Wisdom teeth removal is a very common surgical procedure and it is generally considered safe. But as with any type of surgery, there is always risk.
Although wisdom teeth extraction is not considered to be dangerous, complications can arise during or after the surgery. The good news is, following your dentist or surgeon’s recommendations for after-surgery care can significantly help reduce the risk of problems.
Possible Complications from Wisdom Teeth Removal
- Dry Socket
Dry socket (also known as Alveolar Osteitis) is a painful condition that can occur after a tooth is extracted. After wisdom teeth extraction, a blood clot forms over the bone and nerves in the now-empty socket. Dry socket occurs when this blood clot is displaced, leaving the bone and nerves exposed. The condition, though treatable, is extremely painful.
If dry socket does occur, it’s usually 3 to 5 days after surgery or another tooth extraction. Patients experiencing symptoms of dry socket should notify their provider immediately.
Treatment of dry socket includes cleaning, placing a medicated gauze dressing over the extraction site and the prescription of anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Abnormal Bleeding
Bleeding is a completely normal part of wisdom teeth extraction, especially on the first day while the blood clot is forming. Bleeding becomes abnormal when it continues for several days or becomes excessive in the amount of blood.
Your surgeon will provide gauze to limit the flow of the bleeding and will recommend a soft food diet as well as no rinsing your mouth while the blood clot forms.
Swelling, even when it’s accompanied by pain, is totally normal during the first few days following wisdom teeth extraction. Although it’s normal and can be easily treated with over-the-counter pain-killers, swelling can reach a point of concern.
Any swelling that lasts more than a few days or gets worse instead of better should be examined by your dentist or oral surgeon since it may indicate a more serious infection.
Due to the surgical nature of wisdom teeth removal, there is a risk of infection. This is especially true for patients who fail to complete the recommended after-surgery care. If food particles are allowed to enter the extraction site and bacteria grows deep in the jaw where the wisdom tooth was pulled, a serious infection can occur.
Symptoms of an infection following wisdom teeth extraction include excessive bleeding, pain that doesn’t go away with pain-killers, excessive swelling, oozing discharge from the extraction site and difficulty opening the mouth.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of a serious infection, excessive pain or dry socket, call your oral surgeon right away. If you experience difficulty breathing, a high fever and other signs of infection following wisdom teeth extraction, go to the nearest emergency room or call 911 immediately.
Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is Here
If you’re ready to have your wisdom teeth removed and want the best care possible, Oral & Facial Surgery of Utah is where you belong. Our board-certified oral surgeons are experienced in wisdom teeth removal, dental implant placement, jaw surgeries and more while also maintaining the highest level of patient care. We have offices in Cottonwood Heights, South Jordan, and Tooele, Utah. Schedule your free consultation today!