In general, wisdom tooth removal is a safe surgical procedure. However, there is always risk in any type of surgery. Complications can occur during or after surgery. Thankfully, when you follow the after-surgery care recommendations of your Ankeny Iowa dentist, you can minimize your risk of issues.

Common Wisdom Tooth Extraction Complications

Wisdom tooth extraction can lead to the following complications:

  • Dry socket. This painful condition can take place after wisdom tooth removal.  After extraction, blood clots form over the empty socket’s nerves and bone. A dry socket happens when such blood clots are displaced, exposing the nerves and bone. While dry socket is treatable, it is quite painful. If you experience symptoms of dry socket, contact your provider right away. 
  • Abnormal bleeding. Wisdom teeth removal normally involves bleeding, particularly on the first day as the blood clot forms. But bleeding becomes abnormal if it continues for days or if you bleed too much. After extraction, your dentist will limit bleeding by providing gauze and recommend a soft diet. 
  • Swelling. Swelling after tooth extraction is normal. This is expected during the first few days after wisdom tooth removal. Although it is normal and can be treated with pain relievers, it can become concerning in some instances. This can happen when swelling gets worse or lasts a few days. In this case, you need to see your dentist for an examination. 
  • Lip numbness. While this complication is rare, it can happen. The wisdom teeth are close to the jaw’s inferior alveolar nerve. During the procedure, this nerve can be damaged, resulting in lip or jaw numbness. Often, this numbness is temporary; however, it can become permanent when damage to the nerve is serious. However, the majority of wisdom tooth removal procedures don’t have this complication. 
  • Infection. Any surgery has a risk of infection, particularly if you do not complete your dentist’s recommended after-surgery care. A severe infection can take place if food particles enter the extraction site, allowing bacteria to grow in the jaw. Symptoms of an infection after wisdom tooth removal include persistent pain, excessive bleeding, excessive swelling, difficulty opening your mouth, and too much discharge from the extraction site.

When Should You Seek Medical Attention?

You need to contact your dentist immediately if you are experiencing symptoms of a severe infection, dry socket, or extreme pain. If you experience signs of infection, such as a high fever or difficulty breathing after wisdom tooth removal, seek emergency care right away.