The wisdom teeth are those third molars that a lot of persons grown in their teens to thirties.
These teeth, in some persons, are known to be important when they are aligned well and healthy. To others, these teeth are not shaped properly, hence deserve to be removed.
If the wisdom teeth are not shaped well, they usually are aligned horizontally, instead of vertically. Sometimes, these wisdom teeth are far apart from their second molars, or even moving towards them. In other cases, they may become aligned outward or inward.
If the wisdom teeth are not aligned well, there may be an issue, as they could destroy the adjacent teeth, or even crowd the nerves and jawbone.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth would refuse to come out fully, hence you see them partially coming out from the gum.
If the wisdom teeth partially erupt, then there is a big problem, as they open holes that the bacteria can use and gain entrance to the tooth. This could worsen to an infection, and if care is not taken, you would notice stiffness of the jaw, swelling, serious pain, as well as illness.
That’s not all as these wisdom teeth erupting partially can worsen to gum disease and tooth decay. Why is this so? Since the wisdom teeth usually come out in awkward positions, flossing and brushing are not quite easy. This may leave a lot of food particles holding onto the teeth since the brush and floss can’t reach the partially erupted wisdom teeth.
How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?
To find out if you really do have wisdom teeth, you should consult your dentist. The dentist goes on to tell you where the wisdom teeth are positioned, and if they are aligned or not. To get this done, the dentist will carry out an X-ray on you. It’s only wise that you regularly run an X-ray to see where the wisdom teeth are situated in, and how aligned they may be.
If any complication is noticed with the wisdom teeth, the dentist can decide to refer your case to an oral surgeon. It is then the job of the oral surgeon to review the case and see if there really is any need for surgery.
Sometimes, if it is noticed that the wisdom teeth are not healthy or aligned well, the oral surgeon or your doctor can decide to book you for surgery, after your consent. Dentists are capable of knowing when there are signs of impending problems from the wisdom teeth, hence can recommend having them removed before the problems rear their heads.
This is important to prevent a very painful extraction that is more advanced in the nearest future when the problems rear their heads.
For those that are young, extracting the wisdom teeth is quite easy, but the same can’t be said for older adults. Why is this so?
This is because the roots of the wisdom teeth have not been developed well, which means the bone isn’t so dense. For older persons, the healing, as well as the recovery period usually takes a longer time.
If you are young and have misaligned wisdom teeth, it won’t be a bad idea if you have them now, before any kind of complication comes up.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
In some persons, the wisdom teeth can be removed easily, but in others, they are not removed easily. Why is there a disparity?
How easy wisdom teeth are removed depending on the developmental stage, as well as the position of the teeth.
Your dentist or oral surgeon usually tell their patients what to expect when they are undergoing the pre-extraction exam. How difficult the extraction will be? What are the risks? You should be given basic information concerning what to expect.
The wisdom tooth is extracted like the way a normal tooth would be, as long as it totally erupts. On the other hand, if the wisdom tooth is partially erupted, or living underneath the jawbone, the incision will be made into the gum to help the dentist or oral surgeon have access to the part that is hidden by the gum.
Usually, a tooth that falls into this scenario is usually not removed in a piece, rather it is removed in bits. Why is this done? This will reduce the quantity of bone that will be extracted to uproot the tooth.
What Occurs When Removing Wisdom Teeth?
Once tests are done, and everything has been set for the surgery, the dentist injects the patient with a local anaesthetic to numb the teeth, as well as the area that surrounds the wisdom teeth. The anaesthetic is similar to one that’s used to numb a tooth when a cavity has to be filled.
If you are suffering from anxiety, you can discuss with your oral surgeon or dentist on what local anaesthetic that can be used in controlling your anxiety.
Some of the sedating medications that are administered could be used to numb the pain or to reduce anxiety in patients are oral sedative like Valium, or nitrous oxide, which a lot of persons called ‘laughing gas’.
It could be an intravenous sedative that is injected directly to your veins. For the surgery, if you are administered nitrous oxide, you are permitted to drive home after the surgery. If, on the other hand, you are administered the others, you may need someone that will be with you, to drive you home.
It is prohibited to drive yourself in such a condition.
What Kind Of Recovery Is Involved After Wisdom Teeth Are Pulled?
Once you have removed your wisdom teeth, the recovery pace is usually dependent on some factors like how difficult it was to remove the tooth. For fully erupted wisdom teeth, they can easily be extracted, unlike those that are partially erupted. Recovery period for young people with fully erupted wisdom teeth is faster than those who are older and have partially erupted wisdom teeth.
Sometimes, people may wonder what they should expect during the recovery period. We have grouped the recovery period into stages.
During the first 24 hours
In this period, you may notice some bleeding, but it shouldn’t be a serious one. The bleeding usually lasts for a few hours once the tooth has been extracted. What you should do is
to control the bleeding by placing a moist and very clean gauze on the now empty tooth socket. Don’t forget to firm bite on the clean gauze. Try to bite on the clean gauze for close to fifty minutes. If you don’t want to make use of the clean gauze, you should consider using a moistened tea bag as a good alternative.
The tea usually contains tannic acid that is great in healing the blood clots. If you make use of tea bag on the tooth socket, the blood will clot.
If you notice that the bleeding still persists after a long time, you should speak to your oral surgeon or dentist.
For the first twenty-four hours, you shouldn’t spit or rinse to prevent the clot from being removed. It is also important that you avoid trying to suck anything, smoking or even taking hot beverages. If you can avoid soup or coffee within this period, it will ensure that it heals well, and prevents the creation of dry socket.
Sometimes, a person may notice facial swelling close to that place that the extraction was done. To help reduce the swelling, try and put ice cube that has been wrapped in a piece of cloth there.
Keep it on that place for at least ten minutes, then remove it for at least twenty minutes, before you put it there again. Continue that process during that period. This will help curtail the facial swelling.
Dentists will advise that you take pain medications like ibuprofen, or acetaminophen to treat the pain if it is minor. If you notice that the pain is intense, you should consider contacting your oral surgeon or dentist. The oral medical practitioner will most likely prescribe pain relievers that are known to be more potent.
The antibiotics that were prescribed to you by the dentist before the tooth extraction procedure should still be taken, until the prescription is completed, as this will prevent any infection from forming.
It’s advisable that the food you consume be only liquid. Avoid solid food until every numbness that comes with the anaesthesia has eroded. After that, you can then eat only soft foods for a week or so. During this period while you are under narcotic pain medication, it is necessary that you avoid alcohol intake.
Don’t forget to brush your teeth, but try to avoid those that are near the tooth that has been extracted during the first day.
Once the second day comes, you can then start brushing gently. Avoid those commercial mouthwashes during this time as they can make the site extracted to be irritated.
After 24 hours
Once the first day is gone, you should stop treating the facial swelling with ice, and opt for heat treatment. Put a towel that is both moist and warm on that place for at least twenty minutes. After twenty minutes, remove the towel, and wait for another twenty minutes before you put the towel there. Continue doing the process.
Put warm salt water in your mouth, and rinse it before you go to bed, and after meals. Avoid commercial mouthwashes as much as possible during this period.
If stitches were used on you, ensure that your dentist or oral surgeon remove them in a week or so, except they are those self-dissolving kinds. If the dentist will stitch you up, it’s your right to ask what kind will be used.
It is important that during this period, you try and watch to see if you will notice signs and symptoms of dry socket. If you notice it, you should contact your oral health care provider for treatment.
The spot doesn’t heal until after a few weeks, or even months. Generally, after two weeks or so, you should be able to use the part of the mouth that the tooth was extracted, but you have to be careful when using it. If you notice any changes or have any question, you should consider asking your dentist.
What Are Potential Complications of Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Sometimes, the wisdom tooth removal may not come with complications, but other times, it may. What are the potential complications that may rear their heads? Two complications that may come are Paresthesia and Dry Socket.
Wisdom Tooth Dry socket
This is a very common complication that happens when the blood clot that was formed was removed from its position, or if no blood clot agreed to form. If a blood clot is not formed, then the healing process may be delayed for a long time. Usually, a dry socket may be seen within three or four days after the extraction was done. It comes bearing pain, and sometimes a foul odour. You have to contact your dentist if you notice this.
Wisdom Tooth Paresthesia
This complication is rarer than a dry socket. Since some wisdom teeth are located near the nerves, they can be injured while removing the teeth. This could lead to your tongue or mouth being numb for a short period of time or permanently.