Wisdom teeth removal

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to grow in and usually start to appear in the teenage years or not until a person is in their twenties. Since they are the last set of teeth to grow in, the rest of the teeth have filled the mouth and have left little room for the wisdom teeth to come in. This is not always the case but for many people the wisdom teeth cannot come through the gum line correctly and start causing pain in the jaw area.

Often times the wisdom teeth press against the jaw bone, the other teeth or become turned completely sideways under the gum line. When this happens, the wisdom teeth are considered impacted. If only part of the wisdom teeth have come through the gum line but cannot fully emerge, the teeth are considered to be partially impacted. Both of these conditions can cause pain, stiffness or infection and may require surgical removal of the wisdom teeth.

Once your dentist has taken an x-ray of your teeth he or she will be able to determine whether or not your wisdom teeth will need to be removed. The procedure for removing the wisdom teeth can vary depending on whether or not they are completely impacted or partially impacted. The positions of the teeth inside the gum line may also determine the type of procedure that needs to be performed.

If the teeth have come through the gum line completely then removal is very easy. Just like removing any other tooth in the mouth, the patient is injected with a numbing agent in the surrounding gum and jaw areas. Once the mouth is numb the tooth can be extracted. If the tooth is partially impacted or completely impacted the patient will need to undergo a sedative so they cannot feel the gum being cut to remove the tooth. Depending on the position of the tooth, the dentist may need to cut the tooth into several different pieces in order to get the entire tooth, including the root of the tooth, out of the gum.

Once the teeth are out of the mouth, it may take a little while for the patient to awaken fully from the sedative. It will be necessary to have a family member or friend drive the patient home after the procedure is finished. Recovery time will vary from person to person depending on the type of procedure that was performed. After a surgical removal, you can expect the gums to bleed for several hours. Keeping cotton gauze inside the empty gum sockets and biting down to apply pressure can help keep the bleeding under control. Expect to take some form of pain medications, whether it is over the counter medication or a prescription written by your dentist, in order to manage the pain that can be severe for the first day or so after the surgery. Your dentist will give you strict orders on what to eat and drink in order to prevent further damage from being done to the surgical area. A soft food diet will be necessary for a few days in order to prevent further pain. You will also be advised not to drink out of a straw, chew gum or suck on anything until the wound has healed completely.

Expect the face to be swollen for a couple of days after surgery. You will need to allow for a few days of rest and avoid driving while on pain medications. You can continue to brush your teeth but avoid brushing the back of the gums where the wisdom teeth once were. If your doctor has prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection, make sure you take them as the directions indicate. Once a mouth wound becomes infected it can become extremely painful and hard to manage.

Last updated on Sep 22nd, 2009 and filed under Dental Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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