Becoming Wise About Your Wisdom Teeth

Age is known to provide wisdom, but when it comes to your oral health, age definitely brings your wisdom teeth.

Your wisdom teeth are valuable tools in your mouth, but only when they are positioned correctly and when they are healthy. Unfortunately, problems often occur, which usually results in wisdom tooth extraction. Some problems generally involve your wisdom teeth growing in sideways, growing in partially, getting stuck under the gum and bone, and growing into a jaw that has no room for it. Usually, dentists and oral surgeons suggest extraction when:

• The teeth partially grow into place. If this happens, it can leave an open space surrounding the tooth, which is a great place for bacteria to live and thrive. It can also lead to infection, swelling, tooth pain, stiffness, and illness.

• The teeth are improperly aligned. If this occurs, the tooth could cause damage to the surrounding teeth.

• A cyst forms. If a cyst appears, it could damage surrounding objects, like tooth roots and bone.

Many people do not know if they need to extract their wisdom teeth, but if you would like to find out, you can ask your dentist during your next cleaning and checkup. Your dentist will take X-rays of your oral cavity and determine if the teeth will need to be pulled. If you experience any swelling, pain, or tenderness surrounding your wisdom teeth, call our office as soon as possible so we can determine the seriousness of the problem.

If your dentist decides that your teeth need to be extracted, you may need to schedule another appointment. Your dentist may want to remove all of your wisdom teeth in one appointment. Fortunately, tooth extractions are minor treatments that will begin with your dentist numbing the surrounding area and giving you the comfort you need. Then, the dentist will extract the tooth with forceps and will stitch the gums back together if necessary. If the wisdom tooth is partially visible, the dentist will need to cut the gums and pull them back to gain further access to the tooth. After the extraction, you will need to stop the bleeding by biting down on a piece of gauze for roughly 20 to 30 minutes.

After the procedure, you will need to only eat soft and cool food for about two days. Please do not smoke, drink out of a straw, or spit until the gums begin to heal. If you do not avoid these things, the clot could get dislodged from the hole in your gums and you could get dry socket. To keep the affected area clean and free of bacteria, rinse your mouth with warm salt water.

Generally, your stitches will dissolve on their own, but there are times when the dentist would rather remove them. That way, your dentist can check up on you and make sure everything is OK. To help ease the pain and discomfort, your dentist will prescribe you a painkiller.

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth and extractions, we invite you to call our office today and schedule an appointment with our dentist!