Wisdom teeth are the third and final molars on each side of your upper and lower jaw. They are the last teeth that will erupt, or become visible, usually coming in between 17 and 21 years of age.
At Vero Implants and Periodontics, we can make your wisdom teeth extraction relatively pain free. We also want to make sure you understand all about your wisdom teeth and why it’s important for most people to have them removed.
Knowing If You Need Extraction
Regular checkups with your dentist are important in tracking the progress and condition of these adult teeth. Your dentist will probably take an x-ray to help evaluate whether your wisdom teeth are in need of extraction.
Keeping wisdom teeth through adulthood could cause problems. In most cases, the teeth are trapped beneath the gums and bone and are against the teeth in front of them. They may erupt only partially because other teeth around them are crowding the jaw. In cases where the teeth are partially erupted, they may tilt sideways and cause damage to adjacent teeth. They are also more prone to both tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing more difficult.
Wisdom teeth removal is easier on younger people because the tooth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. The recovery time also tends to be longer for older people. Many dentists will recommend that you have these teeth extracted before problems develop to avoid more painful and more complicated extraction in the years to come.
Ease of Extraction
The ease of the extraction depends on the position of the teeth and what stage of development they are in. A fully erupted wisdom tooth can be extracted as easily as any other teeth but if the tooth is underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone it will require incision into the gums and the removal of a portion of the bone that lies over the tooth. In this situation, the tooth is often extracted in small sections rather than in one large piece, which minimizes the amount of bone needing removal to get the tooth out.
Prior to the extraction, the tooth being removed and the surrounding tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic. It’s the same type of numbing used to numb a tooth prior to a cavity being filled.
Additionally, the dentist or oral surgeon may use a sedative to control any anxiety by the patient using nitrous oxide (laughing gas), an oral sedative, or an IV.
The speed of the recovery process is dependent on the degree of difficulty of the extraction. The easier recovery will be after the simple extraction of a fully erupted wisdom tooth while the recovery will be more difficult if the tooth is impacted into the jawbone.
In the first several hours after extraction, bleeding may occur. To control the bleeding, place a clean, moist gauze over the empty tooth socket and bit down firmly applying constant pressure for 45 minutes. Avoid rinsing or spitting, sucking actions, and hot liquids for the first 24 hours.
Another result of extraction is that facial swelling will likely occur. To minimize this swelling, place a pack of ice on the area for 10 minutes on and 20 minutes off for 24 hours. After extraction, the dentist or oral surgeon will likely provide you with these instructions, gauze, and an ice pack for the swelling.
In the 24 hours following the extraction, you’ll be limited to a liquid diet until the numbness wears off. Once your back to eating solid foods, you’ll be limited to soft foods as the area of the extraction heals. You’ll want to avoid brushing around the area of the extraction for 24 hours and also avoid using commercial mouth rinses as they can irritate the site.
If you are prescribed antibiotics to aid in the recovery process, they should be taken until the full prescription is gone. The area of the extraction will likely be stitched with self-dissolving stitches, which will dissolve over the week following the extraction.
It is recommended for most people to have their wisdom teeth extraction done in early adulthood. This will make the extraction easier and lessen the recovery time. If you’re interested in having your wisdom teeth extracted, contact us for more information.