Why should Wisdom teeth be removed?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they are properly aligned in the mouth and gum tissue surrounding them is healthy wisdom teeth are not to be removed. But this is highly unlikely as when the time for their eruption comes, the jaw growth is over and there isn’t sufficient space to accommodate them. The extraction becomes necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone and remain impacted.
These impacted and poorly positioned teeth can cause following problems:
- When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows food to accumulate which further favors bacterial growth and leads to infection resulting in pain, swelling, diffliculty in mouth opening and generalised illness.
- The infection may cause a cavity in the adjacent tooth.
- The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move to other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth.
- The most serious problems occur when tumors or cyst form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in destruction of the jaw bone and healthy teeth.
- An impacted wisdom tooth also causes jaw to fracture easily in case of minor injuries to the jaw as jaw in the area of third molar is very thin and the presence of wisdom teeth in it further weakens it.
- Removal of offending impacted teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
Oral Examination :
With an Oral Examination and X-ray of the mouth, the doctor can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment results in superior out come for the patient.
Removal of the Wisdom Tooth :
In most of the cases, the removal of wisdom teeth is performed under local anesthesia, conscious sedation or general anesthesia. These options as well as the surgical risks (i.e. sensory nerve damage, sinus complication) will be discussed with you before the procedure is performed. Once the teeth are removed the gum is sutured and gauze is placed in patient’s mouth to bite upon to control bleeding. The patient is made to rest in the office. Upon discharge antibiotics and pain killers are prescribed. The sutures are removed in one week’s time.
After Wisdom Tooth Removal :
- The removal of impacted teeth is a serious surgical procedure. Post-operative care is very important. Unnecessary pain and the complications of infection and swelling can be minimized if the instructions are followed carefully.
- The gauze pad placed over the surgical area should be kept in place for a half hour. After this time, the gauze pad should be removed and discarded.
- Vigorous mouth rinsing or touching the wound area following surgery should be avoided. This may initiate bleeding by causing the blood clot that has formed to become dislodged.
- Take the prescribed pain medications as soon as you begin to feel discomfort. This will usually coincide with the local anesthetic becoming diminished.
- Restrict your activities the day of surgery and resume normal activity when you feel comfortable.
- Place ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed.
- Avoid taking hot food or beverages like tea as this can cause bleeding.
Sutures are placed the area of surgery to minimize post-operative bleeding and to help healing. Sometimes they become dislodged, this is no cause for alarm. Just remove the suture form your mouth and discard it. The pain and swelling should subside more and more each day following surgery. If your post-operative pain or swelling worsens or unusual symptoms occur call the office for instructions. There will be a cavity where the tooth was removed. The cavity will gradually over the next month fill in with the new tissue. In the mean time, the area should be kept clean especially after meals with salt water rinses or a toothbrush.