Wisdom Teeth Removal Complications

Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Complications

Is the thought of wisdom teeth removal keeping you up at night? Understanding the possible wisdom teeth removal complications associated with this procedure can help alleviate your fears and prepare you for the road to recovery.

Our Prairie Village dentist goes over the postoperative complications that can occur. While these are rare, it’s best to be prepared. Contact our dental office today at 913-362-4488 if you have any questions.

dentist showing their patient their X-rays

Possible Complications

As with any surgical procedure, there are potential complications and side effects that may arise during the recovery process. The intensity of these complications can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain, but being aware of them and knowing how to handle them can facilitate a smoother healing process.

Dry Socket and Blood Clot Issues

Dry socket is a painful condition that occurs when a blood clot is displaced from the extraction site, exposing the underlying bone and nerves and increasing the risk of infection. It’s reported that about 30% of patients experience heavy bleeding from the extraction following wisdom teeth removal.

Certain factors, such as smoking or using a straw to drink beverages, can increase the risk of dry socket. Smokers and women taking birth control pills are more likely to experience this complication. Make sure to follow your dentist’s instructions to minimize dry socket from occurring, which include maintaining oral hygiene and applying an ice pack to minimize swelling.

Nerve Injury

Nerve injury is a potential risk during the procedure, which may result in temporary or permanent changes in sensation in the lower lip, chin, gums, and tongue. Although the risk of nerve damage is relatively low, it can still cause severe pain and discomfort.

In most cases, nerve damage is temporary and resolves within several weeks or months, sometimes even within five days. However, in rare situations, permanent nerve damage might occur if the nerve is severely damaged.

Infection and Healing Challenges

Infections can develop after your wisdom teeth surgery, causing swelling, pain, and other symptoms that require medical attention. If left untreated, these infections can lead to more severe complications.

Signs of infection include:

  • Persistent discomfort or swelling
  • Yellow discharge with a foul taste
  • Nausea
  • Fever

Restricted Jaw Movement

Restricted jaw movement, or trismus, is a common complication after the removal of wisdom teeth due to the involvement of jaw muscles during surgery. Individuals between the ages of 17 and 25 are particularly prone to trismus after removal.

Your dentist may suggest a variety of treatments to address trismus. These include:

  • Heat therapy
  • Pain medications
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Jaw opening devices

Should trismus persist, consult your dentist or oral surgeon to avoid any long-term complications.

Excessive Bleeding

Excessive bleeding and clotting concerns can arise after a wisdom teeth procedure, requiring proper care and monitoring. Avoiding smoking, rinsing the mouth with salt water, and consuming soft foods are necessary measures to control bleeding.

Monitor the bleeding after the procedure, and consult your dentist or oral surgeon if it persists after 24 hours or is unusually heavy. To prevent further bleeding, refrain from rinsing, spitting, or using a straw on the day of surgery.

Sinus Complications

Sinus complications, such as sinus communication, can occur after wisdom tooth removal, especially if the tooth is close to the sinus cavity. Sinus communication refers to an opening between a tooth socket and a sinus cavity, which can cause complications during the recovery process.

To avoid sinus communication, early extraction of the last set of wisdom teeth can help reduce root formation and minimize the risk. Should you experience sinus communication post-wisdom teeth removal, it’s recommended to abstain from blowing your nose for a couple of days to facilitate proper healing.

Anesthesia Reactions

Anesthesia reactions during wisdom teeth removal are rare but can include allergic reactions or other complications. Typical reactions to anesthesia include drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting.

Uncommon reactions to anesthesia may include confusion, agitation, and seizures. In rare cases, an allergic reaction to anesthesia can lead to difficulty breathing, shock, and even death without prompt medical attention. Discussing any concerns or past anesthesia reactions with your dentist or oral surgeon before the procedure is crucial.

Maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing twice daily, flossing, and using an antiseptic mouthwash, is essential in preventing infections and promoting proper healing.

When to Consult a Dental Professional

Consulting with your dentist is crucial if you experience signs of infection, persistent pain, or other worrisome symptoms after your wisdom teeth removal.

Monitoring for Infection

Observing for signs of infection post-wisdom tooth removal is critical to guarantee proper healing and avoid complications. Signs of infection include:

  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Discharge from the extraction site

If you suspect an infection or tooth decay, contact our Prairie Village dentist promptly for evaluation and treatment. Early detection and intervention can help prevent more severe complications and promote a smoother recovery.

Persistent Pain and Discomfort

Persistent pain and discomfort after your wisdom teeth surgery may indicate complications such as dry socket, nerve damage, or infection. If you experience ongoing pain, contact our dentist as soon as possible. By being proactive and well-informed, you can ensure a smoother healing process and minimize the risks associated with wisdom teeth removal.

dentist performing a deep cleaning for a patient

Frequently Asked Questions

How common are complications from wisdom tooth removal?

Complications from wisdom tooth removal are fairly rare, with the risk of dry socket reported at between 5% and 10%, permanent problems such as numbness or damage to nearby teeth occurring in up to 1 out of 100 people, and overall complications occurring in 8.4% of cases. Fortunately, most wisdom tooth extractions don’t result in long-term complications.

What is the most common complication after tooth extraction?

The most common complication after tooth extraction is dry socket, where the blood clot formed in the socket is dislodged and exposes the bone of the jaw. This can cause intense pain and slowed healing, and can be treated by a dental professional.

What are the side effects of removing wisdom teeth?

Removing wisdom teeth can result in pain and swelling in the mouth and cheeks, visible bruising of the cheek, a stiff and sore jaw, a painful dry socket, infection in the socket, and potential damage to nearby nerves, blood vessels, teeth, jawbone, or sinuses. In rare cases, serious infections may occur and up to 1 out of 100 people may have permanent issues following the procedure.

Contact Our Dentist if Complications Arise

By being proactive and well-informed, you can minimize the risks associated with wisdom teeth removal and ensure a smoother healing process. If you’re dealing with wisdom teeth complications, contact our Prairie Village dental office today by calling 913-362-4488.

Monarch Dental Care

8340 Mission Rd. #118
Prairie Village, KS 66206

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