Wisdom Teeth - Removal Complications

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What are the potential risks and complications of wisdom teeth extraction?

Although the postoperative recovery is usually uneventful, problems can occur. The most common adverse occurrence of a wisdom tooth extraction is a dry socket or alveolar osteitis. This condition is created when the blood clot in the surgical site accidentally dislodges, leaving exposed bone Once this occurs, the bone along the extraction socket can become inflamed and painful. If a dry socket occurs, the surgeon should be contacted. If it happens, a dry socket will typically develop between two and five days after the extraction and will produce a bad smell/taste in the mouth along with constant throbbing pain. This complication is easily treated and often resolves quickly with a packing medication or stimulation of a new blood clot. More serious complications are rare but can include injury to the adjacent inferior alveolar nerve for wisdom teeth on the bottom (mandible), sinus perforation for wisdom teeth on the top (maxilla), damage to adjacent teeth, prolonged numbness or altered sensation of the tongue, lip, or gum tissue (paresthesia), or problems with the temporomandibular joint as a result of trauma to the area. The potential risks of wisdom tooth extraction should be reviewed with a dentist. If a wisdom tooth is deemed compromised, removal of the tooth in adolescence is advantageous to extracting the tooth in late adulthood. The extraction procedure and healing both become more difficult as the person gets older. Discussion with a dentist about the condition of the wisdom teeth and timeline for the extractions is important and will help minimize complications.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: April 23

I had my bottom wisdom teeth extracted on 4/16. It is 4/22 and one of the extractions is still throbbing. I'm beginning to think something went wrong. They prescribed me amoxicillin and tramadol for the pain. At first it was working, but 3 days into, no more. I iced everyday all day and night, no sleep since the surgery, can't get down on my food, chew only on one side, can't open my mouth wide enough and to top it off, by now that I'm in my right mind, my bill doesn't look right. I'm giving this thing one more day, then I will be marching back to the dentist office to take another look in my mouth and go over this bill with me.

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Comment from: Stephonair, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

I was incredibly apprehensive getting my (3) wisdom teeth out. I don't regularly go to the dentist but I knew they were bad. I'm also a red head and studies show our experience can differ and not in a good way. My surgeon was great and under general anesthesia I don't remember anything, but the following 5 days were some of the worst I've ever had. I'm on day 9 now and it's not too bad. Other than my gums and chin still being numb, which may take weeks to months to return. He said a nerve may have been severed, so that's super. I'm glad I won't have to go through this again!

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