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Side Effects of Wisdom Tooth Removal

Published On: February 12, 2024

Young woman with wisdom tooth pain holding her hand to her cheek.

We understand that having your wisdom teeth removed may seem daunting while concerns about possible side effects may also add to your fears. While it may seem scary, wisdom tooth removal is a common procedure we perform at With U Dental.

Our dentists are highly trained and experienced in performing quick and minimally invasive wisdom tooth extraction procedures while prioritising on your comfort and well-being.

When is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary? 

Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt towards the back of your mouth between the ages of 16 and 24. While there are 4 wisdom teeth, you may not get all 4 and may not even have any problems as they erupt. 

However, if there’s limited space in your mouth for your new teeth to erupt, these wisdom teeth can get impacted and grow at an angle or not emerge past the gumline, causing oral health problems such as pain, crowding and infection. 

When you visit our dental clinic for a consultation, our friendly dentists will assess your situation and recommend wisdom tooth removal if necessary. Performed by our experienced and trained dentists, wisdom tooth removal is a generally safe procedure. However, as with all surgical procedures, there may be a few potential side effects involved. 

What are the Side Effects of Removing Wisdom Teeth? 

Dry Socket

When a wisdom tooth is extracted, a blood clot typically forms in the socket (the hole in the jawbone where your tooth used to be) to protect the bone and nerve. 

However, there can be instances where this blood clot fails to form or gets dislodged. When this happens, it can expose the bone and nerve, causing extreme pain. This condition is referred to as a dry socket and can typically occur between the 7-10 days it takes to heal after tooth extraction.   

If you have a dry socket, you may experience: 

  • Severe, throbbing pain radiating to your eye or ear
  • A slight fever 
  • Bad breath 
  • A foul/bad taste in your mouth

Causes of dry socket include: 

  • Smoking 
  • Use of oral contraceptives (birth control pills)
  • Poor oral hygiene 
  • Difficult wisdom tooth extraction 
  • Prescription medications that affect blood clotting 

If you experience intense pain post-extraction, we recommend scheduling an appointment with our dentist. We will assess the situation and treat the dry socket by flushing out food particles stuck in the socket and applying a medicated dressing to the affected area. 

Infection 

Infections can sometimes occur after wisdom tooth extraction due to reasons such as poor oral hygiene, dry socket and bacteria accumulation in the mouth. Early detection and immediate treatment are important in the case of infection to prevent it from causing other oral and health complications. So, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of dental infection, which include:

  • Pain that doesn’t subside or increases after extraction 
  • High fever and chills 
  • Swelling at the site of extraction 
  • Bad taste in your mouth 
  • Pus at the site of extraction
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing or breathing 

If you notice these signs, we recommend seeking immediate dental care. While treatment depends on the severity of the infection, treatment typically involves the following options: 

  • A course of antibiotics to prevent the infection from spreading
  • Rinsing your mouth gently with warm salt water to reduce inflammation and promote healing
  • Drainage of abscess (if an abscess has formed)
  • Pain relief medication to ease the discomfort

In addition, you can take steps to prevent the risk of infection in the first place by staying hydrated, eating a soft food diet that includes food like yoghurt and mashed potatoes, allowing your body to rest and holding warm salt water in your mouth after meals. 

Nerve Damage 

Your wisdom teeth are located near sensitive nerve endings in the jaw. As a result, there is a risk of nerve damage, as the nerve may become bruised, injured or irritated during the procedure. 

Signs of nerve damage include: 

  • Pain 
  • Numbness 
  • A loss of feeling in your teeth, gums, cheeks and lips
  • A tingling sensation 
  • Difficulties in speech and chewing

Nerve damage is usually temporary and can heal in about 6-8 weeks or longer. However, in some cases where nerve damage is permanent, it may not heal completely. 

Depending on the cause of nerve damage, there are various treatment options including:

  • Prescription drugs such as antiepileptics and analgesics 
  • Surgery 
  • Laser treatment
  • Therapy to help with nerve relaxation

At With U Dental, our dentists take great care to minimise the possibility of nerve damage during wisdom tooth removal.  

Adverse Reactions to Anaesthesia

A local anaesthetic is administered before wisdom tooth removal to minimise your discomfort and pain. While this is generally safe, there may be rare instances where you experience adverse reactions to anaesthesia. It is recommended that you discuss any concerns you may have about anaesthesia allergies with our dentist before undergoing wisdom tooth removal surgery.  

Bleeding, Swelling and Pain 

After your wisdom tooth removal procedure, it is common to experience bleeding, swelling and pain. Therefore, you need not worry, as these symptoms should typically subside within a few days. For instance, pain and discomfort should wear off within 3-4 days, and bleeding should stop within 1-2 days. 

However, if pain, bleeding and swelling persist or worsen, we recommend consulting one of our dentists as it could indicate underlying problems such as infection.  

While side effects of wisdom tooth removal aren’t entirely avoidable, our dentists at With U Dental are committed to minimising these through personalised and attentive care. Before the procedure, we will also inform you of all the possible complications to help you determine if wisdom tooth removal is right for you. 

In addition, we will also provide post-operative care instructions to facilitate a smooth healing process. By following these aftercare tips, you will be able to minimise the risk of complications post-extraction. However, contact our team for immediate dental assistance if you see warning signs such as a high fever, pain that doesn’t respond to pain medication, swelling that worsens, and persistent bleeding. 

Why Choose With U Dental for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Adopting groundbreaking wisdom tooth removal techniques from the renowned Dr. YoungSam Kim, our principal dentist Dr.Edward Lee is a maestro in tooth extraction methods that are minimally invasive, resulting in less pain and faster recovery time. 

His innovative techniques reduce the need for extensive bone cutting and large gum incisions to help preserve as much of the bone and gum tissue as possible. With a wisdom tooth extraction procedure with Dr. Lee, you can rest assured that you are in good hands that provide you with a comfortable and pain-free experience performed with precision and care.