Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, can often be found in the back four corners of your mouth near the jaw joints. Typically, these teeth grow in around the late teenage years or early twenties. For some patients, wisdom teeth may grow in without issue. Some patients might not have wisdom teeth at all! Other patients, however, may experience complications when the wisdom teeth become impacted, erupt incorrectly, or crowd other teeth. When these complications arise, surgical treatment may be necessary.
Q. Why are wisdom teeth removed?
Typically, erupting wisdom teeth bring several oral health issues. The average jaw is often too small to accommodate a third set of molars, which causes severe pain for patients. This growth can also cause overcrowding as the wisdom teeth push against other teeth for space.
Wisdom teeth can also lead to tooth decay, infections, or gum disease when unable to emerge completely.
Q. When do I need wisdom teeth removal?
If your wisdom teeth are not causing you any pain, there are several other reasons why your dentist may suggest a wisdom tooth extraction.
As a patient, your dentist will examine your wisdom teeth during typical routine cleanings or dental exams. If your dentist notices anything suspicious, they may take additional x-rays and discuss potential treatment options.
During examination, your dentist may determine that your wisdom teeth need to be extracted if they discover a risk of infection, impaction, damaged adjacent teeth, or cysts. Age may also factor into having wisdom teeth removed, as older adults are far more likely to struggle with complications during and after surgery.
Q. What can happen if wisdom teeth are not removed?
When wisdom teeth erupt, they can potentially crowd or damage nearby teeth if they do not have adequate space. Wisdom teeth can often carry disease without presenting any symptoms.
If the wisdom teeth do not grow in properly or crowd other teeth, food will become more easily trapped, contributing to bacterial growth. Flossing will also become more difficult as a result of crowding. For these reasons, wisdom teeth extraction can also serve as a preventative measure to avoid future pain or oral problems.
Q. What happens during the removal process?
Our specialists will first examine your mouth and gauge the positions of the wisdom teeth with x-rays. These x-rays will help determine your oral health, identify any potential issues or complications, and determine the best approach for extraction.
In our office, wisdom teeth removal is performed under general anesthesia to ensure the comfort of our patients. When your surgeon begins, an incision will be made in the gum tissue if necessary to access the tooth and bone. Any bone blocking the wisdom tooth root will be removed. Once exposed, the wisdom tooth, bone, and any remaining tooth fragments will be removed from the socket.
After the removal, the socket will be stitched shut and covered with gauze to control the bleeding and aid in the formation of blood clots. As you wake up, we actively monitor and control any bleeding to minimize discomfort.
Wisdom tooth extractions are typically outpatient procedures, meaning that patients are able to return home on the day of surgery once the wisdom teeth are extracted.
Q. What can you eat after having wisdom teeth removed?
We encourage our patients to adhere to a liquid diet initially. An ideal meal can consist of soup, pudding, or yogurt.
In the first week of recovery, you should not consume solid foods. The act of chewing can disrupt the healing process, and some solid foods can contribute to the risk of dry socket. You should also avoid hot beverages and drinks such as soda, alcohol, and coffee.
After a week, soft foods can be reintroduced to your diet.
Q. How long is the recovery process?
Recovery generally lasts 4-7 days. Teenagers typically heal faster than adults, but the speed of recovery is also dependent on a patient’s current health. In the first 24 hours of recovery, avoid brushing, spitting, flossing, or rinsing your mouth. It is best to ensure that the blood clot forming over the removal site remains intact.
Sticking to your liquid diet will also aid in recovery. Avoid using straws, however, as they can contribute to the risk of dry socket and upset the blood clotting process required for healing.
When performed in a sterile, professional environment, our patients run minimal risk of concern or complications.
Our team is determined to make wisdom tooth extractions as painless as possible! To schedule a professional examination, monitor your healing process, or ask any further questions, please call our Dallas Oral Surgery office at 214-363-9946.