The wisdom teeth can become impacted and cause problems later in life. These problems include:
If it is time to remove your wisdom teeth, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon who will perform the procedure. This is a surgical procedure, but it can be done in the dental office with local anesthesia and sometimes general anesthesia.
The first step in the wisdom teeth removal process is a consultation with an oral surgeon or dentist. The dentist will take X-rays and develop a treatment plan based on the patient’s needs at this visit. It’s essential to be honest about your anxiety or concerns so that your oral surgeon can help minimize them.
During the procedure, a patient is usually given local anesthesia. Depending on the complexity of the case, sedation may also be used.
It is recommended that patients take a few days off from work or school to focus on recovery following the surgery. This is also an excellent opportunity to prepare a home environment that can help alleviate post-surgery pain and swelling. Some suggestions include having a pillow to prop up the head while sleeping and keeping a supply of over-the-counter painkillers on hand. Additionally, ice packs can be used to reduce swelling and bruising.
During regular dental checkups, your family dentist will monitor your or your child’s wisdom teeth and refer you to an oral surgeon if they grow improperly or become impacted. This early proactive treatment can save time, money, and discomfort in the long run!
Local anesthesia is used to numb the area where the tooth is removed. This can be uncomfortable for some people, especially if they have anxiety or low pain tolerance. For this reason, some patients choose to be sedated during the procedure using intravenous (IV) sedation. Patients who receive this form of anesthesia must not eat or drink anything (except prescription medications with a sip of water) for six hours before their surgery and arrange for someone to drive them home afterward.
In addition to pain medication your dentist or oral surgeon prescribes, over-the-counter acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help relieve postoperative pain. Avoiding excessive spitting is essential, which can dislodge the blood clot that forms in the empty tooth socket.
The dentist or oral surgeon will remove any impacted wisdom teeth. They may need a high-speed handpiece to break up and remove the bone covering your tooth (or partially covering it). Once this is done, they will pull out your wisdom tooth with dental forceps.
Some people need to have their wisdom teeth removed because they don’t have enough room in their mouths for them (they’re crowded). When a tooth doesn’t have room, it can get stuck or impacted against other teeth or the jawbone, leading to pain, infection, and other problems.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will give you instructions about care after surgery. They may recommend avoiding hard, chewy foods and alcoholic or caffeinated drinks for the first day or two. This helps the healing process and helps prevent complications with your extraction sites. It’s also essential to ensure you are rinsing and brushing gently, not pushing the wisdom tooth extraction sites.
After the sedation has worn off, your oral surgeon will begin the extraction process. He will create an incision into the gum tissue and remove any tissues blocking access to the wisdom teeth. Then, he will loosen the wisdom tooth and use forceps to remove it. The empty socket will be cleaned and sewn shut.
After the surgery, you may experience swelling, throbbing, and bruising around the mouth and cheeks. The numbness will wear off over the next few hours. Plan on taking it easy for a few days and avoiding strenuous activity.
It is essential to follow the after-care instructions from your oral surgeon for the best results. If you experience a dull, aching sensation or a bad taste in your mouth, this may be a sign of a complication called dry socket. This can be very painful and requires immediate attention from your oral surgeon. There is also a risk of nerve damage, which can cause a tingling sensation and numbness in your tongue, lower lip, chin, or teeth. This is usually temporary but can be permanent.