WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL
Almost everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed, usually in their teens or early twenties. If it is time for your wisdom teeth removal or if you are experiencing symptoms that make you think it is time for a visit with our oral surgeon, Dr. Ghotanian, call us today to schedule your appointment at Ghotanian Dental.
What is Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Wisdom teeth removal refers to the extraction of the four permanent adult teeth located at the back of your mouth, in the upper and lower jaws. These third molars usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 21, and most people have all four of them. However, it's not uncommon for some people to only have some of their wisdom teeth, or in some cases, none at all. The prevalence of missing wisdom teeth is estimated to range from 5% to 37%.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
It is believed by researchers that our ancestors required wisdom teeth as their diet primarily consisted of hard nuts, crunchy leaves, and uncooked meat. However, due to our modern-day diet which mainly consists of cooked food and the use of utensils like forks and knives to cut our food into smaller pieces, wisdom teeth are now considered as vestigial structures, which means they are parts of the human body that have become unnecessary.
How do I know if I need to get my wisdom teeth removed?
In some cases, all four wisdom teeth can grow without causing any issues, but often, they can grow at an angle or become impacted in the jawbone or gum tissue, leading to various problems. If you experience dental pain near the back of your mouth, food and debris become trapped around your wisdom teeth, you develop gum disease or cavities in a partially erupted wisdom tooth, or you develop a cyst around one or more wisdom teeth or damage to nearby teeth or bone, your dentist may recommend wisdom teeth extraction.
Additionally, many healthcare providers may suggest wisdom teeth removal as a preventative measure, even if you don't have any symptoms. This can help reduce your risk of future issues, such as infection or tooth decay.
At what age should I have my wisdom teeth extracted?
While people of any age can have their wisdom teeth removed, it's commonly recommended to have them extracted in the late teenage years or early twenties. At this stage, the wisdom teeth are still developing, making them easier to remove and reducing the risk of complications.
What happens before wisdom teeth extraction?
If your dentist recommends wisdom teeth extraction, they will refer you to an oral surgeon for a consultation. During this appointment, the surgeon will examine your wisdom teeth and take dental X-rays to determine their location. They will also discuss sedation options with you. Wisdom teeth extraction is usually performed under local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia, depending on your needs.
It is important to inform the surgeon about any medications, vitamins, or supplements you are taking. This is also an opportunity to ask any questions you have about the procedure.
What happens during wisdom teeth removal?
After sedation, the oral surgeon will apply local anesthesia to numb the area around the wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth are impacted, the surgeon will make incisions to expose them and gain access. Next, the surgeon will gently loosen and lift the teeth from their sockets and clean the surrounding areas. Finally, the surgeon will place stitches to help with healing. In most cases, the stitches will dissolve on their own in a few days.
How long does wisdom teeth removal take?
Typically, wisdom teeth extraction takes about one hour or less. More complex cases may take longer.
What happens after wisdom teeth removal?
After the removal of your wisdom teeth, you can expect some mild discomfort, slight bleeding, and swelling. Your oral surgeon will provide you with instructions on how to manage these side effects. Once the effects of sedation wear off, a friend or family member will need to drive you home.
Risk and Benefits
What are the advantages of wisdom teeth removal?
Removing wisdom teeth has many benefits, the most significant of which is reducing the risk of future oral health problems such as gum disease, tooth decay, bone loss, damage to adjacent teeth, and jaw damage. If you're already experiencing pain due to your wisdom teeth, extraction can provide almost immediate relief and help you regain optimal oral health.
What are the risks or complications of wisdom teeth extraction?
In most cases, wisdom teeth removal is a safe procedure with few long-term complications. However, in rare instances, some people may experience complications such as infection, dry sockets (when the blood clot is lost, leaving the bone exposed), or damage to other oral structures such as the jawbone, nerves, sinuses or nearby teeth.
RECOVERY AND OUTLOOK
How long does it take to recover from wisdom tooth removal?
Typically, people feel comfortable three to four days after the procedure, but it may take up to a couple of weeks for the gums to fully heal. Your oral surgeon will give you specific instructions for after the surgery to help you stay comfortable during the recovery process.
Wisdom teeth removal aftercare
To promote a comfortable recovery after wisdom teeth removal, it is recommended to follow these general guidelines:
Rest as much as possible during the first few days.
Avoid strenuous activities for 48 to 72 hours.
Use a cold compress or ice pack on your face to reduce swelling.
Keep the surgical sites clean by gently rinsing with an antimicrobial mouthwash.
Avoid vigorous swishing to prevent dislodging blood clots and causing dry sockets.
Brush your remaining teeth as usual.
Take all medications, including antibiotics and pain relievers, as instructed by your oral surgeon.
What to eat after wisdom teeth removal
It's a good idea to fill your kitchen with soft foods such as pasta, rice, eggs, pudding, and yogurt to eat after wisdom teeth removal. Cool foods like ice cream can also help soothe the surgical areas. Avoid hard, crunchy, and spicy foods as they can irritate your tissues. Also, refrain from drinking through a straw as the suction can dislodge blood clots that are necessary for healing.
When can I go back to work or school?
Most individuals can resume their regular work or school routine within two to three days after having their wisdom teeth removed. However, if your job involves physical activity or heavy lifting, you may need to take additional days off to allow your body to heal properly.
TAKE A LOOK AROUND
While we specialize in providing dentures, dental implants and oral surgery, we also provide other dental services in our area. From cleanings and exams to oral health screenings, you can count on our team to meet your oral health needs.
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