Often referred to as third-molar extractions, wisdom teeth removal may seem like the domain of teenagers. Adults, however, often need to have their wisdom teeth removed too. The extraction is completed by an oral surgeon and can be done as an inpatient or outpatient procedure depending on the severity of each patient’s case.

Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth Removal As wisdom teeth erupt in the mouth – or don’t erupt, as the case may be – they may need to be removed. Usually appearing between the ages of 17 and 25, most patients’ wisdom teeth are spotted on regular dental x-rays so they can be dealt with before they cause any discomfort.

There can be a number of reasons why wisdom teeth need to be removed:

  • Impacted teeth. When wisdom teeth are situated very far back in your mouth, they may not erupt normally or be able to break through the gums at all. This is when third molars become painful since they are likely to be stuck – or impacted – within your gums or jawbone.
  • Partial eruption.If the wisdom teeth are able to break partway through the gums, it is possible that a flap of gum tissue will grow over the teeth. This can create an area where food and germs get trapped, causing swollen and infected gums.
  • Small mouth.When your mouth cannot accommodate third molars, the diagnosis is that the patient has a relatively small mouth, meaning that jaw simply has no more room for an extra set of molars to grow. If the molars are able to erupt they may push the other teeth out of alignment.
  • Angled teeth. Wisdom teeth that come in at the wrong angle – whether the top of the tooth is facing forward, backward, or sideways – will not only look awkward in your mouth, they will be completely out of place and could press against your other teeth, causing damage.
  • Poor oral health. If you regularly experience cavities or gum disease in your back teeth, that means you’re probably not able to brush or floss very well in the back of your mouth. Your wisdom teeth are very likely to suffer even more greatly than your other molars.

Who Should Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?

The American Dental Association recommends that people between the ages of 16 and 19 have their teeth evaluated to see if their wisdom teeth need to be removed. Early intervention helps prevent the teeth from developing deep roots and creating serious oral health complications. If you have been referred to an oral surgeon for wisdom teeth removal, then your dentist has likely evaluated your teeth and confirmed that this is a necessary procedure.

Ideally, your wisdom teeth are being extracted to prevent problems from developing rather than being extracted in order to correct a problem that has already developed.

The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Surgery

Any surgery, no matter how seemingly “simple,” is a big deal. A patient undergoing third-molar removal will be put under anesthesia for the entire procedure. The surgery typically takes around 45 minutes, but every case is different and could take a longer or shorter amount of time, especially for patients who are susceptible to complications. Quite often, the oral surgeon will administer IV sedation so that the patient is able to “sleep” through the surgery.

After the tooth is removed, it is possible that you will need stitches. Usually, the stitches dissolve over time, while others need to be removed by hand in the dentist’s office.

After Oral Surgery

While the patient having their wisdom teeth removal (third molars removed) may experience some swelling and mild discomfort in the few days immediately following the surgery, many people have little to no pain at all. Nevertheless, pain or not, your mouth needs at least a few weeks to completely heal.

You will be issued restrictions about your diet and activities following wisdom tooth extraction, directives like not consuming solid food, coffee, alcohol, soda, or hot beverages in the first few days after the procedure. What you don’t want to do is dislodge the blood clot or somehow damage your healing gums.

After the surgery, your oral surgeon will provide detailed instructions about how to care for your mouth during the recovery time. Soft foods and liquids are usually the recommendation. And keep in mind that swelling and discomfort are not unusual following wisdom tooth extraction. Should you experience severe pain, fever, or pus discharge, that warrants a call to your oral surgeon.

A painful set of teeth is not something you can get used to, and leaving third molars in place could significantly impact the rest of your oral health and overall well-being. Learn more about wisdom tooth extraction from Dr. William Thompson at iCare Oral Surgery and Dental Implant Center in Commerce, Michigan. Make your appointment for your complete dental implant evaluation.

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