The third molars, sometimes referred to as your wisdom teeth, usually appear between the ages of 17 – 25. These are your last set of teeth to develop and may become impacted. When wisdom teeth become impacted, which is a common occurrence, they need to be removed before they can cause damage. Our doctor performs wisdom teeth extraction for patients in our region.
What does it mean when a tooth becomes impacted?
Wisdom teeth are said to be “impacted” when they are unable to fully enter the mouth. There is not enough room for these teeth to break through the gums. At least one impacted wisdom tooth occurs for nine out of ten people.
What kind of damage can occur from an impacted wisdom tooth?
When wisdom teeth become misaligned, they can cause potential problems such as crowding or damage to nearby teeth, the nerves or jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth can become infected or may damage neighboring teeth. The bacteria that leads to gum disease can develop because the third molar area is more challenging to clean. Systemic infections that lead to illnesses affecting the kidneys, heart, as well as other organs are possible if the bacteria travels through the blood stream. In some cases a fluid-filled cyst or tumor can develop which can hollow out the jaw and damage surrounding teeth and nerves.
Thus, your wisdom teeth should be removed in the following cases:
- Potential damage to nearby teeth
- Existence of cysts or tumors
- They contain cavities that cannot be restored
- There are infections and/or periodontal disease
If there are no problems, should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
It is important that our dentist performs annual check-ups to monitor the health of your wisdom teeth. Even wisdom teeth that come in normally may be prone to disease, and studies show that pain free does not necessary mean problem or disease free. Wisdom teeth require regular, professional cleaning and must be monitored with annual check ups.
How are my wisdom teeth removed?
Our doctor performs an exam prior to your wisdom teeth extraction to give you an idea of what to expect from your procedure. Your extraction may be performed with numbing cream and local anesthetic or in some cases a general anesthetic may be used. With general anesthetic you will need to have someone drive you home.
What is recovery from wisdom teeth removal like?
You will receive special instructions for care following your wisdom tooth/teeth extraction. After care will depend on the type of extraction required. Your doctor will provide detailed instructions as to what to expect and the care required for your particular surgery. In general, you will need to eat a liquid diet until your numbness from your aesthesia wears off, and you will need to eat soft foods for a few days. Commercial mouth rinses need to be avoided. The next day you can also begin to gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times daily to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
Within the first week or two, most patients experience reasonable comfort in the area of extraction. Complete healing may take weeks or months.