Wisdom tooth extraction is a very common procedure. The wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge. Often by the time they do emerge, there is little to no room left in the mouth for them. Because of this their emergence often causes problems as they begin to protrude through the gums. Sometimes they are not able to emerge at all and become completely impacted in the gum line causing a great deal of pain.
At Cormier Family Dentistry we generally recommend preventive removal of wisdom teeth for patients who have limited room for them to emerge properly. The ideal time for this removal is generally in the late teens or early twenties before the roots fully develop.
What problems are associated with impacted and partially impacted wisdom teeth?
When a wisdom tooth cannot emerge fully, a flap of skin, the operculum, can form over the tooth. This makes the tooth difficult to access to clean. Food and bacteria get trapped. This leads to infection, or pericoronitis. While these infections typically resolve on their own, during the infection there is uncomfortable pain and swelling.
Wisdom teeth can also crowd the existing teeth causing them to come out of alignment. This jostling for position may even cause damage to the teeth.
What is extraction like?
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure. It may be more complicated for some patients depending on the location of their wisdom teeth and the innervation of the surrounding area. Patients may only undergo anesthetic, while others opt for sedation during the procedure.
During the procedure the gum tissue will be cut open to reveal the tooth. The tooth is then loosened and lifted out. In some cases the tooth may need to be broken into pieces to full remove from the gums. Sutures are typically used to close the incision. These sutures are typically soluble and dissolve with time.
What is recovery like?
Those undergoing extraction will need ample down time to rest and recover. A friend or family member will need to drive you if you undergo sedation. Patients experience some bleeding and pain. Gauze will absorb much of the bleeding until the extraction site clots.
If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call your dentist. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat as this may encourage bleeding. You will receive prescription pain medication or recommended over the counter anti-inflammatories. Many patients also benefit from an ice pack.
Patients should limit themselves to soft foods like pudding and yogurt in the first few days after surgery. You should also refrain from using a straw or smoking as the sucking can loosen sutures and prevent healing. If you continue to have problems healing after surgery, schedule a follow up appointment.
The extraction of wisdom teeth has become a rite of passage for our patients at Cormier Family Dentistry. While the procedure may be uncomfortable for a few days, preventive removal of the wisdom teeth early on helps eliminate more serious consequences later in life.
If you have questions about wisdom tooth extraction please give our office a call to set-up a consultation appointment at 318-868-4072