Dr. Antonio Lopez-Ibarra, Tri City Dental Care
Wisdom Teeth Removal Questions
What are Wisdom Teeth?
AKA the 3rd molar, wisdom teeth are the molars in the hindmost position of your mouth. They begin to appear in your mouth from ages 17-21. These molars are usually slightly smaller than the other molars in your mouth, and their shape can vary dramatically from your other molars. Although you may not see them (under skin or under bone), there are usually 4 wisdom teeth present.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
- Soft Tissue Impacted: This is when the crown of the wisdom tooth is not covered in bone, but it's covered in gum tissue.
- Bony Impacted: This is when some or even all of the wisdom tooth is covered in bone.
Why Do They Have To Be Removed?
- There isn't enough room. The amount of bone available for wisdom teeth to come in straight is simply not there.
- They are impacted. This means they will not come in and function like a normal tooth. The two types of impaction are listed above. Soft tissue impacted wisdom teeth may cause food impaction underneath the gums, creating a breeding ground for bacteria to cause infection/decay. Bony impacted wisdom teeth may cause damage to the adjacent tooth's roots, ligaments, or crown.
- The wisdom tooth cannot be brushed and flossed effectively. This may create a pocket of infection, which can be extremely painful!
- Developing Cyst. Sometimes an impacted wisdom tooth may cause the development of a fluid filled sac called a cyst. If these cysts become large enough they may cause damage to the adjacent teeth, fracture of the jaw, and can become malignant.
- Wisdom tooth removal for braces. If you will be undergoing orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may recommend removing the wisdom teeth to prevent further crowding of teeth in the future. The removal of the wisdom teeth may be performed before, during, or after braces. Depending on what your orthodontist says.
- Removing them at a young age is better. Roots have not fully developed, making them easier to extract. Ideal age is usually 17-18.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
- Review any medical conditions with your dentist.
- List of drugs you are taking.
- For the procedure, would you like to be: fully awake, mildly sedated, asleep?
- Take a couple of days off work to allow for proper healing, especially if your job is physically demanding.
- If you choose sedation options; have your ride lined up.
- The poke of the anesthetic.
- Heavy pressure from dentist/oral surgeon.
- Noise from the handpiece used to expose the wisdom tooth.
- Lots of water during procedure.
- A few stitches .
- Surgery can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.
- Mild inflammation and mild discomfort is normal for the next 3 days. Typically, peaks at 72 hours after surgery.
- Stay away from hard crunchy foods that can damage the surgical sites.
- Do not smoke for the next three days. The heat along with the negative pressure can release the blood clot in the socket, and cause infection in the bone (dry socket). Dry socket is very painful and involves having you come back into the dental office to administer anesthetic, rinse the site, and pack a healing ointment to help the bone heal.
- Avoid spitting or sucking out of a straw for the next three days. This will may cause the blood clot in the socket to release, causing infection in the bone (dry socket).
- Don't rinse your mouth vigorously. Gentle rinses are best.
- Use an icepack to reduce swelling.
- Eat soft foods like soups, pastas, juices, shakes, jello, etc.
- Take medications as directed.
- Keep the area clean by brushing the next day very lightly. Avoid brushing in the surgical site.
- Call your dentist if you develop a fever, face swells, or are in intense pain.
Click here to view a video with more information from the American Dental Association .
-Dr. Antonio Lopez-Ibarra, Tri City Dental Care