What is Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
A wisdom tooth extraction is a type of procedure designed to safely remove wisdom teeth that are no longer necessary. Wisdom teeth are the final molars on each side of the jaw. These are the very last teeth to emerge from the gums. This typically occurs between the ages of 15 and 20.
Because most people do not have extra room in their mouth for these teeth, a wide range of issues can begin to occur if they are left in the mouth. They could become trapped under the gums or impacted with other teeth, which can lead to swelling and bleeding. Only in rare cases will these teeth be able to emerge from the gums and have sufficient room to stay in the mouth and remain healthy. In all other cases, a wisdom tooth extraction procedure is advised. It’s a very common procedure that doesn’t come with many adverse effects. The length of the procedure largely depends on the position of your wisdom teeth and how many teeth you’re having removed.
Why Have a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
There are plenty of reasons as to why you might choose to undergo a wisdom tooth extraction procedure. This procedure is highly beneficial for any individual who is experiencing issues because of the presence of these teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can result in a myriad of problems, including everything from general pain and damage of a nearby tooth, to periodontal disease tooth decay or in some cases, severe face and neck infection.
Having these teeth removed early will alleviate these symptoms and prevent related dental problems from occurring in the future. Even wisdom teeth that are symptom-free could still hold some form of disease. When a tooth doesn’t erupt as it should, it can be very difficult to clean properly, which may result in the development of a cavity or tooth decay. It’s also recommended that you seek this procedure as young as possible.
As you get into middle age, the risks from the surgery increase somewhat. If a wisdom tooth becomes impacted, the chance for the development of tiny cysts and tumors increases. The removal of these would require the assistance of a TMJ specialist. These are just some of the reasons as to why you should consider a wisdom tooth extraction. The oral and maxillofacial procedure is very successful, especially for those in their 20’s and early 30’s. There are hardly any possible long-term complications, so the downside to having this procedure done is minimal.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
The wisdom tooth extraction procedure is pretty straightforward. It begins with the application of a local anesthetic by the oral surgeon. The area directly surrounding the teeth that are set to be pulled will be numbed so that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. If more than one tooth is being pulled, a general anesthetic may be administered instead so as to keep you unconscious throughout the extractions. If you choose to have IV sedation, you should not eat or drink 8 hours before the procedure. Once the extraction begins, the gum tissue that’s over or around the tooth will be opened up. If any bone is covering the tooth, it will be removed.
Once this is completed, the tooth may be cut into separate pieces so as to make the removal process a simpler one. Following the surgical procedure, stitches may be placed in the area where the tooth was extracted. In most cases, these stitches will dissolve. In general, the entire recovery process is just a few days long.
You may experience a small amount of pain, bleeding, and swelling for the first three days or so after the extraction. When handled correctly, these symptoms will dissipate quickly. Your oral surgeon will be able to provide you with tips on handling these symptoms to ensure that the recovery process is a short one. As for the procedure itself, there are only a few risks. Given that this procedure is a surgical one, you may experience an issue because of the incision. Some rare risks include damage to nearby nerves, teeth, or the jawbone, a dry pocket that causes substantial pain, or an infection in the socket due to the development of bacteria.
Are You A Candidate?
Patients of any age can be a good candidate for this procedure, although the best candidates are those under the age of 25, as the recovery process is typically shorter with younger patients. If your wisdom teeth currently have an unhealthy appearance, are overcrowded, or have become impacted, you’ll likely be a good candidate for this procedure. If your wisdom teeth are adversely affecting you in any way, it’s recommended that you get this procedure done.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction FAQs
Q: How long will the procedure last?
The time it takes for your wisdom teeth to be removed all depends on the location of the teeth and how many are being removed. If only one wisdom tooth is being extracted, expect the procedure to last a total of 20-30 minutes. In the event that you are having all four wisdom teeth removed, it’s possible that the procedure can last a few hours. In general, you should always plan to spend a few hours at the dentist office, as there could be some additional waiting time as well.
Q: What can I expect after the procedure?
Once the procedure has been successfully completed, you should expect the recovery process to take anywhere from a single day to a few days. Initially, you will experience small amounts of bleeding, swelling, and pain. Bleeding typically dissipates after a day, while swelling and pain can last 2-3 days. Bruising of the area may occur, lasting upwards of four days. Make sure to drink lots of water and eat only soft foods for the few days following the procedure. Stitches may be placed in the treatment area. These dissolve in a couple of weeks. Only resume brushing your teeth after 24 hours have passed. Before this time, simply rinse with warm salt water.
Q: Are There Risks?
There are several risks that you should be aware of when considering this procedure. Swelling and pain are common around the socket where the tooth was removed. You may experience bleeding that continues almost constantly for 24 hours. Difficulty with opening your jaw and slow-healing gums are also possible. If the blood clot that protects the treated area is removed too quickly, a substantial amount of pain will occur, which is referred to as a dry socket. Rarer risks include a fractured jaw and an opening in the sinus cavity.
Q: How Soon Can I Return to Work?
On the day the procedure takes place, plan to take the whole day off. You can return to work after 24 hours, but any strenuous activities should only be resumed in a week or so.