In this post, our Midland dentists talk about some of the issues that can be caused by wisdom teeth, as well as the benefits of having these troublesome teeth removed.
When most people are between 17 and 25 years old, they develop a third set of molars that could be a great asset if they erupt healthy and straight. But, often these teeth come in impacted or misaligned, needing to be extracted.
Our Midland dentists are able to help prevent a range of future oral health problems by removing problematic wisdom teeth.
The Problems Wisdom Teeth Can Cause
When wisdom teeth erupt in the wrong positions or your mouth doesn't have enough space for them to emerge, they could become crowded, impacted, or not fully erupt. This could result in oral health issues because they can be impossible to clean when they remain beneath the gum line. If they come in crowded, they become hard to properly floss and reach with a toothbrush.
They can also cause:
- Swelling in your jaw or face (potentially due to infection)
- Bad breath
- Infection (which leads to pain)
- Troubles biting, chewing, or opening your mouth
- In emergency situations: chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath
At Dentistry at Lifestyles, we recommend taking a preventive approach by having your wisdom teeth removed, because molars (especially third molars) are at a higher risk of dental problems than your other teeth.
The Benefits of Removing Problematic Wisdom Teeth
Having your wisdom teeth removed can offer many benefits, including:
- Improving oral health
- Preventing the need for further dental or orthodontic work in the future
- Alleviating or lessening pain in your face and mouth
- Preventing damage to other teeth
- Solving issues with bad breath
- Preventing infection or decay
How Removing Your Wisdom Teeth Helps You Feel Beter
There are many oral health benefits to having your wisdom teeth removed, and the procedure is very common – you should be eating normally again within a few days. Having this procedure performed now can also save you from experiencing more pain due to impacted wisdom teeth or other 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.
The Procedure For Removing Wisdom Teeth
Step 1: Anesthetic
First, your dentist uses a local anesthetic to make the tooth and surrounding area numb. If you are especially anxious about your procedure, your dentist or surgeon might be able to give you a sedative that can help you relax, usually with an injection to the arm. A general anesthetic isn't used often and is usually only utilized in cases where the procedure is conducted 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 the 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 the gum, there will be less need for an incision. Just before the tooth is removed, you’ll feel some pressure as the dentist or surgeon rocks the tooth back and forth, widening the socket, before removing your tooth.
You shouldn’t feel any pain as your wisdom teeth are actually removed because the anesthetic will have made the area numb. If this is painful for you, let the dentist or surgeon know so they can provide more anesthetic.
Simple wisdom teeth removal procedures typically take up to 20 minutes, with complex procedures running longer.
Recovering After Wisdom Tooth 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:
- Strenuous physical activity (which may encourage bleeding)
- Rinsing your mouth out with liquid (which could dislodge the clot)
- Smoking or drinking alcohol (which could result in infection)
- Drinking hot liquids such as coffee or soup
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.