What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, have been the cause of discussion in for many years. To put simply, they are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. Entering in your mouth behind the upper and lower second molars between the ages of 17 and 25. This time of your life is often referred to as the “Age of Wisdom”, hence the name, Wisdom Teeth.
What is an Impacted Tooth?
If teeth aren’t able to grow into the mouth, they are considered “impacted” teeth.
What is the cause for concern?
If you succumb to an impacted tooth, you may encounter the following issues:
- Tooth loss
- Bone loss
- Loosened teeth
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Receding Gum tissue
- Damage to neighboring teeth and roots
If left untreated, a cyst could form. This happens if the sac around the impacted tooth becomes filled with fluid and enlarges.
If a cyst is ignored, it could grow, and permanently damage your jaw by hollowing out the surrounding area. In some rare cases, a tumor may develop. This would require surgery to remove it entirely.
The main takeaway is, do NOT ignore your wisdom teeth!
Hey Doc, what if my tooth hasn’t caused any issues yet?
“Pain-free” does not mean “Disease-free.”
It’s easy for your wisdom teeth to be neglected. That’s why it’s important to keep the back of your mouth clean, otherwise, it could lead to gum disease and bacteria build up. You may not realize something is wrong unless you consult with a doctor.
When Should I have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Our doctors know that each patient case is different. After we perform an examination of your mouth we may do one of the following:
- Extract the tooth completely.
- Partial removal of the tooth (Coronectomy).
- Observe the tooth and monitor its condition.
If you decide to not get your wisdom teeth removed until a later date, we urge you to monitor your dental and oral health closely by scheduling regular dental check-ups. At the minimum, you should schedule annual check-ups.
Preparation for Surgery
So you’ve decided to have your wisdom teeth removed by our renowned doctors, now its time to prepare for surgery. Be sure to ask your doctor any questions or concerns and inform them of any medications your taking or illnesses you may have. Basic guidelines suggest you follow these steps before surgery:
- Wear comfortable clothing, short sleeves are recommended.
- If your receiving intravenous anesthesia, don’t eat or drink for 6 to 8 hours before the procedure.
- Arrange post-surgery transportation with family or friends to ensure safe travel.
The Surgical Procedure
Our surgeons will recommend which anesthesia is right for you. These include general anesthesia, local anesthesia, or intravenous sedation. In addition, the time required for surgery and method of surgical procedures will depend on many factors:
- Position of teeth
- The length and make of roots
- The thickness of the surrounding bone
- Your physical health
Immediately after surgery, you will take some well-deserved rest before you are cleared to leave home with your companion.
Our Doctors are committed to ensuring a quick and comfortable recovery. Thus, we will prepare you with a list of instructions and prescriptions that will make your post-surgery experience easy and painless. Here are some additional suggestions you might find beneficial:
- Use an ice pack for the first 48 to 72 hours to reduce the temporary pain and swelling.
- Apply moist heat if you’re unable to open your mouth as wide as normal.
- If bleeding or pain does not subside after the first 72 hours, contact our doctors immediately. They are on call 24 hours a day in case of emergency.
- Gently exercise your jaw by opening and closing your mouth every few hours.
- Gently rinse your mouth with salt water to aid healing.
- Avoid hard or sticky food consumption.
- Do not smoke or use tobacco products of any kind.
- Brush your teeth daily but avoid surgical areas.
- Eat soft foods and drink plenty of fluids for the first 48 hours after surgery. Don’t use straws, suction can disturb the blood clotting.
Be sure to use doctor-prescribed pain medication as per our instructions. You should be able to resume normal day-to-day activities within a short period of time.
Known Risks and Complications
Although wisdom tooth surgery is a common procedure, in some rare occasions complications may arise. Being aware of these risks will help you know if something isn’t right after surgery. The following list is what you should look out for:
- Dry socket
- Numbness, or altered sensation
- Sinus complications
- Root fragments
- Jaw fracture
- Jaw joint pain or abnormal jaw function