Wisdom teeth, being the last ones to come through, grow at the back of gums, one in each corner. Mostly; they come under 17-25 years of age and are spotted on x-rays. They are regarded as the third molars at the back of your mouth. In major cases, wisdom teeth lack room for proper growth and thereby cause problems. When coming out, they might grow in different inappropriate angles-even horizontally.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth fully erupt to become healthy teeth. They might also be positioned correctly opposite each other with their cleaning equally easy.
Other times, they are affected or stuck within gums resulting to a lot of pain. They may also partially emerge from the gums causing a passageway that might cause problems due to its accumulation of plaque and the attraction of disease causing bacteria.
Removal of Wisdom Teeth
Most dentists recommend removal of wisdom teeth if they do not completely emerge or if their growth is near the nerve of lower jaw. They should be removed before their roots completely form so as not to cause unnecessary complications.
The area around wisdom teeth can experience changes such as;
- Soft Tissue Infections behind the lower last tooth
- Growth of Tumors and Cysts
- Nearby teeth damages
- Gum Disease leading to extensive teeth decay
In such cases, removal is necessary. Other reasons to remove your wisdom teeth include;
- Wrong Angle Growth; when this happens, they press against the other teeth.
- Small Mouth; if your mouth is smaller, there will be no sufficient room for another set of molars.
- Gum Diseases and Cavities; since they cannot be seen, flossed and cleaned easily, the area around them attracts plaque and disease causing bacteria resulting to swollen gums and cavities.
- When impacted;this happens when they are trapped within your gums and jaw bone therefore causing pain.
- Jaw Damage;occurs when cysts and tumors that are not treated form around the new teeth thereby damaging nerves and hollowing out the jaw.
- Gum Inflammation;due to formation of swollen tissues that are hard to clean.
- Sinuses; additional pair of molars sometimes cause sinus pain and pressure.
- Damages to other surrounding teeth; when additional teeth erupt, they push the other teeth causing a lot of mouth pain and biting problems.
- Improper Teeth Alignment; erupting wisdom teeth can undo all the effects of dental work i.e. that of aligners, crowns, bridges, veneers and braces just to mention a few.
Before wisdom teeth removal, a dentist will look at the shape of your mouth and do an examination to determine their position. An overall decision based on your age and general dental health care is then made.
Removal is by a dental procedure, quickly done in your dentist’s office. After the procedure, one should heal and get back to normal in just a few days.
Before Surgery Procedure
After consensus has been reached with regard to removal of your wisdom teeth, you will have the final appointment (before surgery) to discuss various dental issues including;
- Other initially experienced dental health problems (if any).
- The type of drugs taken often.
- Any other experienced health problems or complications (if any).
- Assurances or doubts with regard to the procedure.
- Preferred type of anesthesia; either being numb or asleep during surgery.
- Proper planning for the after surgery recuperation period.
During Surgery Procedure
Removal of wisdom teeth is a minor procedure that takes approximately forty five minutes during which any of the following anesthesia (depending on your preference) can be administered;
- General anesthesia; that induces sleep through the whole procedure only to wake up a few hours after the surgery
- Local anesthesia; your mouth is numbed with a Novocaine Shot in your gums. Sometimes, laughing gas or nitrous oxide is also used to keep you relaxed or asleep during surgery.
- IV sedation; other than numbing your mouth, the surgeon also gives drugs through your arm-vein to keep you drowsy. Sometimes one sleeps during the whole exercise.
Your surgeon may cut gums or even jaw bone so as to get the wisdom teeth out. If this happens, he will have to close the wound by stitching so as to heal quickly. These kinds of stitches dissolve in a few days. A gauze pad may also be stuffed in your mouth to soak some blood.
After Surgery and Recovery
People respond differently to anesthesia. With local anesthesia, some can even drive home moments after surgery to begin recovery. You can even go back to work to carry on your normal duties. But with general anesthesia, one might be drowsy for some time hence will need to be driven home.
After surgery, acute pain will be experienced with swelling and slight discomfort. It is important to follow your doctor’s guidelines for quick recovery. For the first three days after surgery, you will be expected to;
- Exercise your jaw by gently opening and closing your mouth.
- Use moist heat for your sore jaw or jaws.
- Brush your teeth (but not against blood clots) starting from the second day.
- Take plenty of fluids and soft foods e.g. Soup, Pasta, Smoothies, Yogurt, Milkshake, Scrambled Eggs, Gelato, Milk, Protein Shakes, Mashed Potatoes and Hummus among others.
- Use prescribed drugs to ease swelling and pain.
- Use ice packs to mitigate swelling and skin-color changes.
- Be in touch with your doctor in case pain and swelling persist.
- Rinse your mouth gently with salty water.
During this time, you will be expected not to;
- Eat sticky, hard or crunchy foods.
- Rinse your mouth harshly but gently with salty water.
- Drink through straws as the sucking pressure may loosen blood clots.
- Smoke; as it may slow your healing process.
Like in any other surgery, there are risks that can occur as a result of wisdom teeth removal. It is important to know about them so as to make an informed decision. Some of them include;
- Delayed Healing and Infections; mostly associated with smoking during recovery.
- ‘Dry Socket’; comes about when the doctor’s guidelines about after care are not followed to the later. ‘Dry socket’ is characterized by aching gums and bad odor and taste from the empty tooth socket.
- Nerve Damage; it also has a chance of happening, it is characterized by numbness in the lower lip, gums, teeth and tongue. It is usually temporary but can turn permanent at times.
Some people are born with wisdom teeth. In others, they erupt between the ages of 17-26 and might not cause any pain or discomfort. However, preventative measures need to be taken since more problems may be experienced in future. Don’t wait too long since your mouth bones toughen with age. This might lead to severe numbness, slight loss of jaw movement and heavy bleeding after surgery.