When should the wisdom teeth be removed?
The procedure of removal/extraction and its aftercare
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth that come in and, in many cases, these are the ones that are least needed/ functional in the mouth. The wisdom tooth, the third molar is called a wisdom tooth erupts when most individuals become adults who are near 17 years of age or above. However, for some individuals all or some wisdom teeth never develop.
According to one theory, our jaws are smaller than our ancestors, this is the reason our wisdom teeth may not have enough space to settle down in our mouth properly. Thus, problems arise when the wisdom teeth attempt to emerge in the mouth.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each quadrant of the mouth. In most cases due to lack of space in the jaw, wisdom teeth start to develop and grow in directions that they are not supposed to and removal can be recommended by the dentist to avoid potential problems.
It depends on several factors, whether the wisdom teeth may cause harm to the mouth. It includes the size of the jaw and in what direction the tooth is heading to grown in. it may not show any symptoms but the other teeth in the mouth could be at risk of damage.
What are the potential issues related to it?
It is better to understand and learn the different ways wisdom teeth can develop problems, the better you will be able to understand why you may need to remove them.
It can cause infection
When a wisdom tooth partially breaks through the surface of the gums. The bacteria can get under the flap which causes infection in the gums.
Displace/damage the neighboring tooth
An impacted or erupted wisdom tooth can push the adjacent teeth making them crooked or can damage them structurally.
In some cases, due to wrong positioning the neighboring tooth end up with decay/ cavity.
Decay can develop
A decay could be formed in the wisdom tooth that is hard to clean due to its unusual position. It may be partially covered by the gum tissues which may collect the cavity-causing bacteria.
Poor positioning may cause the periodontal problems
A wisdom tooth that grows towards the cheek can irritate the nearby tissues. If it is poorly positioned or crooked it may be hard to clean or make it hard to bite down.
It can develop a cyst
If the sac that holds the crown remains in the bone, it can fill up the fluid that can develop a cyst that can destroy the surrounding bones.
In most cases, it is recommended by dentists to have a wisdom tooth removed around the age of 17 years because that is when it usually develops. Removal at this stage can be easy as the bones may not be as dense as it becomes at an older age. Also, the recovery at a younger age is fast since the roots usually have not developed completely.
What is the procedure of removal?
- The procedure begins with an evaluation of the dental and medical history of the patient.
- Two sets of X-rays would be conducted to see the overall view of the mouth and to examine the individual teeth. The X-rays are called Panoramic and Intraoral periapical x-ray respectively.
- The removal of the tooth may be scheduled at the dentist or dental surgeon’s clinic. Occasionally it happens at the hospital as well.
- The type and length of the surgery depend on the case.
- It is recommended not to eat or drink at least 8 hours pre-surgery.
- In some cases, sedative is given to relax or general anesthesia is given to put the anxious patient to sleep through the surgery. Local anesthesia is given to numb the area around the wisdom tooth.
- Once the patient is fully relaxed or asleep (if patient is choosing to go with sedation) and the mouth is completely numb, the surgery will begin.
- The surgical method depends on the wisdom tooth that either is impacted or erupted.
Erupted wisdom tooth extraction
If the tooth is partially or completely erupted, it may be extracted or lifted out with the help of forceps. Occasionally, if the roots are deeply embedded in the jawbone, the tooth may have to come out in split form or the bone has to be removed.
Impacted wisdom tooth extraction
If the teeth are impacted, an incision is made in the gum to reach the wisdom tooth. It creates a flap, which is peeled back, exposing the jawbone. If the tooth is lodged in the bone, the tissues that are covering the tooth may have to be removed. The dentist will extract the tooth from the socket in a single attempt or split it to take it out easily.
Aftercare post removal.
- After the surgery, the patient will be kept under observation for some time as he recovers from the anesthesia. When the progress is satisfactory, the patient is allowed to go home the same day.
- It’s better to take days off post-surgery as the pain and swelling are likely to happen. The dentist will prescribe antibiotics and pain-relieving medications to speed up the recovery (as per clinician’s discretion).
- The healing process will start right after the surgery. The body sends blood to nourish the tooth socket. To control the excessive bleeding, a piece of gauze has to be put on the bite to avoid direct pressure on the area.
- The blood clot will form in the socket. After a day or two, the soft tissues will begin to grow in the socket and becomes denser over the coming months.
- It is recommended to drink clear and cold liquids to help with the soreness. The impacted area should not be brushed or flossed otherwise the whole mouth has to be cleaned.
- Follow up will be held to see if the socket is healing properly and the mouth is returning to its healthy state.
- Patient is given thorough post op instructions to follow through for optimum recovery.
At the Clean Smile Dental Hygiene Clinic, Dr. Haider is providing general dental services. Wisdom Tooth extraction/ consults feel free to reach out. We make sure to discuss all possible treatment options and procedures with the patient so they can make informed decision. Call (780)800-6655 to book an appointment.