Our Penticton dentists explain the issues that wisdom teeth can cause, the advantages of wisdom teeth removal, what the procedure entails, and how this dental surgery can help you feel better.
What are wisdom teeth?
Most people develop a third set of molars between the ages of 17 and 25, which can be a valuable asset if they grow straight and healthy. These teeth, however, are sometimes misaligned or impacted and must be extracted.
We can help prevent issues with your oral health in the future by removing problematic wisdom teeth.
What problems can wisdom teeth cause?
Wisdom teeth can become impacted, crowded, or not fully erupt if they emerge in the wrong positions or if there isn't enough room in your mouth for them. This can be harmful to one's oral health because they are impossible to clean when they are below the gum line. They become difficult to reach with a toothbrush and floss properly when they are crowded.
They can also cause:
- Infection (which leads to pain)
- Difficulty chewing, biting or opening your mouth
- Bad breath
- Swelling in your jaw or face (potentially due to infection)
- In emergencies: chest pain, lightheadedness, shortness of breath
We recommend removing wisdom teeth as a preventive measure at Eckhardt Dental Centre because molars (especially third molars) are more susceptible to dental problems than other teeth in your mouth.
What are the benefits of having problematic wisdom teeth removed?
Having your wisdom teeth removed can offer many benefits, including:
- Preventing infection or decay
- Preventing damage to other teeth
- Alleviating or lessening pain in your face and mouth
- Solving issues with bad breath
- Preventing the need for further dental or orthodontic work in the future
- Improving oral health
How will I feel better after having my wisdom teeth removed?
There are numerous oral health benefits to having your wisdom teeth extracted, and the procedure is relatively simple – you'll be eating normally again in a matter of days. Having this procedure done now may also save you from experiencing additional pain as a result of impacted wisdom teeth or other issues.
You may also save time and money because you may not need more time-consuming and expensive dental or orthodontic work in the future as a result of removing the complications that wisdom teeth can bring.
What does a wisdom teeth removal procedure involve?
Step 1: Anesthetic
To begin, a local anesthetic will be applied to the tooth and surrounding area to numb it. If you are extremely nervous about your procedure, your dentist or surgeon may administer a sedative to help you relax, usually through an injection in the arm. A general anesthetic is rarely used, and only when the procedure is performed in a hospital.
Step 2: Removing the Tooth
If the tooth is still under the gum, a small incision or cut will be made, and a small piece of bone over the tooth may be removed. Your dentist or surgeon may cut the tooth into smaller pieces so that it can be removed through the opening more easily.
There will be less need for an incision if the tooth has emerged through the gum. You'll feel some pressure as the dentist or surgeon rocks the tooth back and forth, widening the socket, just before the tooth is extracted.
Because the anesthetic has numbed the area, you should not feel any pain as your wisdom teeth are extracted. If this is causing you pain, inform the dentist or surgeon so that more anesthetic can be administered.
Simple wisdom teeth removal procedures can take up to 20 minutes, with complex procedures running longer.
What about recovery from wisdom teeth removal?
You should be able to go home the same day as your procedure. Dissolving stitches usually take between 7 and 10 days to dissolve, and a piece of gauze may be applied to the extraction site.
For about an hour, you'll be asked to maintain pressure on it by biting your jaws together. This allows a blood clot to form within the empty socket, which promotes healing. Antibiotics may be prescribed if you have an infection.
For 24 hours after your procedure, you should avoid:
- Drinking hot liquids such as coffee or soup
- Rinsing your mouth out with liquid (which could dislodge the clot)
- Smoking or drinking alcohol (which could result in infection)
- Strenuous physical activity (which may encourage bleeding)
If you notice any problems or extreme soreness after your recovery period, book an appointment with your dentist so they can check the extraction site.