Wisdom teeth are in the back of the mouth, on the top and bottom, and are the third set of molars. Wisdom teeth usually erupt between the mid-teens and early twenties. Healthy wisdom teeth are positioned accurately and painlessly. They should line up with the teeth opposite them and should be able to be cleaned completely. Impaction occurs if the teeth grow improperly or do not fully erupt, remaining inside the jaw or gums and effect the teeth around it.
Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed can prevent dental and facial pain, misaligned teeth, and infection. Having your teeth extracted when you’re younger and before the root is fully formed is often recommended. Healing is faster for younger patients and they tend to experience fewer complications.
The following are common symptoms of impacted or improperly grown wisdom teeth:
- Misalignment: Improper growth of wisdom teeth can force your other teeth out of their natural position. This not only causes pain, but can also damage the surrounding teeth.
- Pain: The jawbone, face, gums, and teeth can all experience pain from impacted wisdom teeth.
- Infection: Because impaction hinders the ability to properly clean your teeth, bacteria can build-up and lead to infections like gum disease, tooth decay, and periodontal disease.
- Cysts or tumors: If you experience any of the above symptoms, the American Dental Association recommends having your wisdom teeth extracted.
What does wisdom tooth extraction involve?
If you’ve spoken with your dentist and determined that having your wisdom teeth extracted is the best option for you, then you can expect the following:
- Anesthetic: If you are receiving only a single extraction, then a local anesthetic may be all that is provided. A local anesthetic numbs the immediate area but the you will still be conscious. If you are having more than one extraction, then a general anesthesia may be more appropriate. A general anesthetic numbs the whole body and you will be unconscious.
- Gum incision: The dentist will cut around the gum tissue to better access the impacted tooth.
- Bone removal: If your tooth is covered by or impacted within the bone, small portions may be cut away in order to make room for the extraction.
- Extraction: After the tooth is removed, stitches can be used to sew up any incisions or holes left behind.
- Protection: to stop further bleeding and protect the site, cotton gauze is often placed over the extraction area.
- Pain relief: A pain reliever may be prescribed or an over-the-counter can be suggested.
The procedure can be accomplished in less than two hours, though healing can last up to two weeks. Your dentist will offer suggestions on what to do and what to avoid in order to promote healing. Once your mouth has healed, you’ll be free from the pain and risks of further impaction and misalignment. It’s important to continue to keep up good oral hygiene as well as regular hygiene appointments with Advanced Dentistry South Florida.