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Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery Tips

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If you’ve got a teenager, you don’t want to indulge them too much. According to psychologists and other experts, highly protective parenting doesn’t do your child any favors. Still, there are times it’s OK to baby your teen a little. One of those times is after they’ve had their wisdom teeth removed.

Given that, we’re sharing some wisdom teeth recovery tips for your teen – or anyone else. If you’ve got questions about wisdom teeth or any other aspect of your teenager’s dental care, call us at 248-712-1522.

When Wisdom Teeth Are a Problem

At North Oaks Dental, we keep a close eye on your teen’s wisdom teeth to see if proactive removal is needed. If there is any question about whether wisdom teeth are coming in correctly, we use advanced technology like intraoral cameras and 3D X-ray imaging to check them out.

There are a number of reasons when proactive removal of wisdom teeth makes sense. Among them:

  • Teeth are too crowded. Because they come in so much later than other teeth, there often just isn’t enough space for them. This can adversely impact surrounding teeth, the jawbone, and even the nerves.
  • Teeth are impacted. If they don’t come completely through the gums, they can make it easier for bacteria to get in between teeth and gums. This can cause gum disease and other problems.
  • Teeth that are crooked or otherwise misplaced. Again, this is not good for other teeth and can wreak dental havoc.
  • Hard to clean teeth. The teeth are often positioned so far back in the mouth that it’s tough to keep them clean.

Removing Wisdom Teeth Not a Big Deal

In many cases, removing wisdom teeth isn’t very different from other extractions. Our Royal Oak, MI dentists have plenty of experience. In fact, other dentists sometimes refer their wisdom teeth extractions to us! We use our 3D imaging and other technology to carefully plan the extraction. Using this tool reveals the exact location of the teeth and makes our dentists aware of any possible complications before the procedure begins.

We not only use local anesthesia but can also offer dental sedation. Unlike most general dentists, we offer a choice of three different kinds. Because anxiety levels can vary, we want to make sure our patients can choose one that will keep them relaxed throughout their procedure.

The choices:

  • Inhaled sedation, given through a small mask, gives a euphoric sensation. We can adjust the level received throughout the procedure. It takes effect quickly and wears off quickly too.
  • Oral sedation, given through a pill taken before the procedure, provides a deeper level of relaxation. The patient will remain groggy for a few hours after treatment.
  • IV sedation, administered intravenously, keeps the patient in a deeper, dreamlike state.

This is where the babying can begin. Have a supportive family member or friend drive the patient to and from the procedure. They’ll know how to help your teen feel less stressed, whether it’s telling jokes or just getting the whole thing over as quickly as possible. We have headphones so your teen can listen to music. This will help block out the sounds and sensations of the extraction.

What Will Happen After the Extraction

There will be some bleeding and swelling after wisdom teeth removal. If your teen tends to freak out at the sight of a little blood, it’s best to prepare them for this ahead of time. We’ll give you gauze to keep over the extraction site. They should keep gentle pressure on it for about 45 minutes. If bleeding persists more than a few hours, try using a damp tea bag on the site. The tea contains tannic acid, which can help clots form and bleeding stop. Use black tea, the same kind you’d use to make iced tea.

Your teen should plan on resting at least 12 hours. Have them relax and keep their head raised. Avoid lifting or other physical activity. They probably won’t mind filling their Netflix queue and skipping a day of school!

Do’s and Don’ts for Recovering From Wisdom Teeth Removal

After the extraction, do:

  • Use ice packs to control swelling. If swelling remains after 24 hours, use warm towels instead.
  • Take the medication we’ve recommended, whether it’s a prescription med or over-the-counter pain relief.
  • Drink lots of water.
  • Stick to liquid or soft foods like soups, milkshakes, or mashed potatoes for a day or two. No spicy foods!

Fortunately, many of the don’ts are things your teen probably won’t want to do anyway. For example, don’t touch the extraction site – with a finger or a tongue. Less obvious don’ts:

  • Brush your teeth. It’s also best to avoid any spitting or rinsing for the first 24 hours. On the second day, use a warm salt-water rinse several times a day. It’s an especially good idea to rinse after meals.
  • Drink through a straw.
  • Take aspirin. You want to encourage clotting, and aspirin thins the blood.

While some pain is normal, it’s usually a dull ache. If the pain sharpens or the area becomes more sensitive, give us a call. Your teen may need to come in so we can make sure they don’t have a condition called dry socket. Fortunately, it’s not common. But it’s painful and will impair healing if not treated.

Having trouble remembering all these wisdom teeth removal recovery tips? Don’t worry! We’ll give you instructions. If you have any questions or concerns, we’re just a phone call or office visit away. Call us at 248-712-1522.

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