Wisdom Teeth Extraction: Everything You Need to Know
Wisdom teeth are the four molars that erupt at the back of the mouth, typically between the ages of 17 and 25. They are often referred to as "third molars" because they erupt after the other 28 permanent teeth. However, not everyone has wisdom teeth, and some people's wisdom teeth never erupt.
Wisdom teeth extraction is a common dental procedure that is performed when wisdom teeth are impacted, meaning they are unable to erupt properly. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of problems, including pain, infection, and damage to other teeth.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
There are a number of reasons why wisdom teeth may need to be extracted. Some of the most common reasons include:
- Impaction: Impacted wisdom teeth are the most common reason for wisdom tooth extraction. Impacted wisdom teeth can erupt at an angle, partially erupt, or be completely trapped within the jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infection, and damage to other teeth.
- Crowding: Wisdom teeth can cause crowding of the other teeth, especially if there is not enough room in the mouth for them to erupt properly. Crowding can lead to crooked teeth and other dental problems.
- Infection: Wisdom teeth can become infected, especially if they are partially erupted. Infected wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, and other problems.
- Cyst formation: Wisdom teeth can form cysts, which are fluid-filled sacs that can damage the jawbone and surrounding teeth.
- Damage to other teeth: Wisdom teeth can damage other teeth if they are impacted or erupt crookedly.
What happens during wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
Wisdom tooth extraction surgery is usually done under anesthesia. Depending upon complexity, of procedure, different form of sedations are used. Most common method is oral sedation followed by nitrous (laughing) gas. Under this, patient is awake and confortable during the procedure and does not feel any pain.
To begin the procedure, the dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue and expose the wisdom tooth. The dentist may need to remove some bone to access the tooth. Once the tooth is exposed, the dentist will use a dental elevator to loosen the tooth from the jawbone. The dentist will then use forceps to remove the tooth.
After the tooth is removed, the oral surgeon will stitch the gum tissue closed. The patient may need to wear gauze pads over the extraction site to control bleeding.
What can I expect after wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
After wisdom tooth extraction surgery, it is normal to experience some pain, swelling, and bruising. The pain and swelling are usually most severe during the first few days after surgery and gradually improve over time.
To manage the pain and inflammation, the dentist may prescribe pain medication and antibiotics. The dentist will also give the patient instructions on how to care for the extraction site.
It is important to follow the oral dentist's instructions carefully to prevent infection and promote healing. Some of the most important post-operative instructions include:
- Rest for the first few days after surgery.
- Apply ice packs to the face to reduce swelling.
- Eat soft foods and avoid chewing on the side of the mouth where the tooth was extracted.
- Avoid brushing your teeth for 24 hours after surgery.
- Rinse your mouth with warm water and salt several times a day.
How long does it take to recover from wisdom tooth extraction surgery?
Most people recover from wisdom tooth extraction surgery within a week or two. However, some people may experience pain and swelling for up to several weeks.
If you have any concerns about your recovery, be sure to contact our office.
Tips for preventing complications after wisdom tooth extraction surgery.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent complications after wisdom tooth extraction surgery, such as:
- Follow your dentist's instructions carefully.
- Get plenty of rest.
- Eat a soft diet.
- Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Keep the extraction site clean.
If you experience any unusual symptoms, such as severe pain, swelling, or bleeding, contact our office immediately.