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Peter Sbaraglia’s Guidance: Quickening Recovery Time After Wisdom Teeth Removal

There are many exciting rites of passage that mark the transition into adulthood, getting a driver’s license and graduating high school are some of the most common. While there are markers that celebrate adulthood, there are also some not-so-great milestones as well. Filing taxes, paying bills and for many people getting wisdom teeth extracted are some of the growing pains associated with coming-of-age.

Sadly, there is little you can do to ease the pain of taxes and bills.  However, there are steps you can take to reduce the pain experienced by wisdom tooth removal.Weisheitszahn1

While wisdom teeth serve as a reminder of our biological evolution, they offer little biological function today, aside from being bothersome. There are a select few who have enough room for their wisdom teeth to grow in without complication, but the vast majority do not.

Five years ago, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) commissioned a task force to examine wisdom tooth extractions and their need. The study found that roughly 60 to 70 percent of patients with wisdom teeth will eventually experience trouble with them.

“It’s hard to get a percentage, but probably 75 to 80 percent of people do not meet the criteria of being able to successfully maintain their wisdom teeth,” said Dr. Louis K. Rafetto, who headed the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons’ task force on wisdom teeth.

From infection, impaction, chewing and biting issues, teeth crowding and pushing, to jaw inflammation and pain, wisdom teeth can create some serious problems in the mouth. This is why many wisdom tooth extractions are performed by dental surgeon or dentists who specialize in sedation and anesthesia.

Extracting these larger than average teeth is important, but taking care of the area after extraction is especially important and a responsibility of the patient.

Oral surgery is an intense procedure on a very delicate area of the body that is prone to bacteria and always stays moist. Due to these unique circumstances, patients must be extremely careful and vigilant during their recovery.

Following the procedure, a dentist will most likely give a patient a prescription for a painkiller to help mitigate the pain and discomfort from the extraction. While the medication is prescribed to ease the pain, some people may experience heightened pain, especially in the hours immediately after the local or general anesthesia has worn off.

“If you do not achieve adequate relief at first, you may supplement each pain pill with an analgesic such as aspirin or ibuprofen,” notes Dr. Adam Hershkin, a New York-based oral surgeon. “Some patients may even require two of the pain pills at one time.”

In the days following the surgery, patients should gargle with a salt water mix to reduce inflammation and prevent an infection from growing.

Ontario-based dentist Dr. Peter Sbaraglia operates a dental practice limited to sedation and anesthesia and recommends that patients eat soft, nutrient-dense foods in the hours and days following their procedure. “You want to protect the area from hard, rough or even sharp foods, so the mouth can heal effectively,” said Peter Sbaraglia.

There are also steps patients can implement before the surgery to ensure they heal quickly and fully. “Quitting smoking is the most important pre and post-surgery measure,” noted Sbaraglia. “Smoking is bad for your teeth, but after a surgery it can loosen the blood clot or dislodge it all together creating a dry socket. This makes recovery prolonged and more difficult.”

Some other tips to speed up the recovery process include keeping up with your oral care routine, avoiding lying down right after the procedure to ebb the blood flow, and icing the area for 15 minute intervals during the 24 hours following surgery.

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