Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Picture this: you pack your favorite meal in the world for lunch – maybe it’s your grandmother’s apple pie or a classic PB&J. Your mouth is watering at the thought of taking your first bite, but when you do, you feel a pain radiating from the very back of your jaw. You can’t figure out exactly where the pain is coming from because you don’t see any teeth all the way back there.
This might be one of the first symptoms you or your child experiences when their wisdom teeth start to grow in. They are the last and final molars that grow in and are all the way at the very back of your mouth on both the top and bottom rows of your teeth.
Is wisdom tooth removal necessary?
Getting your wisdom teeth removed can seem like a daunting venture, especially when words like “surgery” and “impacted teeth” are being thrown around without much explanation. These brand new sets of teeth that show up right at your child’s early start of adulthood—around 17-25 years of age—can seem like an absolute nuisance to take care of and extraction may seem like an unnecessary procedure to move forward with. The truth about wisdom teeth removal is that there are many benefits to the procedure; such as fewer orthodontic problems, improved comfort, and decreased risk for infection.
Here are the basics that will help you understand why wisdom teeth extraction is sometimes necessary as well as beneficial, what to do before and after the procedure, and how long the road to recovery typically is.
What to Know: Your Wisdom Tooth Questions Answered
1. How will my dentist know I need to get my wisdom teeth removed?
One of the best tools dentists have in their pockets are X-rays. At Staley Dental we have numerous types of X-ray technologies that help our team determine what current or potential issues our patients might be dealing with so we can stay ahead of the game.
Extraoral X-rays are X-rays taken outside of your mouth that help Dr. Staley get a better sense of what is happening to your jaw and skull, which are where wisdom teeth begin growing. These X-rays can help Dr. Staley evaluate whether your wisdom teeth are impacted or not, and whether further action needs to be taken on them.
2. What are some reasons for extraction?
Sometimes, wisdom teeth can grow in like any other set of teeth in a person’s mouth and not require any additional work. About 83% of wisdom teeth require extraction before the age of 70 though, which makes wisdom teeth removal a very common practice.
There are different reasons a dentist might recommend removing wisdom teeth. Many times, wisdom teeth growing in can cause overcrowding or infection if they break the surface, or damage to other teeths roots and cysts to form if they get trapped under the surface.
3. Does it matter if they’re impacted or not?
When it comes time to diagnosing the growth of your child’s wisdom teeth, your dentist might use the term “impacted” when describing the molars. The difference is not as complicated as the terms might sound. Impacted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth that haven’t emerged above the gum line. They are still below the gums surface.
Partially impacted wisdom teeth are slightly visible, with parts of the molar showing, and non-impacted wisdom teeth are wisdom teeth that have completely emerged through the gum line. Dentists will typically recommend getting fully impacted wisdom teeth removed before their long roots can cause any issues for surrounding teeth. Depending on how non-impacted wisdom teeth are growing in compared to the surrounding teeth will also give Dr. Staley a good idea on whether or not removal is the right move.
4. What happens during the removal process?
Due to the difference in the kinds of growth wisdom teeth can have, there are differences in procedures. Non-impacted wisdom teeth are above the gum line so as long as the roots of the tooth are not obstructing surrounding teeth, general anesthesia can be used to help numb the area and a tooth extraction can take place.
If the wisdom teeth are impacted an oral surgeon will remove the teeth while you are under anesthesia. Here at Staley Dental, we have an exemplary list of oral surgeons we can refer you to for all of your wisdom teeth removal procedures.
5. What are some do’s and don’ts before & after the procedure?
The great thing about wisdom teeth removal is that it is always an outpatient procedure, meaning the patient can go home the same day that the extraction takes place. Each wisdom teeth removal procedure is unique to the patient and most dental practices or oral surgeons will give you a specific checklist of things to do before. Some of the standard things to take care of before your surgery are setting up a ride home for after it’s complete, figuring out eating or drinking restrictions before the surgery, and determining whether or not you can take certain prescription medication prior to your procedure.
Once the extraction is complete, the patient is usually brought to a recovery room in the facility before they are informed by someone at the practice that they are able to go home. When you arrive at home it is important to remember to get plenty of rest, eat soft-seedless food, and do not use tobacco products or sipping from a straw so as not to disturb the blood clots. The blood clots help the area heal and prevent you from forming dry sockets, so avoiding any strenuous activity that might disturb them is important.
Start by seeing a dentist to learn about your next best steps.
Whether they are impacted or not, or they need surgery to be removed or can be done with a simple tooth extraction, wisdom teeth extraction is a standard practice that can be very beneficial to you or your child and your overall comfort.
If you have any questions regarding whether or not your child might need their wisdom teeth removed, come visit us here at Staley Dental in Boise, Idaho. We can help you get started on your wisdom teeth extraction journey.