If you’re like 65 percent of Americans, you’ve grown (or will grow) wisdom teeth. If they grow in improperly, they can result in an impacted tooth, which causes all sorts of pain and issues in your mouth. That’s why dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal before a problem arises.
If you think wisdom teeth removal is an option for you, it’s helpful to know the process. Since wisdom teeth usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25, it’s important to visit us during this time to evaluate whether they’re impacted and if there is a need for extraction.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), nine out of 10 people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. If they aren’t removed, impacted wisdom teeth can have several damaging and painful side effects. Here are some of them:
- A neighboring tooth may become damaged, as the wisdom tooth will grow into it.
- An infection will develop, as it’s difficult or impossible to clean the area around wisdom teeth. This can also lead to gum disease.
- A cyst or tumor will form around the wisdom tooth and fill with fluid. If left untreated, this can result in jaw, nerve and tooth damage.
If a dentist at our office recommends extraction, you’ll have to have surgery to remove the wisdom tooth or teeth. Thanks to advances in technology and effective anesthetics, there is usually little or no pain during the procedure. After surgery – and if you follow appropriate aftercare instructions – you’ll heal quickly with only mild swelling or discomfort. Then you’ll have a pain-free mouth with less risk for problems down the road.
Here’s a Breakdown of Wisdom Teeth Removal Process:
- X-Rays – These help our dentists to confirm the nature of your wisdom teeth and their growth.
- Anesthesia – Depending on your choice or the advice of your dentist, you;ll be given local or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia is ideal for small areas in your mouth, such as the area of one wisdom tooth. General anesthesia is the better option for surgeries with multiple wisdom teeth removed, or if you have some anxiety about the process.
- Exposing the wisdom tooth – Your wisdom tooth may already be erupted, or visible. But if it’s not, the dentist will need to remove any gum tissue or bone covering it so they can perform the extraction.
- Removing the wisdom tooth – Once the wisdom tooth is visible, your dentist will extract it by removing the tissue that connects the tooth to your mouth. If the tooth appears to be a risk for breaking, the dentist may cut and take it out in sections.
- Stitches – After the tooth is removed, your dentist may give you stitches so you can heal properly. This is usually the case if there was any surgery required to remove it. There are stitches that dissolve within a few days and stitches that require a follow-up visit.
- Recovery – After the procedure is complete, your dentist will give you some gauze to prevent bleeding. We’ll also give you instructions on how to ensure your mouth heals properly. The recovery time is usually 3-5 days.
Thanks to modern technology, the wisdom teeth removal process is quick and results in little or no discomfort for the patient. While some wisdom teeth grow in properly, it’s better to be safe and check them before any problems pop up.
Get our full list of wisdom teeth recovery instructions.
Schedule a consultation with North Heacock Dental Group today to see if you’re a candidate for wisdom teeth removal.