Wisdom Teeth Extraction Questions and Answers Archive

Sep
2001

Q&A: How long after wisdom teeth extraction do I have to wait before I can smoke tobacco or other substance?

Question:

IF I HAD MY BOTTOM 2 WISDOM TEETH PULLED, WHEN CAN I SMOKE A CIGERT? HOW LONG AFTER, AND WHEN A DOC SAYS NO SMOKING IS HE REFERING TO ALL SUBSTENCES OR JUST TABBACO?

- SARAH

Answer:

If you must smoke, give yourself a day or two post op to recover from the extractions. Better yet, quit.

-- Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



Apr
2001

Q&A: Is there anything I can do to speed up the healing and stop the numbness after wisdom teeth extraction?

Question:

I recently had all my wisdom teeth removed. My surgon warned me that a nerve may be damaged during extraction. I called my surgon after a few days because I still had numbness in my lip, I asked for more information about this only to be set up with another appointment. I know that the numbness should go away within 3-6 months, but is there anything I can do to help the healing process, speed it up. Also, is there anything that I might be doing to hinder the process of healing??

- Joni

Answer 1:

I agree with Dr. King's answer. There is nothing to do to make it go away faster, nor is there anything you can do to create further damage. Often in small framed women the numbness may resolve faster when the swelling decreases as the nerve to the lower jaw passes through one of the jaw muscles before it enters the bone, and swelling in this area can cause you to have a numb lip as well. Tingly itchy feeling is a good sign that it is resolving, but the next stage may be a period of sensitivity where cold things feel colder and hot things hotter on the effected side, and you may occasionally feel an "electric" tingliness which means the nerve is in its final stage of healing. Let the doc keep an eye on it with you. Good Luck

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida

Answer 2:

David A. King, DDS - LocateADoc.com

Not much to do. If you are feeling itchy or tingly, that is a good sign. Seldom is the numbness permanent. Be patient and follow up with your surgeon.

--David A. King, DDS
Wilmington, Delaware



Sep
2000

Q&A: If nerves are cut during the process of removing wisdom teeth, is the numbness permanent and what can I do?

Question:

If nerves are cut during the process of removing wisdom teeth, is the numbness permanent? The oral surgeron had to use a drill to remove one of the wisdom teeth and now I have total numbness on one side of the face. What can I do? It has only been 2 weeks since my wisdom teeth were removed.

- Diana

Answer:

Usually numbness after wisdom tooth removal affects only the lower jaw and lip area on the side of the extraction, not the whole side of the face. Thankfully numbness after wisdom teeth removal is rare, and when it does happen often will resolve itself within the first month or two. I hope you stay in touch with your doctor, and discuss with him what your options are available.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



Mar
2000

Q&A: What is the cause of and timing for the loss of a large lump in my cheek following 4 wisdom teeth extractions?

Question:

I am a 23 yr old otherwise healthy female, and I just had all 4 wisdom teeth extracted 5 days ago. The two on my left side were both vertically impacted. They gave me IV sedation, and my teeth came out easily, so the surgery itself was painless and the rest of that day wasn't too bad except for the bleeding. The next day, however, my left cheek had become massively swollen. It is now still very swollen and moderately painful, with little sign of subsiding, making it very hard to smile or to open my mouth wide enough to fit small bites of food. My left cheek continues to be very tight and painful, but my main problem is that there is a half-walnut-sized lump in my cheek, a bit above the level of my mandible. It is extremely hard, seems like its located in the muscle, and doesn't appear to be getting smaller. I called the resident who performed my surgery, and he said that it just happens in some cases, and it might take 3 weeks to go away. Is that true? What causes it? Will exercising my jaw help, or should I try to keep it still? I'm a vet school student, and would like to know some of the medical details also. Thank you very much for your help!

- Kristen

Answer:

Dear Kristen, As you will no doubt learn in your orthopedic rotation what your are experiencing in a bony callus formation over the area where the bone was removed during the wisdom tooth extraction. As the natural underlying bone heals it will lay down a protective layer. As the socket fills the callus will disappear. It may last three weeks, but usually by the second week, baring any inflammation or infection, it should be quite small, and only perceptable with palpation. The pain in the more swollen side is most likely muscle inflammation which is best treated by ASA or NSAID and moist heat. Use the heat as you did the first day or two with the ice packs. You will have beter pain relief if you take the OTC meds on a regular schedule, just don't exceed the daily recommended dose ( prevent GI upset). You trismus, tight jaw will resolve faster as well with consistent use of the moist heat when you can do so. Do not attempt to over do jaw motion, as it will just further inflame the tissue. Stick to a softer diet and be protective of yawning and sneezing( I know sounds odd, but think about it) Also, as your resident will learn as time goes by...young women will swell more at your age for a number of reasons (big teeth, small mouth, his inexperience, length of time it takes to complete treatment etc...)but one he won't realize for a while is if he is right handed, all his patients will swell slightly more on the left because access and visibility are more difficult on that side for a right handed operator, especially if he was sitting down for the surgery! Us old guys still stand up for everything! Good luck with school and don't worry about your cheek, it will be very self limiting.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida



Feb
2000

Q&A: Should I let my now present wisdom teeth come in if I had 4 extractions before having braces which are now removed?

Question:

My two lower wisdom teeth are coming in and I have been feeling discomfort and pain for about five months, the pain has been on and off. The first time was in August and then again in December and now just recently. The first time the pain was very minimal. I felt some discomfort in my gums and they were swollen, this lasted about a week or so and then I was fine again. The second time the pain got stronger and now for the third time the pain has gotten unbearable. My right cheek is completely swollen, my gums and jaw are sore from the pain, my gums irritated, and I have also experienced some throbbing. I have been taking asprin and have been using an oral anesthetic for the pain. I have also experienced difficulty concentrating and falling asleep because of the pain. My concern is that I recently had my braces removed and I'm worried that my wisdom teeth might affect my newly straightened teeth! Before I got my braces I had 4 extractions: 2 lower and 2 upper. I originally planned on letting my wisdom teeth come in because I didn't want to go through any more extractions and also because I figured that I had enough space for them to come in anyway, but after experiencing such pain I am not sure what to do any more. Should I just wait out the pain again like I did in the past or just get the extractions done? What would be less painful and how long would the recovery be? How long does it take for your wisdom teeth to fully come in? What is the cost to get this procedure done? Would it be best to go to a regular dentist or an oral surgeon?

- Myra

Answer:

Myra, You had braces, and wanted to let your third molars to erupt? ot a good idea. If you had to have extractions for the braces, I'd guess you have a small mouth. If there is no room for the molars to erupt then you could be threatening the long term stability of your orthodontics.( I hope you're weariing your retainer!) Sounds like you have pericoronitis. I'd call your orthodontist, and have him refer youto an Oral surgeon. Don't let your general dentist do the extractons.

--Charles R. McNamara, DMD
Winter Park, Florida