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My Dentist wants to send me to an Oral Surgeon for a tooth extraction, why?

If you and your dentist have decided that tooth extraction is your best option, then referral to a specialist in surgery is common. Although many dentists do extract teeth, there are times when they feel it may be in your best interest to have a trained surgeon perform the procedure.  Oral and Maxillofacial surgeons are specially trained in surgery and anesthesia for the best possible care.

Why do I need my wisdom teeth removed when they don’t hurt?

We recommend having your wisdom teeth out before the roots are fully developed.  The longer you wait the more developed your roots become which, in turn increases the risks of surgery.  At times they will erupt through the gums, but you are unable to brush the teeth properly due to the fact that they are so far back in your mouth.  This usually leads to dental cavities on your wisdom teeth and adjoining teeth.  Over time cysts and tumors can also develop around your wisdom teeth if they are not removed. Wisdom teeth removal is less traumatic and less complicated if they are removed before they cause you problems.  Many dentists also believe wisdom teeth cause tooth crowding and headaches.

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket is when a clot does not develop or comes out prematurely after a tooth extraction.  Smokers are more prone to dry sockets due to less blood flow to the affected area.  The clot develops as a barrier for the socket when a tooth is extracted.  We ask that you not rinse, brush your teeth, use straws, smoke or spit for 24 hours after having your teeth extracted.  Any of these activities can cause the clot to become dislodged which in turn is called a dry socket.  Pain medications will not provide relief, you will need to come into the office and have dry socket paste inserted into the affected area to relieve the discomfort.  This may need to be done several times until the tissue heals over the open area.

What should I do the day after surgery?

The most important thing that you can do the day after surgery is rest!  You should not make plans – regardless of how well you may feel.  Stay off of your feet and catch up on sleep or TV time. You should also start brushing your teeth carefully as it is very important to keep your mouth clean following surgery.  Warm salt water rinses 2-3 times a day beginning one day after your surgery are also recommended to help clean the surgical sites.  You can eat what you are comfortable with (make sure you don’t eat anything that hurts, or anything that can wedge itself into the extractions sites like popcorn, chips, nuts or rice) although we do recommend soft foods such as ice cream, pudding, jello, apple sauce, cottage cheese, yogurt, soup, pasta, mashed potatoes or eggs.  You should make sure to take your medications that have been prescribed to aid in your healing as well. As always, please feel free to call our office should you have any questions.

Why do I need a panoramic x-ray for my wisdom teeth appointment?

Dr. Bahi will need to see a current panoramic x-ray during your wisdom teeth removal examination appointment.  A panoramic x-ray is a large film that enables Dr. Bahi to see your entire jaw and all of your teeth.  He needs to be able to see the entire root system of the teeth to be removed.  There is a nerve in the lower jaw, which gives you feeling in your lip, cheek and tongue and it is necessary for Dr. Bahi to know where the teeth are in relation to that nerve.  This panoramic x-ray also allows Dr. Bahi to see the sinus cavities which are involved when we remove the upper teeth.

If your dentist or physician has taken x-rays you may request that they forward them to our office.  If there is not enough time please pick them up and bring them to our office.  If additional films are necessary they can be taken at our facility.

How swollen will I be after the operation?

Swelling is variable between people and depends upon the difficulty of the surgery.  However, in most cases for the first three days there will be cheek swelling which is uncomfortable but not excessively painful.  The application of ice-packs to the face reduces this considerably.  Most patients use a ziplock bag full of ice or a bag of frozen peas.  This is inserted into a woman’s nylon and tied around the top of the head.  It should be left in place for 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off on the day of surgery.

How much pain is experienced after having my wisdom teeth out?

Unfortunately all surgical procedures involve some post-operative soreness and most facial surgeries involve discomfort. However with carefully prescribed medications, this can be well controlled.

When can I go back to work after my operation?

Post-operative recovery times vary between people due to age and difficulty of procedure.  An average recovery time after four wisdom teeth have been removed is one week.  Most patients will return to work or school two days following surgery.