Wisdom Teeth Removal
If you're experiencing pain near the back of your mouth, it may be due to erupting wisdom teeth. Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, but if these teeth become impacted or partially erupt, you should contact the Gainesville dentists at Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars that are the last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth. They usually emerge between age 17 and 25. For some people, however, these teeth can cause some trouble and need to be removed.
Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth can become impacted if they do not have enough room to erupt into the mouth. These impacted wisdom teeth can cause a myriad of problems, including:
- tooth decay
- damage to nearby teeth
- problems with orthodontia
Pericoronitis, inflammation surrounding a partially erupted tooth, may be another reason for the removal of said tooth. Wisdom teeth are often removed before they cause actual problems because asymptomatic wisdom teeth can still be diseased, and because it is easier and carries less risk to remove the teeth from a younger person. In addition, visiting an emergency dentist is a situation most people wish to avoid.
Wisdom Teeth: Types of Impactions
Wisdom teeth that are impacted have not erupted properly into the mouth. These teeth can grow at an angle towards other teeth or towards the back of the mouth. They can be horizontal to other teeth, or simply be trapped in the jawbone.
A distal impaction is angled in a way that the tooth is pointed toward the back of the mouth.
A mesial impaction, which is the most common type of wisdom tooth impaction, means the tooth is angled toward the front of the mouth.
Vertical / Horizontal
A vertical impaction has a similar angle to a normal tooth, however, a horizontal or traverse impaction means the tooth is lying on its side.
Soft tissue impactions occur when the upper portion of the tooth has penetrated through the bone but has yet to erupt through the gum tissue.
Full- / Partial-Bony
Bony or hard tissue impactions indicate the tooth is still primarily within the jawbone.
Types of Anesthesia Used
There are three types of anesthesia that are commonly used for wisdom tooth extraction.
- Local anesthetic is given through a needle into the gums near the site of the tooth to be removed. The site will be numb, and you may feel some pressure during the procedure, but no pain.
- A second type often used is sedation anesthesia. This type is given through an IV, and it suppresses your consciousness so you feel no pain and have limited memory of the procedure.
- In some cases, a third method, general anesthesia, is used. This is also given through IV, but you will lose consciousness when given these medications.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedures
After receiving anesthesia to block pain, the oral surgeon will cut the gum open. Any bone blocking the tooth will be removed to access the tooth. If necessary, the tooth may be broken into pieces for easier removal. The site is then cleaned and stitched back up to promote healing. Gauze is placed at the site to minimize bleeding.
After Surgery Care
After the surgery, the patient will need to change the gauze as directed by the dentist. Pain can be managed by over-the-counter remedies such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, or your doctor may give you a prescription pain medication.
Ice packs placed on the jaw will minimize pain as well as swelling and bruising. You should drink plenty of water during the first 24 hours but refrain from especially hot, cold, caffeinated or carbonated beverages. Also, you should avoid using a straw to minimize the risk of losing the blood clot that needs to form at the surgery site. The first day, you should plan to eat soft foods, like pudding or yogurts, and then semi-soft foods as they are tolerated the next day. You will not be able to brush your teeth for about 24 hours but can resume after a day, being especially gentle near the surgery sites.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery Time
After wisdom teeth removal, you should plan to rest for the remainder of the day, and for up to 24 hours. You can resume activity the following day, refraining from any strenuous activity for about a week.