Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Wisdom Teeth Extractions - Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to show up in your mouth, generally appearing between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom.”
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.
To treat impacted wisdom teeth, a wisdom teeth extraction procedure may be necessary. There are several types of impaction, including soft tissue impaction, partial bony impaction, and complete bony impaction.
There are several types of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:
Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but the gum is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is challenging to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.
Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is challenging to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur.
Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by the jawbone. This will require more complex removal techniques.
It's essential to address impacted wisdom teeth promptly to prevent further complications. If left untreated, they can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and even the development of cysts or tumors. Wisdom teeth extractions can help alleviate pain and prevent future issues, such as tooth decay and infection. If you're experiencing any symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth, such as pain, swelling, or difficulty opening your mouth, contact a dental professional as soon as possible.
Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of a problem such as pain, swelling, decay, or infection. Our dentists may also recommend removal of your wisdom teeth as a preventative measure to avoid severe problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present and left untreated, several potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
- Damage to nearby teeth: Wisdom teeth can cause damage to adjacent teeth, particularly the second molars. The pressure from impacted wisdom teeth can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and even bone loss. Removing wisdom teeth can prevent this damage and promote better oral health.
- Disease: Although rare, cysts and tumors can develop around impacted wisdom teeth, causing damage to surrounding teeth and bone. Removing wisdom teeth can prevent the development of these oral health issues and promote overall dental health.
- Infection: Impacted wisdom teeth can create a pocket of bacteria and food debris under the gum tissue, leading to infection. This infection can cause significant pain, swelling, and even danger if left untreated. Wisdom teeth extraction can prevent the development of infection and promote better oral health.
- Tooth Crowding: Impacted wisdom teeth can create pressure on adjacent teeth, causing them to become crowded or twisted. This can lead to misalignment and other orthodontic issues. Removing wisdom teeth can help prevent these issues and promote better dental health.
- Gum Disease: Wisdom teeth can be challenging to clean properly, leading to the development of gum disease. Removing wisdom teeth can prevent the development or worsening of gum disease, leading to better overall oral health.
Wisdom Teeth Examination
A wisdom teeth examination is an important part of routine dental care for many people. During a wisdom teeth examination, your dentist or oral surgeon will evaluate the status of your wisdom teeth to determine if they need to be removed. Here's what you can expect during a wisdom teeth examination:
- Physical exam: Your dentist will perform a physical examination of your mouth, including a visual inspection and palpation to assess the status of your wisdom teeth. They will check for signs of swelling, pain, or redness around the wisdom teeth.
- X-rays: Your dentist may take x-rays of your mouth to get a better view of the wisdom teeth and determine their position and development. X-rays can also help identify any potential complications, such as impaction, decay, or cysts.
- Oral health history: Your dentist will review your oral health history, including any previous dental procedures, history of gum disease, or other dental issues that may impact the status of your wisdom teeth.
- Symptoms: Your dentist will ask you about any symptoms you're experiencing, such as pain, swelling, or difficulty opening your mouth. These symptoms can help your dentist determine if your wisdom teeth are causing any issues that require treatment.
Based on the results of the examination, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend wisdom teeth extraction. This is a common procedure that involves removing one or more wisdom teeth to prevent future complications, such as infection, damage to surrounding teeth, and gum disease.
What Does the Removal of Wisdom Teeth Involve?
The removal of wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, is a common procedure that is typically performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. Here's what you can expect during the removal of wisdom teeth:
- Anesthesia: Before the procedure begins, the dentist or oral surgeon will administer anesthesia to numb the area around the wisdom teeth. You may be given local anesthesia to numb the immediate area, sedation to help you relax, or general anesthesia to make you unconscious during the procedure.
- Extraction: Once the anesthesia has taken effect, the dentist or oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the wisdom teeth and the surrounding bone. They may need to remove a small amount of bone to gain access to the tooth. The tooth will then be gently rocked back and forth to loosen it from its socket and removed. If the tooth is impacted or if it is large, it may need to be removed in sections.
- Cleaning and stitching: After the tooth has been removed, the socket will be cleaned of any debris and stitched closed. Gauze will be placed over the socket to help stop any bleeding.
- Recovery: You will need to rest for a while after the procedure, and you will be given instructions on how to care for the extraction site. You may be prescribed pain medication or antibiotics to help manage pain and prevent infection. Swelling and discomfort are common for several days after the procedure, and you may need to eat soft foods and avoid certain activities to allow the extraction site to heal.
At Silvertooth Family and Whinery Dental, we understand that removing wisdom teeth can be a stressful experience for some patients. We offer several options for sedation dentistry to help you feel relaxed and comfortable during your procedure. We also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) as an additional form of relaxation, if desired.
Please call our office at (903) 662-7420 to schedule a consultation to discuss your options for wisdom teeth extractions.
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