Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth removal surgery is a procedure to remove the third set of molars, which typically appear between ages 17 and 25. Most people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth, meaning it doesn’t have enough room to grow naturally.2 By getting your wisdom teeth removed—either because an impaction has been identified or the potential for them to cause issues—you can ensure they don’t damage the surrounding teeth and bones.
Wisdom teeth removal surgery is an outpatient procedure that is typically performed by a dentist or oral surgeon.
A dentist will recommend this surgery if an exam and X-rays reveal that your wisdom teeth are impacted or may cause dental problems for you in the future. (Not everyone has wisdom teeth, but most people have one to four.)
The surgeon will cut into the gums and remove the tooth, either as a whole tooth or in pieces. You’ll be under anesthesia, which could include nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or intravenous (IV) sedation. Your surgeon will decide which sedation to use based on your comfort level as well as the complexity and number of extractions required.
Wisdom tooth removal surgery before age 20 is typically easier than a procedure performed at a later age. While age doesn’t preclude someone from getting their wisdom teeth removed, it can complicate matters.
Tooth roots aren’t fully formed in younger people, making them easier to remove and faster to heal.3
Complications of wisdom teeth removal surgery can include:1
- Dry socket, a painful condition that can occur if a post-surgery blood clot gets dislodged from the extraction site, causing the bone and nerves underneath to become exposed
- Irritated nerves
Your dentist will monitor the development of your wisdom teeth during routine appointments and with dental X-rays. They may discuss removing them if they’ve become impacted or if they have the potential to cause problems, such as the following:
- Tooth decay
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Periodontal disease
- Bone loss
- Tooth loss
Why Take Them Out?
Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars in the back of your mouth. They usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25, and they’re spotted on X-rays. 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.
- 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.
You’ll meet with the oral surgeon to talk about the process. At this appointment, make sure you:
- Talk about any health problems you have.
- List any drugs you take on a regular basis.
- Ask any questions you have about the surgery.
- Discuss what type of anesthesia you’ll have. You can either be numb or asleep during your surgery.
- Plan time off from work or school to have your surgery and rest afterward at home. Set up child care, pet care, or a ride home if needed.
Your surgery should take 45 minutes or less.
You’ll get one of these types of anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during the removal:
Your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out. If so, they’ll stitch the wounds shut so they heal quickly. These stitches usually dissolve after a few days. They may also stuff gauze pads in your mouth to soak up some of the blood.
Everyone responds differently to anesthesia. If you had a local anesthetic 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. Here are some tips for the first 3 days after surgery:
- 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, or soup.
- Drink plenty of fluids.
- 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.
Article compiled by Apple Tree Dental.
Article Reference Links:
- https://www.verywellhealth.com/how-are-wisdom-teeth-removed-1059378 ↑
- https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/wisdom-teeth-adult ↑