The wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to appear, typically during the late teens or early twenties (between the ages of 17 to 25). They are also known as the third molars and emerge at the back of the jaw. Wisdom teeth usually grow at a time when there are already 28 teeth in the mouth including the; incisors, canines, premolars and molars. In some people, these teeth grow peacefully bringing their total teeth tally to 32 while in others; there may not be enough space for these teeth to fully form outside the gums, making them to be partially or entirely trapped inside the jaws or misaligned as they emerge. This condition is referred to as: impacted wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth that partially emerge are usually inclined either, inwards, outwards, towards or away from the premolars and become hosts for bacteria or may be unreachable during brushing leading to either tooth decay, pericoronitis, cellulitis, abscess, gingivitis or cysts and benign growths. Initially, these problems are treated with antibiotics or antibacterial mouth wash. However, if symptoms persist, they have to be removed.
Removing wisdom teeth
Wisdom teeth are only removed when they pose health challenges to a person, that is if; they are painful, impacted, and decayed or when it has been established that there is not enough space for them to assume the right horizontal position on the gum. In instances where the patient is under any dental treatments such as restorative, periodontal or orthodontic treatments, the doctor may recommend removal of wisdom teeth, to prevent them from interfering with current treatments. It is not unusual to find cases of impacted wisdom teeth that are not removed, but when these happens, it is advisable to ensure thorough cleaning and constant checkups with your dentist.
Removal of wisdom teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Prior to removal, the doctor checks for symptoms such as tenderness or swelling around the gums. The doctor also inquires about these symptoms and dental cleaning habits of the patient. An x-ray is then done to ascertain the tooth’s position and assist in conceptualizing a strategy for the surgery.
During the procedure, the doctor will first administer local sedation or general anesthesia depending on the complexities of the case. Local anesthesia will numb the area around the tooth, sedation anesthesia will inhibit your consciousness and block memory formation, while general anesthesia will make you lose consciousness. After this, the doctor will make an incision in the gum to expose the bone and the tooth. Any bone that blocks access to the tooth is then cut out and the doctor divides the teeth with a small drill for extraction. The tooth is then removed piece by piece, and the hollow area left is is cleansed to remove any debris from the tooth or bone. Stitching may be done, although this doesn’t always happen, and gauze is placed over the extraction point to help stop the bleeding and maintain hygiene.
Immediately after the surgery, the patient is taken to a recovery room. This may be a separate room especially for those under general anesthesia or may be a brief period of rest for those under local anesthesia. Instructions are then given to the patient by the doctor, on how to handle the wound in order to facilitate healing. The patient is advised to take the prescribed medicines as instructed, restrict his/her activities of the day, and if possible, not resume activities until the following day, avoid vigorous rinsing of the mouth or touching the extraction area, to avoid eating hard food materials, and to chew away from the extraction area. Within the healing period; pain, swelling, nausea and/or vomiting, discoloration of the skin, jaw stiffness, and numbness in the tongue, lip or chin is expected. These conditions will subside gradually after surgery but should be closely monitored or discussed with the doctor if extreme.
The hollow space left after the extraction will be filled with newly formed tissue usually within one month. You should ensure that high oral hygiene standards are maintained and avoid bruising or hurting the wound using your toothbrush, food, or from external force during this period.
For more information on wisdom teeth, please contact Cosmetic Dentist in Boca Raton at (561) 232-2070