As is the case with any oral and maxillofacial surgery, wisdom teeth extraction requires a certain period of healing, and the patient may face the risk of post-operative complications that can extend the recovery timeline. Your oral surgeon can give you some suggestions on steps that you can take to reduce the risk of negative outcomes following your surgery.
Infection is a significant risk following any oral surgery procedure like wisdom tooth extraction, so it’s important to keep your mouth clean after surgery. In the first few days, you may need to make some adjustments to your oral hygiene routine and techniques, especially at the extraction site. Be sure to follow your oral surgeon’s instructions. Dr. Koos discharges patients with a hydrocolloid wound dressing which soothes the socket, promotes healing and reduces the bacterial concentration at the surgical site.
Your oral surgeon can give you some suggestions on steps that you can take to reduce the risk of negative outcomes following your surgery.
Your oral surgeon may also prescribe a preventive course of antibiotics as an additional measure to reduce your risk of post-operative infection. The surgeon may have other recommendations to decrease the likelihood of infection, so be sure to discuss these in one of your appointments prior to the surgery.
Dry sockets are another potential post-operative complication following wisdom teeth removal, and this painful condition is actually the most common issue that patients develop after wisdom tooth extraction, although the incidence of dry socket is only about 10-15%.
Dry sockets occur when the blood clot that provides a protective layer over the extraction site either fails to form or is dislodged prematurely and fails to reform. Patients are advised to avoid engaging in activities that could disrupt the formation or stability of the clot, such as drinking through straws or smoking. Your oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions should also cover some other preventive measures to reduce the likelihood of dry sockets.
In addition to knowing what you need to do to prevent issues following wisdom tooth extraction, it’s also important to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can indicate a problem that warrants follow-up with your surgeon. Excessive and/or persistent bleeding more than 24 hours after the procedure needs professional attention, as do signs of infection, such as a fever or pus at that extraction site. Your surgeon will give you a list of the potentially problematic symptoms, and you can follow up if you experience any of those.
Most patients are able to resume their normal routines within a week of wisdom teeth extraction if all goes well with the procedure and the subsequent healing period. Be sure that you thoroughly understand your oral surgeon’s instructions for your recovery period and don’t be afraid or ashamed to ask any questions that you may have.
For more information, contact the Chicago oral & maxillofacial surgery office of the wisdom tooth expert, Dr. Steven Koos, DDS, MD, and schedule your professional consultation today.