Wisdom teeth – also known as the third molars – are the last teeth to erupt, typically appearing between the ages of 17 and 25. Unfortunately, these teeth often present problems. Because of this, your dentist may recommend extraction (removal). Wisdom tooth extraction is currently performed on over five million patients in the U.S. alone, and is a typical procedure here at the Yuba City Dentistry Group.
But why must wisdom teeth be removed? And what can you expect from the procedure?
Reason for Extraction
Your dentist may recommend removal of your wisdom teeth for one or more of the following reasons:
The teeth are erupting crooked or are impacted (erupting sideways). This situation is potentially harmful to adjacent bone and/or teeth
The jaw is too small to accommodate the wisdom teeth, with a danger of excessive crowding in the mouth
The wisdom teeth only erupt partially, increasing the risk of bacterial infection
A cyst may develop around the wisdom teeth, leading to infection or injury
If your dentist suspects one of these conditions, you will undergo a thorough examination and series of diagnostic tests. He or she will then discuss the pros and cons with you in detail, including both present and potential problems.
If it is determined that the wisdom teeth be extracted, your dentist or oral surgeon will perform the procedure. If a single tooth is to be extracted, a patient may choose local anesthetic to prevent the experience of pain; however, it is typical to remove multiple wisdom teeth simultaneously. In this case, it may be recommended that a patient receive general anesthetic.
If the tooth is impacted, your dentist may need to open the gum tissue. He or she will then gently extract the tooth. Once complete, the dentist will suture the gum. You may rest in the office for a short time before heading home. Depending on your anesthesia, it may be advisable for a friend or family member to drive you home.
Following the Procedure
Your dentist will advise you to stay home for a few days, giving your mouth the chance to recover. Proper rest will promote healing, and pain relievers may be prescribed to help mitigate any discomfort. You may experience minor bleeding at the extraction site; you will receive a supply of gauze pads to help soak up the fluids. Additionally, resting with the head in an elevated position may reduce bleeding.
To help reduce swelling you may be directed to hold a cold ice pack on the outside of your cheek. Rinsing your mouth with a warm salt water solution helps keep the wound clean and may also help relieve discomfort.
Of course, your dentist or oral surgeon will provide you with complete post-operative instructions. He or she may encourage you to eat only soft foods for the few days following extraction, and you should be especially careful with anything going into the mouth until healing is complete.
If you are unsure what to do with respects to your wisdom teeth, why not call and set up an appointment today? The dentists at Yuba City will be happy to assist you by means of a proper diagnosis.