Possible Wisdom Teeth Complications

While wisdom teeth extraction is one of the more common surgical procedures and the majority of extractions are completed with no issues, as with any surgery, complications can arise after the procedure. In most cases, the risk of these complications can be reduced or prevented when patients adhere to dentists’ instructions for care following a wisdom tooth extraction, and, when complications do arise, prompt treatment can usually repair the concern with minimal repercussions. Some symptoms of these complications include numbness in the jaw, swelling or bleeding at the surgical site, and pain in the jaw and surrounding area. Even if these symptoms are minimal, make sure to contact your dentist right away if you notice anything concerning following your wisdom tooth extraction, and do your part to prevent complications from occurring.

One of the more legendary complications of wisdom teeth extraction is alveolar osteitis, commonly known as dry socket. When the wisdom teeth are removed from the jaw, blood pools and clots in the spaces where the teeth once lived. These blood clots protect the vulnerable tissues inside the sockets and help them heal, just like a scab helps any wound heal. If this blood clot is uprooted, the nerve beneath your gums is exposed to the elements, vulnerable to any invasive elements it might encounter, like food or even air. Dry sockets can happen at any point in the first week following surgery and are more likely to occur in patients who smoke. Other behaviors, like sucking through a straw or strenuous exercise, can also dislodge the blood clot and cause a dry socket. If you notice pain at the surgical site that throbs or is particularly sharp, call your dentist; they can disinfect the area and protect the exposed tissue so it can heal.

Other complications include pain and swelling, which are common effects of any tooth extraction. It’s normal to have some pain and swelling after wisdom tooth extraction, especially for the first few days. Your dentist might prescribe pain medication, though many patients manage with over-the-counter options. After the first few days, if you notice that the swelling and pain haven’t subsided, or if the pain gets worse, contact your dentist. It’s also normal to experience tension in the jaw after a wisdom tooth extraction, and some patients report a restricted ability to comfortably open their mouths. Again, this should subside within the first day or two. If your jaw doesn’t open properly, or if opening your mouth is painful, and it’s been more than a few days since your surgery, your dentist can provide therapies to assist with opening the mouth and to provide relief.

Like moderate swelling, some bleeding should be expected for about the first 12 hours after surgery; it takes a bit of time for the blood to clot as it gathers in the tooth socket. You’ll receive specific aftercare instructions to help reduce bleeding, including rinsing the mouth gently with warm salt water, and you’ll also get recommendations for soft, manageable foods. If you smoke, it’s imperative that you refrain from smoking for at least a week after surgery, though dentists recommend refraining longer than that when possible. The least common complication of wisdom teeth extraction is numbness in the lips or jaw. If the nerve in the jaw is damaged during surgery, this can lead to numbness in the jaw or lips. This is usually temporary, though it may be permanent in some cases. It is, however, exceedingly rare.

What to eat after Wisdom Teeth Extraction