Even if you had your wisdom teeth removed years ago, you may still have some holes in your gums where those teeth used to be. If the holes never closed up on their own, you’re at risk of developing an infection or cyst inside them—which can lead to more serious problems like abscesses and even gangrene. Here are two things you can do to help your wisdom teeth holes heal faster and avoid problems like these in the future.
Does it hurt when you eat?
If you have wisdom teeth, chances are good that your oral surgeon asked you to take a look at them after surgery. That’s because if they didn’t come out completely, it could lead to problems in your future. For example, bacteria can build up in your wisdom teeth and cause an infection in your mouth or gums. In addition, they could move around and even penetrate other teeth or nearby bones; both of these scenarios also make infections more likely. To prevent these issues, talk with your dentist about whether you might need wisdom tooth removal in the future—and if so, when to schedule it based on how much space is left in your mouth.
How do you clean around your tooth/teeth?
If you have had a tooth extracted, you might have some empty space where your tooth used to be. Soaking floss in mouthwash or warm water can make it easier to pass around your extracted tooth area. After soaking, gently place floss between each of your teeth and slowly move up and down across that row of teeth without pressing too hard. This can dislodge any food or debris that has accumulated there since your extraction site has healed over. Repeat these steps with each side until you are satisfied with how clean your mouth feels.
How does it feel around other teeth in your mouth?
Do you have any gum tenderness? Do you have pain or sensitivity when biting down on something? This is probably not a problem for most people, but those with underlying oral health issues could be affected by a wisdom tooth extraction site that doesn’t heal properly. If your gums or teeth are tender, you should see your dentist as soon as possible to prevent infection and further complications.
Is there any pain or sensitivity?
There are several factors that influence whether your mouth may or may not still hurt after you’ve had your wisdom teeth extracted. For example, did they take out all of your wisdom teeth at once? Are you unable to open your mouth all of the way? Do you have another form of gum disease or tooth decay that makes it more challenging for you to heal properly? All of these things can contribute to pain and sensitivity in your mouth months after having surgery. If symptoms continue, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist so he or she can further evaluate how much progress has been made and determine if more steps need to be taken in order for healing to occur properly.
How does it feel when you chew on that side of your mouth?
Many people say that it hurts when they chew on that side of their mouth, especially if it is a wisdom tooth. Usually your pain will be more acute towards your ear and you can also have some pain at your jaw bone. Your teeth in that area will also feel painful to bite down on, though sometimes you can get away with chewing crunchy foods like carrots and celery without feeling much pain. It usually just depends on how hard or soft you’re chewing on that side of your mouth. Often times if we chew very soft foods, then we don’t notice any pain at all because we are not exerting any pressure onto our gum tissue.
Is there any discharge around the hole (exudate)?
It’s pretty easy for me to remove food from between my teeth and I can also check for plaque buildup on my wisdom teeth, but there are no holes where my wisdom teeth were extracted. My dentist tells me that wisdom teeth extraction sites usually heal within 6-8 weeks if you take your prescribed antibiotics, but it looks like it hasn’t healed properly in my case. I know there’s nothing that can be done about a bad tooth (not even a veneer or crown), but is it possible for these holes to never heal? Do you think I should see another dentist in case they missed something during my appointment?
What are you using to clean around your teeth and gums on a daily basis (brushing, flossing, etc.)?
If you can easily remove food with your floss or toothpick, then it’s most likely that your wisdom teeth holes have healed. If food is getting stuck in there, that’s a sign that your wisdom teeth holes may not have closed properly and will likely require further treatment from a dentist. Sometimes, due to genetics or lack of care on our part, our wisdom teeth holes don’t heal properly and leave us with openings in our jaw for bacteria to grow in and cause infection. Wisdom teeth infections can be pretty painful, so if you notice a pungent smell when eating or sense discomfort in your mouth (even though it goes away after eating), get an oral exam as soon as possible.