Surprisingly a lot of people today do not fully understand wisdom teeth and the procedures involved with having this particular type of tooth removed. A straightforward explanation of wisdom teeth is that they are the four hindmost molars that typically develop around the age of 20. Now that we understand what a wisdom tooth is, it is essential to talk about why wisdom tooth extraction is sometimes needed. Wisdom tooth removal is usually done as a way to correct an existing problem or to prevent any possible future dental health-related issues.
Here Are A Few Reasons Why Wisdom Tooth Extraction May Be Required
- Extraction is considered a good option when one or more wisdom teeth have grown in or erupted at an unusual or awkward angle. In other words, the tooth may be facing backward, forward, or tilted to either side.
- In other instances, extraction is recommended when the patient’s jaw is not large enough to support this kind of tooth once it has grown in fully. When the jaw is not sufficient enough in size to support a wisdom tooth, the tooth may become impacted. An impacted tooth is simply a tooth that is unable to break through the gums as it normally would otherwise.
- Wisdom tooth extraction is often recommended when the tooth breaks only part of the way through the gums. This results in a flap of gum tissue that grows over the tooth. The result can be infections caused by germs that become trapped within the skin flap. In this situation, gums can become painful, swollen, and red in response to chronic disease.
- Finally, extraction is usually the best choice when dealing with impacted teeth. This is generally because of more severe problems such as infections, cysts, or damage to bone and teeth can ultimately occur when an impacted wisdom tooth is left untreated.
The extraction of a wisdom tooth is usually accomplished by a dentist or an oral/maxillofacial surgeon in an outpatient environment. Depending on the severity of the patient’s condition, the surgery may, in some instances, require hospitalization. Patient hospitalization is more common when all wisdom teeth must be pulled in one procedure, especially for those who are considered high risk for complications. As a note, patients with an infection may be required to take antibiotics for the infection to subside before surgery can be performed.
Wisdom teeth removal can involve the use of local or general anesthesia, depending on each case. General anesthesia is more commonly used when all wisdom teeth are to be removed at the same time. Wisdom tooth extraction involves the dentist opening up the gum tissue over the tooth and removing any bone covering the tooth. Once tissue connecting the tooth to bone has been separated, the tooth can be safely removed. In some cases, stitches may be required. Fortunately, today’s modern stitches will dissolve over time, while other older types of stitches may need to be removed a few days later.
What to Expect Post Wisdom Tooth Surgery
The good news for those who require wisdom tooth removal is that the entire procedure can be done in an outpatient environment where recovery only requires a few short days. Painkillers are, in many cases, prescribed by the doctor. That said, here are some excellent tips on how to speed up the recovery process after having wisdom tooth extraction surgery.
- While your mouth is still numb, it is best to avoid biting your lip, cheek, or tongue.
- Your dentist may also suggest that you not lie flat as this could promote excessive bleeding. Choose instead prop your head up with pillows to ensure less bleeding and a faster recovery. It is also recommended to avoid strenuous physical activity, as this may also cause excessive bleeding.
- Patients are instructed to gently bite on gauze padding occasionally as a way to promote healing. Patients with excessive bleeding that continues for more than 24 hours after surgery should contact their dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible.
- It is recommended to continue usually brushing, but gently the following surgery. Patients are advised to avoid using a straw for drinking liquids for the first few days following surgery. Sucking through a straw causes negative pressure in the mouth and could result in the formation of a blood clot.
- Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water for the first few days following surgery is another excellent way to promote faster healing. This can be done several times a day to relieve pain and reduce swelling. In most cases, one tablespoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water will suffice. Always rinse gently so that the surgical site is not disturbed.
Successful Wisdom Tooth Extraction Surgeries
Consulting with your dental care provider is the best way to know for sure if wisdom tooth removal is right for you. Because each patient and each case are different, it is best to carefully consider your options when it comes to having this type of surgery performed. Tens of thousands of successful wisdom tooth extraction surgeries are performed every year, helping patients enjoy a better quality of life. Improved oral functionality and reduced incidences of dental disease are always the goals. Your oral surgeon can discuss the benefits and risks involved with having this highly successful dental surgery performed.
Whether wisdom teeth are removed because of impacted teeth that result in infection or removed as a preventative strategy, one thing is sure, and that is that today’s modern and advanced dental procedures, techniques and tools make this type of dental surgery safe and highly successful with patients of virtually any age. Staying proactive when it comes to dental health and oral hygiene is always the best approach.
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