronically. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call us at Harlan Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates Phone Number (405) 632-9726.
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. You should cover your pillowcase with something so that you don’t get any blood on it. 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. On the third day, you will notice that your jaw muscles are stiff, and it is difficult to open your mouth all the way. You can apply moist heat to your face on the second and third day allowing your muscles to relax more and open wider. 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. Most patients feel like they are over the hump and on their way to recovery 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:
- damage to the sensory nerve that supplies sensation to the lips and tongue
- sinus communication
- dry socket
After the procedure, our assistants will review your post-operative instructions with you and your escort. We ask that you follow these instructions closely, as they will make you most comfortable following your procedure. Most patients prefer to go home and rest with no other physical or school activities planned for a few days. Dr. Jay Harlan or Dr. James Harlan will review relevant post-operative events with you and answer any questions during your office visit.
Damage to Sensory Nerve:
A primary concern with extraction of lower wisdom teeth is a nerve within the lower jaw bone that supplies feeling to the lower lip, chin, and tongue. This nerve is frequently 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, and especially in older patients, the nerve can become injured. When local anesthesia wears off, you may experience a tingling or numb sensation in the lower lip, chin, or tongue. Should this occur, it is usually 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. If you experience this, please call and tell us so we can monitor your recovery closely.
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 to avoid blowing your nose for one to two weeks following the surgery. 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.
Dry sockets continue to be the most common problem people experience following dental surgery. They arise due to inflammation in the empty tooth socket. This seems to occur with greater frequency in people who smoke. They usually occur in the lower jaw on the third to fifth day. They cause a deep, dull, continuous aching on the affected side(s) that may radiate to your temple or ear. 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, and your pain medication regimen may not help. While dry sockets do not always require treatment, occasionally it is helpful to place a medicated dressing in the empty tooth socket. This will help decrease the pain and protect the socket. The effectiveness in alleviating the pain lasts for 24-48 hours and may require dressing changes every day or two, for five to seven days.
The dressing doesn’t aid in healing. The only reason to place a dressing is for pain control. If medication is controlling the pain, the socket will heal without a dressing. Following removal of the dressing, an irrigation device may be provided to help you to keep food particles from lodging in the extraction site.
Infections, while rare, usually do not occur until 2-4 weeks after extraction, and typically require an office visit and clinical examination. Many times, just placing you on an antibiotic for one week will take care of the infection. If it persists, the area will have to be drained and cleaned.