Wisdom teeth refer to an additional set of molars that emerge during a person’s late teens or early twenties. These third molars tend to emerge in pairs on the upper dental arch and lower dental arch, meaning four wisdom teeth total. Wisdom teeth are not necessary for regular eating and normal functions. In fact, wisdom teeth can make good oral hygiene more difficult since food can get trapped around or behind the wisdom teeth. There is also the issue of impaction and the way impacted teeth can negatively affect your overall dental health.
The team at our Nashville, TN dental practice would like to consider some of the basics of wisdom teeth removal. First, lets go into the dangers of impacted wisdom teeth.
What Is an Impacted Tooth?
An impacted wisdom tooth is a wisdom tooth that’s coming in crooked. When wisdom teeth are impacted, they wind up pressing against the existing molars or into the jawbone. This can lead to toothaches and jaw pain as an early sign that something is wrong.
What Happens If Impacted Teeth Aren’t Removed?
If impacted wisdom teeth are not removed and allows to emerge further, they can exert major pressure on your second molars. This can result in cracks and fractures in the second molar. The risk of root canal infection is higher since the structure of the tooth is being compromised.
Given the consequences of keeping impacted wisdom teeth, it’s generally a good idea to have them removed.
Monitoring the Emergence of Wisdom Teeth
Since wisdom teeth emerge around adulthood, dentists will spend a patient’s teenage years carefully monitoring the progress of the wisdom teeth. As a teen gets closer to their twenties, wisdom tooth extraction will be more likely. By that time, the wisdom teeth will have sufficiently emerged, and an oral surgeon will be able to extract the tooth without significant difficulty.
What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
During wisdom tooth extraction, a patient is placed under general anesthesia. It’s best for the patient to be unconscious during the procedure since the oral surgery can be a bit involved. Local anesthetic is used to eliminate pain and discomfort while the surgeon does their work.
The oral surgeon will make an incision along the gums where the wisdom teeth are located. The wisdom teeth will be fully removed, root an all, leaving nothing behind. Once the teeth are gone, the gums will be sutured shut to heal.
Recovery from Wisdom Tooth Extraction
After wisdom tooth extraction, patients will experience some soreness around the back of the mouth. Any discomfort can be managed using prescription pain killers and/or over-the-counter pain medication. Cold compresses are also helpful to address pain. Though gauze will be in place, some very mild bleeding may occur in the mouth near the incision sites.
For the first day or so, patients should eat soft foods and liquid foods that are of room temperature. Do not use a drinking straw since the suction can potentially undo sutures and affect the clotting at the incision sites. A followup visit with the oral surgeon will take place a few days after the procedure is performed to ensure proper recovery.
Learn More About Wisdom Teeth
For more information about wisdom tooth removal and improving your dental health, be sure to contact Gulch Dental Studio. We look forward to meeting with you and discussion how to enhance your smile and overall wellness.