Wisdom Teeth Extraction - Need | Process | Recovery | Complications

Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. They usually appear when a person is in their late teens or early twenties i.e. in between the ages of 17 and 25, and they're spotted on X-rays. Wisdom teeth extraction is a surgical procedure to remove one or more wisdom teeth — the four permanent adult teeth located at the back corners of your mouth on the top and bottom.

Why do we need to remove them?

Most people have them removed for one of these reasons:
  • They’re impacted: Because they're so far back in your mouth, wisdom teeth may not come in normally. They can be trapped in your jawbone or gums, which can be painful.
  • Impacted wisdom teeth are vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay more than other teeth or tooth. This can result in pain and damage the other teeth causing severe dental problems.
  • They come in at the wrong angle: They may press against your other teeth.
  • Your mouth isn’t big enough: Your jaw has no room for an extra set of molars.
  • You have cavities or gum disease: You may not be able to reach your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or dental floss.
  • Pain.
  • Infection.
  • Damage to an adjacent tooth.
  • Development of a fluid-filled sac (cyst) around the wisdom tooth.
Some dentists and oral surgeons recommend wisdom tooth extraction even if impacted teeth aren't causing problems, as a preventive measure against potential future problems. Impacted wisdom teeth cause pain or other dental complications, and it can affect the health of other teeth. They must be removed or extracted. Dentists recommend taking out impacted wisdom teeth prevent future issues

Impacted wisdom teeth when infected show the below symptoms or signs:

  • Jaw pain
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Red or swollen gums
  • An unpleasant taste in your mouth

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause numerous complications in the mouth:

  • Damage to other teeth.
  • Cysts
  • Decay
  • Gum disease.

Whenever you are visiting your dentist to talk about the process for the removal of your wisdom teeth, be ready to answer the following questions to your dentist:

  • Do you have any health problems?
  • Do you take any medication on a regular basis?
Being ready to answer these questions will help your dentist to give you proper recommendation about the entire process.

The entire surgery of wisdom teeth extraction commonly consists of:

  • Making an incision in the gum, creating flaps to expose the tooth and bone
  • Removing any bone that blocks access to the tooth
  • Dividing the tooth into sections if it's easier to remove in pieces
  • Removing the tooth
  • Cleaning the site of the removed tooth of any debris from the tooth or bone
  • Stitching the wound closed to promote healing, though this isn't always necessary
  • Placing gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form
If the tooth is impacted, the dentist has to cut away gum and bone tissue that cover the wisdom tooth or the impacted tooth then, using forceps, grasp the tooth and gently rock it back and forth to slacken it from the jaw bone and ligaments that hold it in place. Sometimes, a hard-to-pull tooth must be detached in pieces. The process is painless as you will be given either a local, IV sedation or general anesthesia during the surgery. However, everyone responds differently to anesthesia. If you had a local anesthesia and feel alert, you might be able to drive home to begin your recovery. You might even be able to go back to work or do your normal activities. If you had general anesthesia or still feel drowsy, you’ll need someone to drive you home. Most people have little to no pain after surgery. You'll likely have swelling and mild discomfort for 3 or so days. Your mouth may need a few weeks to completely heal. Follow your doctor’s instructions for a quicker recovery.

Some tips which you can follow after your surgery for a quick recovery are:

  • After your surgery, plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Resume normal activities the next day, but for at least a week, avoid strenuous activity that might result in dislodging the blood clot from the socket.
  • Use an ice pack on your face to curb swelling or skin color changes.
  • Use moist heat for a sore jaw.
  • Gently open and close your mouth to exercise your jaw.
  • Eat soft foods like pasta, rice, yogurt, applesauce, or soup.
  • Brush your teeth starting the second day. Don’t brush against any blood clots.
  • Take the drugs your doctor prescribes to ease pain or swelling.
  • Call your doctor if you have a fever, or if your pain or swelling doesn’t improve.
  • Drink lots of water after the surgery. Don't drink alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages in the first 24 hours.
  • Don’t drink through a straw. Sucking may loosen blood clots that help your mouth heal.
  • Don’t rinse your mouth too harshly. Your doctor may suggest rinsing gently with saltwater.
  • Avoid hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods that might get stuck in the socket or irritate the wound.
  • If you smoke, don't do so for at least 24 hours after surgery — and wait longer than that if possible. If you chew tobacco, don't use it for at least a week. Using tobacco products after oral surgery can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.
  • Some oozing of blood may occur the first day after wisdom tooth removal. Try to avoid excessive spitting so that you don't dislodge the blood clot from the socket
  • You may have stitches that dissolve within a few weeks or no stitches at all. If your stitches need to be removed, schedule an appointment to have them taken out.
Even After taking a lot of care after wisdom teeth extraction, complications might arise. It is always wise to visit your dentist whenever a complication arises.

Some of the complications where a patient needs to visit the dentist are:

  • Swelling that worsens after two or three days
  • Fever
  • Severe pain not relieved by prescribed pain medications
  • A bad taste in your mouth not removed with saltwater rinsing
  • Pus in or oozing from the socket
  • Blood in nasal discharge
  • Persistent numbness or loss of feeling
Whenever there is any complication where you have to immediately meet the dentist, we at Implants Pro Center, San Francisco, provide emergency dentistry to relieve you of the trouble you are going through. Majority of times, the wisdom teeth extraction process goes very smoothly without any complication. The American Dental Association recommends that people between age 16 and 19 have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed. So, it is wise for you to regularly visit your dentist and check whether your wisdom teeth have started erupting and causing any issues.

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