Wisdom Teeth Removal
A wisdom teeth removal procedure becomes necessary when the third set of molars (wisdom teeth) in the back of your mouth start to grow. Often, this growth is spotted inpatients’ dental x-rays, somewhere between the ages of 17 and 25.
Your dentist will recommend a tooth extraction of your wisdom teeth if …
• The teeth are impacted: trapped between the gums and jawbone.
• They are growing at the wrong angle, pressing against other teeth, and causing pain.
• There is no room for more teeth in your mouth.
• Impactions prevent you from easily cleaning the teeth in the back of your mouth.
Why Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grow in the mouth, and when they become impacted, wisdom teeth are problematic. A wisdom teeth removal procedure may be necessary for children as young as 12 or 13 years old but is more common in the later teenage years. If wisdom teeth become impacted in your later twenties and early thirties, you run an increased risk of complications, including…
Localized gum infection, or pericoronitis, is the most common clinical problem that occurs from impacted wisdom teeth. You might experience irritation, infection, swelling, and pain in the gums when wisdom teeth do not have enough room for total eruption. Ultimately, you could have problems chewing and/or swallowing when the gum tissue around your wisdom teeth becomes infected.
An impacted wisdom tooth can give rise to the formation of cysts within the jawbone, which can lead to tumors if left untreated. The cysts can slowly expand and destroy the adjacent jawbone and teeth. Removing wisdom teeth during the teenage years prevents the possibility of cysts appearing down the road.
Teeth crowding can occur from the eruption of wisdom teeth. And overcrowding leads to misaligned teeth which can be especially detrimental to those who have invested in braces. There are several possible reasons for teeth crowding in adulthood, and wisdom teeth can be a contributing factor. Your oral surgeon may recommend removing your wisdom teeth to avoid the possibility of long-term damage to your teeth, gums, and jawbone.
Damage to Adjacent Teeth
When there is not enough room for the wisdom tooth to fully erupt, your teeth can be difficult to clean. This negatively affects second molars, which are directly in front of the wisdom tooth. If you can’t keep your wisdom teeth clean, it leads to gum disease, decay, and bone loss around the tooth.
What Happens if You Don’t Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If you do not get wisdom teeth removed in your teens or twenties, there is more of a chance that an extraction may cause complications. The time it takes to recover from a wisdom tooth extraction procedure is more prolonged the older you are. Over the years, your third molar roots become longer and jawbone grows denser.
Over 30 with Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Patients in their teens and early-twenties have the fewest complications and heal the quickest from a wisdom tooth extraction. If you wait too long, your wisdom teeth can become completely impacted in bone. In this case, patients may be advised to wait for a tooth extraction until there is a localized problem resulting from the impacted wisdom tooth.
How to Prepare for the Day of Your Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
Your oral surgeon provides specific and detailed pre and post-surgical instructions prior to the procedure. You are provided with anesthesia options at your consultation, and patients commonly choose to be sedated for the procedure. Some key instructions include…
• No eating or drinking 8-hours in advance of your procedure. (Pre-approved medications may be taken with a sip of water).
• Bring a parent or responsible adult on the day of your procedure. Once your procedure is over, you will be quite drowsy. We will not proceed with your surgery unless you are accompanied by a responsible adult.
• Be ready with pain medication. Immediately after your procedure you won’t feel much pain or discomfort, as the effects of the anesthesia will still be active. But as it wears off over the day, you will want over-the-counter and prescription pain medication on-hand.
• Numbness in the jaw is common when you get home. Expect to feel very tired for the rest of the day. When feeling begins to return to your gums, they might feel swollen – which is completely normal.
• Immediately following your procedure, you will be hungry and thirsty because of fasting for the previous 8-hours. Start with clear liquids and avoid dairy. Over the first day at home try to eat only very soft foods, and carefully follow the dietary instructions provided by your oral surgeon.
• Do not use straws or tobacco for the extent of your healing process. The only way for your gums to heal is for a clot to develop over the tooth extraction wound/area. Sucking on a straw can dislodge the clot and result in a very painful condition called “dry socket.”
Do You Have Any Pre-Procedure Questions?
We encourage you to reach out with any questions or concerns regarding your procedure and recovery. Your specific situation will be discussed in greater detail at the time of your consultation. And, at any time, you can contact our patient care coordinators to ask questions before and after your wisdom teeth removal procedure.
The Day of Treatment
Please do not eat or drink anything prior to your surgery. Having anything in your stomach can increase the risk for serious anesthetic complications.