Third molars (wisdom teeth) are the last teeth to erupt usually occurring in the late teens or early twenties. There are four wisdom teeth located in the back … two on top and two on the bottom. Your dentist may recommend their extraction in an effort to prevent oral problems as you age.
Problems Associated with Wisdom Teeth
Very often wisdom teeth are unable to erupt properly due to insufficient jaw space to accommodate four large teeth. When this happens, third molars may fight for space and emerge crooked, forcing existing teeth to shift as a result. This can cause discomfort or damage to other teeth.
Or wisdom teeth may partially come in exposing a portion of the tooth. The problem with this scenario is a partial eruption may be difficult to keep clean leading to the potential for decay.
Wisdom teeth that remain beneath the surface are referred to as impacted. Some of the issues of problematic impacted wisdom teeth include sore or bleeding gums; jaw pain, swelling of the face or jaw; or an infection can develop.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
Unless a wisdom tooth is fully erupted, oral surgery is usually needed to extract one or more third molars. If oral surgery is required, it is performed as an out patient; the patient will be sedated which requires some assistance in the form of transportation home from the appointment.
For impacted tooth removal, an incision is made in gum tissue; the tooth is removed; and the incision is closed with the use of sutures (most often sutures will dissolve on their own). Follow up treatment is rarely needed unless complications arise.
The patient should rest at least the remainder of the day; difficulty of the surgery will dictate when normal activity can be resumed. The patient should not use a straw and smoking is ill advised as the sucking action could lead to dry socket exposing the bone where the blood clot has dislodged which is very painful.
X-rays and regular dental visits are tools used to monitor the need for wisdom tooth removal.
If you are considering wisdom tooth extraction or if it’s time to schedule your next visit, contact our team at Fresh Leaf Dental today.