Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Overview

The third and last molars on either side of the jaws (upper and lower jaws) are what constitute the wisdom teeth. As you well know, they are usually the last set of teeth to erupt, and their extraction is done in the late stages of teenage, i.e. the early twenties. In most situations, wisdom teeth normally come out either partially, or crooked, eventually only leading to a painful experience and bad oral health.

A recommendation by the American Dental Association confirms that wisdom teeth, which emerge below 20 years of age usually have roots that are underdeveloped, hence lesser complications.   Teenagers under age 20 are advised to visit a dentist who can make an evaluation whether impacted wisdom teeth can be safely removed at that time.  Doing so, only safeguards your oral health in the long run.

How is it performed?

Wisdom teeth extraction can be done by either an oral surgeon, or a general dentist in a safe outpatient setting.  Generally, it involves the separation of teeth from the jaw bone.  This is done after the dentist (oral surgeon) has opened up the gum tissue covering the teeth to be removed.  For easier removal, the dentist might opt to section the teeth into smaller pieces first and reduce some bone around the teeth.

Sutures are normally placed to mend the gum tissue and some cotton gauze is used to cover the wound to help control bleeding.

How to prepare?

Make an appointment to evaluate for infection prior to surgery.  Infections can increase the chance of complications, so a prescription of antibiotics by your doctor might be in order.  A topical and local anesthetic is applied by your dentist to numb the area where the wisdom teeth are to be removed.  Anesthetic and IV sedation can help relieve the discomfort during wisdom teeth extraction, and help you relax as if you were sleeping.  Your procedure is closely monitored using the standard of care.

The night before surgery it is recommended not to partake any food or beverages in order for the anesthetic to take full effect.

How to recover?

Follow your doctors instructions and take all prescribed medication.  Use ice packs for at least 48 hours after surgery over the affected side of jaw.  Cotton gauze will control bleeding and can be changed every 15 to 20 min. immediately after the surgery.   You can gently rinse your mouth using warm salt water after the day of surgery; avoid sucking on straws or smoking, as this can loosen and disrupt the healing blood clot.  Avoid strenuous activity to reduce chances of increased bleeding, and maintain a soft diet.