One or more of the four permanent adult teeth that sit in the very back of your mouth, known collectively as your “wisdom teeth,” may need to be extracted in order to prevent crowding and improve the overall health of your mouth and jaw.
An extraction may be necessary if a wisdom tooth causes discomfort, infection, or other dental issues because it does not have enough space to grow in normal fashion. Where the removal of wisdom teeth becomes the only logical solution to take, then this dental procedure will be performed by either a dentist or an oral surgeon.
Even if an impacted tooth isn’t causing any discomfort at the moment, some dentists and oral surgeons will advise wisdom tooth removal to ensure the patient’s continued dental health.
Why Is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, grow at the very back of the mouth. These teeth often erupt in persons aged 17 to 25 years. While some individuals may never have wisdom teeth, some other people may have wisdom teeth erupt without any incident and yet a third group of individuals may have their wisdom teeth emerge with complications. Impacted wisdom teeth are common because they are unable to fully erupt into the mouth. When wisdom teeth become impacted, they often only emerge partially, if at all.
Wisdom teeth that is impacted often display the following characteristics:
- They tend to grow toward the neighboring tooth (that is the second molar)
- They tend to erupt backwards into the mouth
- They tend to form a perfect angle with the rest of your teeth, giving the impression that your wisdom tooth is “lying down” inside your jaw
- They often grow vertically or horizontally yet remain anchored in the jaw
Health Challenges Caused by Wisdom Teeth Impaction
If your impacted wisdom teeth cause any of the following issues, it will need to be extracted.
- Severe pain
- The trapping of food debris at the back of the wisdom teeth
- Infections, especially periodontal or gum disease
- Wisdom tooth decay that has caused damage to adjacent teeth or jawbone during the tooth’s incomplete eruption
- A cyst forms around the wisdom teeth as it develops
How To Avoid Future Dental Issues
Experts in the field of dentistry disagree on whether or not it’s necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth that aren’t causing any discomfort or are asymptomatic. It’s not easy to foresee complications from impacted wisdom teeth, but here is the thinking behind preemptive wisdom tooth removal:
- Even though wisdom teeth exhibits no obvious symptoms it may still be infected
- It’s difficult to properly care for a tooth that hasn’t had enough room to erupt
- While younger persons are less likely to experience life-threatening difficulties related to wisdom teeth impaction, it is still necessary to extract problematic wisdom teeth to prevent any further complications
- It’s possible that older patients will have more trouble during and after surgery, so that extraction of wisdom teeth at a younger age is advisable rather than leaving wisdom teeth impaction untreated overtime because of little or no life-threatening consequence
Risks Of Wisdom Tooth Extraction
When extracted, wisdom teeth rarely cause any lasting problems. Nevertheless, on occasion, though, an impacted wisdom teeth surgical procedure may require an oral surgeon to cut into the gums and even the jawbone in order to gain access to the impacted wisdom tooth or teeth. While most wisdom tooth removal surgical procedures in the hands of competent oral surgeons more often than not are successful, there are still very rare yet potentially problematic complications that could occur from wisdom teeth extraction and these include:
Exposure of bone, or dry socket can be extremely painful after surgery if the blood clot doesn’t stay put (in the socket)
Socket infections is possible and this can be caused by bacteria buildup due to the food particles stuck in the socket.
damage to surrounding tissue and bone
Adjacent teeth, nerves, bones, or sinuses may be harmed during wisdom teeth extraction.
Preparing For Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The operation could be done right in your dentist’s office with your dentist recommending an oral surgeon if the tooth is severely impacted or if more extensive surgical procedures are needed to remove it. Your surgeon may recommend sedation in addition to local anesthesia to ensure your comfort during wisdom tooth removal surgery.
It is important for you to ask questions during consultation visits to your dentist and before wisdom tooth removal surgery.
Some questions you might wish to ask your dentist or oral surgeon before a wisdom tooth extraction are:
- Is it necessary to take out all four wisdom teeth?
- What sort of anesthetic will I be getting?
- Do you anticipate any complications in the surgical process?
- Can you give me an estimate of how long this operation will take?
- Have any other teeth been harmed by the impacted wisdom teeth?
- How likely is it that I will sustain nerve damage?
- When I get older, will I need any further dental work done?
- How long before I’m fully recovered and able to resume my regular routine?
Asking questions will put your mind at ease before a wisdom tooth extraction.
Wisdom Tooth Surgery prepping
Wisdom teeth removal is typically an in-and-out surgery, so you are more than certain to be discharged (on the same day) from the dental clinic after wisdom teeth removal surgery.
The professionals at the hospital or dental clinic will give you specific instructions for the day of your surgery and the day before. Try asking yourself:
- Do I need to plan for a ride home from the hospital following the operation?
- What time should I arrive at the medical center or dental office?
- Is it necessary for me to fast from food, water, or both? In that case, where should I start?
- How about my regular medications? Can I take them before the operation? If yes, when is the earliest I can take it before the operation?
- Should I not take any over-the-counter medications before the operation?
Here’s what to anticipate during the operation
There are three main types of anesthesia that your dentist or oral surgeon can use, and they will choose one based on your comfort level and the estimated difficulty of the wisdom teeth extraction.
The choice of anesthesia could involve:
One or more injections of local anesthetic are placed close to the area where teeth are being extracted by your dentist or oral surgeon. Your dentist or surgeon will likely numb your gums with an injection before they give you the needle. While the tooth is being pulled, you will be awake. With local anesthesia, you will feel some pressure and movement during wisdom tooth removal process, but no discomfort.
Anesthesia induction with sedation
Sedation anesthesia is administered through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm by your dentist or oral surgeon. When you have an injection of sedative anesthetic, your awareness is temporarily blocked. You won’t experience any discomfort, and you won’t remember much about the surgery afterwards. Your gums will be numbed with local anesthetic as well.
General anesthesia is only administered in very specific circumstances during wisdom teeth extractions. A medicine inhaler, an intravenous line in your arm, or both may be used to administer your treatment. Then you pass out and don’t come to. The surgical team keeps a tight eye on your vitals during the procedure, including your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and oxygen levels. You won’t feel anything, and you won’t remember anything about the surgery either. To alleviate any discomfort felt after the wisdom tooth extraction procedure, local anesthetic is also administered.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will accomplish the following during wisdom tooth extraction:
- Cut into the gums to reveal the tooth and bone
- Obstructing bone is shaved away to reveal the tooth root
- If the tooth needs to be extracted in fragments, it is first cut into smaller pieces
- Extract the impacted wisdom tooth
- Ensure the extraction location is free of any leftover tooth or bone debris
- Seal up the surgical site with stitches in order to speed up healing (optional)
- Gauze is placed over the extraction site to stop the bleeding and promote clotting.
When to see a doctor or dentist after wisdom teeth extractions
It is important to contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately if you have any of the following symptoms, as they may point to an infection, nerve damage, or other serious complication:
- Problems with breathing or swallowing
- Uncontrolled bleeding
- Extreme discomfort that cannot be alleviated by standard pain medicines
- Constant swelling that doesn’t go away after a few days
- Disgusting aftertaste that doesn’t go away after rinsing with saltwater
- Signs of pus in the eye socket
- Lack of feeling or numbness that doesn’t go away
- Any nasal discharge containing blood or pus
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Results
If you fit into any of the following categories below, you likely won’t need a follow-up appointment after wisdom teeth extractions:
- Where removing stitches is not necessary.
- Where there were no complications experienced throughout the operation.
- Where you do not encounter any post-operative problems like pain, swelling, numbness, or bleeding.
FAQs About Wisdom Teeth Removal Houston
What actions should you avert following wisdom tooth removal?
Avoid spitting, hot liquids, and anything else that could cause the blood clots that form in the empty tooth socket from dislodging for at least 24 hours. You should also abstain from alcohol and smoking. Eat soft or watery food and chew with your other teeth for a few days.
How long does it take to remove wisdom teeth?
The time it takes to extract a wisdom tooth can vary widely, from a few minutes to 20 minutes or more.
Are wisdom teeth extractions uncomfortable?
As a general rule, post-operative pain is minimal at best. After the first 3 days, the swelling and pain should subside. Healing time for your mouth may be a few weeks. In order to get better faster, you should follow your doctor’s orders.
Discover Dental Center For Wisdom Teeth Removal Houston
You can meet with a dentist or oral surgeon to discuss the procedure of your wisdom teeth removal at Discover Dental. We take time to listen to your enquiries, offering only the best recommendations suited to your peculiar dental needs. We acknowledge that no two cases are the same, so we treat each of our patients with the exclusiveness they deserve. You can reach us by calling – (713) 997-9390 or you can schedule a consultation visit by booking online today for wisdom teeth removal Houston.