When you were younger, getting your permanent teeth was an exciting part of your childhood. Probably because it was likely preceded by a visit from the Tooth Fairy! However, as adults, growing your last molars, or your wisdom teeth, may bring a sense of apprehension.
Due to the fact that they emerge when you’re in your late teens or early twenties, your teeth layout is formed already. Because of this, there is no space for these new teeth. Also, being placed right at the back of your mouth means that there is a higher risk of gum disease as your toothbrush cannot reach that far, properly. Due to this lack of space, your wisdom teeth might not come out completely, which could also lead to oral disease and infection. In addition, another problem with this late eruption is that your wisdom teeth could grow out at an angle, which could leave them painfully stuck in your jawbone.
All these issues result in discomfort and extreme pain, which is why your dentist may advise on the removal of your wisdom teeth after an evaluation. Whether you undergo local or general anaesthetic, it is still essential to follow the correct after-care process to limit the risk of infection and to ensure a timeous recovery.
So, what can you expect when the numbing ecstasy of the anaesthetic wears off? Quite a bit of pain and some swelling too. You could even have some additional bleeding, but these reactions are normal. However, if you experience excessive bleeding, it is important to advise your oral surgeon.
Do the same if you contract a fever or if the pain medication is not helping. These issues, in conjunction with other symptoms, could point to an infection or even nerve damage, and should be relayed to your dentist as soon as possible. Severe after-effects relating to nerve damage could also be face numbness and tingling. However, these are rare occasions, but help should be sought immediately if this happens to you.
Now, if you don’t experience these complications, your wisdom teeth removal recovery time could be a week or two, but this is dependent both on how severe your case was, as well as how you manage your post-op recovery.
You have to remember that you underwent a major surgery, and even though you’ll be able to drive and do most of the things you could do pre-surgery, you should still rest after the operation. Not only does your body need to recover from the anaesthetic, but you also need to ensure that you don’t move or dislodge the blood clot that has formed in that now-empty tooth cavity. Because of the latter, it is best not to brush your teeth and floss for a day or two after the surgery. Don’t be alarmed if you notice bruising along your jaw. This is part of the recovery process and will diminish as you heal.
Because of this clot, and the fact that your mouth is still sensitive, it is advised that you stay away from certain foods and drinks until it is healed. This includes hot beverages like coffee and tea, as well as soft drinks and alcohol. When it comes to eating, it is strongly advised that you steer clear of hard foods such as crunchy fruits and vegetables, meat and nuts. You may also think that drinking through a straw is helping but the sucking motion could actually dislodge the blood clot.
What you should be stocking up on is plenty of soft, liquid foods such as yoghurt, custard, jellies and soups. It is also important to ensure proper oral hygiene to prevent infection. Even though you are discouraged from brushing your teeth for the first couple of days, you can lightly rinse your mouth with clean salt water. Once you feel ready, maybe after three or four days, you can move on to firmer foods, but still nothing crunchy or hard. In addition, you should use your other teeth to chew any type of food that you eat.
There are also other ways make you a bit more comfortable during your recovery period. If you’re having difficulty sleeping, you could try using an extra pillow at night to elevate your head. If you want to lessen the swelling, an ice pack will do wonders, while using a warm cloth or compress could help to relieve the pain in your jaw.
It is also important to follow all of your oral surgeon’s post-op advice and recommendations. Complete the course of antibiotics if required and take the pain medication as and when needed. Your dentist may schedule a follow-up appointment for about a week after the operation to ascertain where you are on your road to recovery. If you follow their directions, you should be back to normal, fully healed and eating crunchy celery sticks in no time at all!
We’ve all heard about smiles lighting up a room, and while It might sound like a cliché, a smile really can transform your face and put a sparkle in your eyes. In some cases, it also seems to give you that boost of confidence that you sometimes need.
However, issues like bad breath, stained teeth and just overall negative oral health might make you cringe in embarrassment instead of open your mouth to offer a dazzling smile. Getting into the habit of taking care of your teeth will go a long way in not only keeping your smile bright, but in keeping your gums healthy too.
Good gum health is essential for overall oral health. If you think about it, your gums are the anchor or foundation for your teeth and should therefore be well taken care of. If they aren’t, you could find yourself in the unenviable position of experiencing gum disease such as periodontitis or gingivitis. The latter, while offering milder symptoms such as bleeding and swollen gums, can be effectively treated.
If untreated however, gingivitis could develop into periodontitis, of which there are many forms. However, this disease may lead to loss of teeth. It can still be treated though, but treatment duration is dependent on the severity of the disease itself.
Now, there are measures that can be taken to ensure that you practise safe and effective oral hygiene to keep your mouth as healthy as possible. Let’s take a look at some of these tips for healthy teeth and gums that you can follow:
If you haven’t been to the dentist in years, or maybe not even at all, you may feel a bit apprehensive about booking your appointment. However, it is essential that you understand the state of your teeth and gums. Based on your case, your dentist might prescribe additional measures to those listed below, or even start you on treatment if they determine that it is required.
Thereafter, make a habit of visiting your dentist on a regular basis, at least every six months. Not only will you be able to have your teeth professionally cleaned, but your dentist will be able to assess and advise on your oral health care requirements.
This is one of the simplest ways to help ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy. Make sure that you are using a suitable toothbrush and that you are brushing properly. It’s not enough to put some fluoride toothpaste on your brush. You need to make sure that you are holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and that you use small but firm brush strokes. Brush your whole mouth, including your tongue.
Brush your mouth at least twice a day, or after every meal. However, it is not advised to do this immediately after you eat as the enamel on your teeth could be eroded by the high acidity levels of your food or drink. Brushing straight after, even with a soft-bristle brush could damage this enamel, and essentially your teeth, even further. Wait about 30 minutes before you brush. In addition, make sure that you get a new toothbrush every three to four months.
You could also invest in an electric toothbrush. It does most of the hard work for you and can even reach places that a manual toothbrush cannot. Also, because it’s doing the work, you’ll most likely brush for longer as well.
Even though brushing is essential, your toothbrush cannot get to all of those hard-to-reach places. That’s where floss comes in. Flossing should follow brushing to ensure that all food particles are effectively removed.
Just like with flossing, mouthwash will get rid of all of those small particles of food that can cause gum irritation. Mouthwash also combats plaque build-up and bad breath.
Because your teeth are made of calcium, having a sufficient amount of this mineral in your body will strengthen both your teeth and your gums. In addition to supplements, calcium can be found in dairy products and even nuts.
Water has a range of benefits for the whole body, and it is also essential in promoting good oral health. Water gently washes away particles and any residual acids and sugar left in your mouth from food and drink.
Whether it’s your favourite soft drink or a Violet Crumble, too much sugar is not good for your teeth. Excessive amounts can lead to the erosion of your teeth’s enamel, which could subsequently result in tooth decay.
It’s never too late to start looking after your teeth and gums. By following these tips and any recommendations by your dentist, you’ll be able to smile with confidence once again!