Here, our Smithers dentists explain some of the issues wisdom teeth can cause in your mouth, the benefits of their removal, what the procedure includes and how it can help to improve your oral health.
What are wisdom teeth?
Between ages 17 and 15, most people develop a third set of molar at the back of their mouth, called wisdom teeth. While they can be a valuable asset if they grow in healthy and straight, these teeth can often become impacted or misaligned and require removal.
We can help prevent issues with your oral health in the future by removing problematic wisdom teeth.
What problems can wisdom teeth cause?
If your wisdom teeth emerge in the incorrect positions or if there just isn't enough room for them in your mouth, they may become crowded, impacted or may not fully erupt.These issues can create significant problems for your oral health since they are impossible to clean while below the gum line and if crowded, can be very difficult to maintain the health of.
They can also cause:
- Infection (which leads to pain)
- Bad breath
- Swelling in your jaw or face (potentially due to infection)
- In emergency situations: chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath
- Difficulty chewing, biting or opening your mouth
At Driftwood Dental, we advise taking a preventive approach to removing wisdom teeth, since molars (especially third molars) are more vulnerable to dental problems than other teeth in your mouth.
What are the benefits of having problematic wisdom teeth removed?
Removing your wisdom teeth can offer a number of health benefits, including:
- Improving oral health
- Preventing infection or decay
- Preventing damage to other teeth
- Solving issues with bad breath
- Preventing the need for further dental or orthodontic work in the future
- Alleviating or lessening pain in your face and mouth
How will I feel better after having my wisdom teeth removed?
There are a number of oral health benefits to haveing your wisdom teeth extracted. This procedure is quite common and you will likely be eating normally again within a few days. The extraction can also help to save you from more pain down the road caused by impacted wisdom teeth or other oral health issues.
You may also save time and money, as you may not need more time-consuming and costly dental or orthodontic work in years to come, thanks to eliminating the complications wisdom teeth can bring.
What does a wisdom teeth removal procedure involve?
Step 1: Anesthetic
Firstly, a local anesthetic will be used to numb your tooth and area around it. If you are anxious about the procedure, your dentist or dental surgeon may also provide sedetive to help you relax. This is usually done through an injection into your arm. General anesthetic is rarely used - only in instances where the procedure is completed in a hospital.
Step 2: Removing the Tooth
If the tooth is still under the gum, a small incision or cut will be made and a tiny piece of the bone over top of the tooth may also be removed. Your dentist or surgeon may cut the tooth into smaller parts so it’s easier to remove through the opening.
If the tooth has emerged through your gum, there is less of a need for an incision. You will likely feel some pressure as the surgeon or dentist rocks the tooth back and forth, widening the socket before they remove the tooth.
As your wisomd teeth are removed, you should not feel any pain. If the process is causing you pain, let your dentist or surgeon know as soon as possible so they can provide more anesthetic.
Simple wisdom teeth removal procedures can take up to 20 minutes, with complex procedures running longer.
What about recovery from wisdom teeth removal?
You should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. Dissolving stitches usually take between 7 and 10 days to dissolve, and a piece of gauze may be applied to the extraction site.
You’ll be asked to keep pressure on it by biting your jaws together for about an hour. This allows the blood clot to form within the empty socket, which encourages the healing process. You may be prescribed antibiotics for infection.
For 24 hours after your procedure, you should avoid:
- Drinking hot liquids such as coffee or soup
- Smoking or drinking alcohol (which could result in infection)
- Strenuous physical activity (which may encourage bleeding)
- Rinsing your mouth out with liquid (which could dislodge the clot)
If you notice any problems or extreme soreness after your recovery period, book an appointment with your dentist so they can check the extraction site.