Getting Wisdom Teeth Extracted: What You Need to Know
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to emerge in the back of the mouth, typically between the ages of 17 and 25. While some people may not have any issues with their wisdom teeth, others may experience pain, infection, and other dental problems that require extraction.
If you're experiencing discomfort or have been advised by your dentist to have your wisdom teeth removed, here's what you need to know about the procedure.
Why Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
In many cases, wisdom teeth don't have enough space to emerge properly and become impacted, meaning they're stuck below the gumline. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of dental issues, including:
- Crowding of other teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can push against other
teeth, causing them to shift and become misaligned.
- Infection: Partially erupted wisdom teeth can trap food and bacteria,
leading to infection, swelling, and pain.
- Tooth decay: Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth and are
difficult to clean, making them more prone to decay.
- Cysts: In rare cases, wisdom teeth can develop cysts or tumors, which
can damage nearby teeth and bone.
The extraction of wisdom teeth is a common dental procedure, and most people recover quickly with little to no complications.
Preparing for Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Before your wisdom teeth extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will examine your teeth and take X-rays to determine the position of your wisdom teeth and the best approach for removal. They will also discuss anesthesia options with you, which may include local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia.
In the days leading up to your procedure, you should avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and eating hard or crunchy foods. You should also arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure, as you may be groggy from anesthesia.
The Wisdom Teeth Extraction Procedure
The wisdom teeth extraction procedure usually takes around 30-60 minutes and is performed in a dental office or outpatient surgery center. You'll be given anesthesia to numb the area and prevent pain during the procedure.
The dentist or oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. They may need to remove bone or cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make extraction easier. Once the tooth is removed, the area will be cleaned and stitched closed.
Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Extraction
After your wisdom teeth extraction, you'll need to rest for a few days to allow your body to heal. Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide instructions on how to care for your mouth, including:
- Applying ice packs to reduce swelling
- Taking pain medication as prescribed
- Avoiding hard or crunchy foods for a few days
- Rinsing your mouth with salt water to promote healing
- Brushing and flossing gently to avoid disturbing the extraction site
Most people recover from wisdom teeth extraction within a week or two, although it may take longer if the teeth were impacted or if there were complications during the procedure.
If you're experiencing pain or swelling that doesn't improve after a few days, or if you have other concerns, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for guidance.
Getting your wisdom teeth extracted is a common dental procedure that can help prevent a variety of dental issues. By understanding the procedure and following your dentist's instructions for care, you can ensure a smooth recovery and protect your dental health for years to come.
Dr. Peterson and his staff have years of experience removing impacted wisdom teeth. They will be happy to offer guidance and their skills in removing your wisdom teeth. If you have any questions about this procedure, feel free to call our office for a free consult.