Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Wisdom Teeth Extraction at Hitek Dental of Orange, NSW
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
“Wisdom teeth” is the name given to your third set of molars, which grow in the back of your mouth when you are in your late teens or twenties. They get their name from the fact that we are older and wiser (theoretically, at least!) when these teeth grow in. Despite the fact that we almost universally associate them with problems and pain, wisdom teeth are in fact no different than any other set of teeth, and are perfectly useful when they grown in correctly. Unfortunately, this is rare, and most people end up with poorly aligned or impacted wisdom teeth that can cause problems.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
When wisdom teeth do not grow in properly, they can end up misaligned or even completely horizontal. Misaligned wisdom teeth put pressure on the other teeth and can cause damage to teeth, nerves or your jawbone.
Wisdom teeth impaction is another very common problem that’s a bit different from misalignment. A tooth is considered impacted when it only partially breaks through the gums and remains enclosed in the jawbone or soft tissue. This creates an opening through which bacteria may enter, leading to infections that can cause pain, stiffness, or swelling in your jaw. Even if an infection does not occur, impacted teeth are difficult to clean with floss or toothbrushes. This makes them vulnerable to decay and gum disease.
For these reasons, it’s very important to have misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth removed.
Wisdom Teeth Preventative Care
Be sure that you are visiting the dentist regularly so that he or she can track the growth and development of your wisdom teeth! By taking periodic X-rays of your mouth, your dentist can identify how many wisdom teeth you have and how they are positioned, often predicting problems long before your teeth actually erupt (or grow in).
Wisdom teeth removal is much easier when you are younger. The bone is less dense, and the roots of the teeth have not fully developed. That’s why it’s generally preferable to remove wisdom teeth early, and if your dentist spots an alignment problem with your wisdom teeth in an X-ray, he or she may recommend having a removal surgery done even if they are not likely to erupt for a few years. This will spare you a more complicated and painful surgery later on — and healing and recovery typically take longer when you are older, too.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
The wisdom teeth removal process and experience varies from case to case and depends on the positioning and stage of development of the teeth. Fully erupted wisdom teeth are pulled the same as any other tooth; wisdom teeth that have not yet grown in require the oral surgeon to create an incision in the gums and, sometimes, remove part of the jawbone that is covering the tooth or teeth. To make the process easier and minimize the amount of bone that must be removed, embedded wisdom teeth are usually extracted in small pieces, not whole.
Whatever the situation with your particular wisdom teeth, you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area before the procedure begins. Often, patients are given general anesthesia, and are unconscious throughout the operation. Otherwise, patients may receive a sedative like nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) or an intravenous medication to minimize anxiety.
Recovering After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Like the procedure itself, the recovery process after a wisdom tooth extraction surgery can vary greatly from person to person. Even among similar cases, the results can be very different. Many people experience light bleeding and facial swelling for a few days, and then feel back to normal. Others have pain, numbness, lingering side effects or complications such as dry socket.
It’s hard to predict how your body will react to the wisdom tooth extraction, but your oral surgeon will provide you all the information you need to maximize your chances of a completely smooth recovery. The most important thing is to facilitate the development of healing blood clots in the extracted tooth sockets. If the blood clot fails to form properly, or becomes dislodged (usually due to the patient smoking, drinking from a straw, or consuming hot liquids against the dentist’s recommendation), then the condition known as “dry socket” will occur.
Dry socket typically happens three to four days after the extraction procedure, and is marked by pain and a bad odor in the mouth. You’ll need to return to the dentist or oral surgeon for medication to treat this condition.
No one looks forward to a wisdom tooth extraction, but the highly skilled oral health professionals at Hitek Dental will do everything they can to make your experience as easy and comfortable as possible.
Now that you’re wise to the ways of wisdom teeth, contact our office today for a consultation or checkup.[