Although not quite as bad as most people think, the question remains: Why is wisdom teeth removal necessary? Sometimes, the jaw might not grow big enough to accommodate the wisdom teeth. The teeth will then grow at an angle that causes discomfort and problems to the mouth.
The “abnormal” growth of the wisdom teeth or third molars impacts the second molar set of teeth. An oral surgeon will recommend the removal of teeth to avert further dental problems and complicated oral surgeries. Fortunately, very few people require the wisdom tooth removal procedure.
Wisdom Teeth – Are they important, and the havoc they cause
Do the wisdom teeth play an essential role in the mouth or overall dental formula? The teeth are located at the back of the mouth with no definite role. Sometimes, they unleash so much terror, and dentists will recommend patients to remove them even if they cause no problems. After all, wisdom teeth removal will not make it to your to-do-list if they are not bothering you.
The flat teeth at the back of your mouth, the wisdom teeth, do not participate in the chewing process. However, depending on how they grow, they tend to affect the other molars that are important for chewing.
When the wisdom teeth erupt in a small jaw space, they crowd the other functional teeth. Also, they might not make out of the jaw leading to complications such as fluid cysts, pain, and damage to adjacent teeth.
Cleaning the teeth with impacted teeth is difficult and might result in dental issues like periodontitis. Some people might also encounter difficulty opening their mouth.
Who needs the procedure?
Anyone with infected or impacted teeth qualifies for the procedure
Wisdom tooth removals – What questions to ask the oral surgeon
Just like any other oral surgery procedure, the patient needs to prepare beforehand. The oral surgeon or dentist will share any general information you need to know about the process. As a patient, it is paramount to ask the following questions:
- The number of teeth he/she will remove
- What anesthesia will be used?
- How long will it take?
- Are there possible risks and complications?
- How long is the estimated recovery period for wisdom tooth removal?
What you need to know about Wisdom Teeth Removal
Before the surgery
The dentist or oral surgeon will do an oral examination to determine the extent of the damage. You will also get the pre-surgery guidelines such as not eating or drinking before the procedure.
Brush your teeth, floss, and scrape your tongue before the surgery. You will not do such activities a few days after the procedure. Prepare a recovery room with a comfortable elevated pillow and other items you might need. Remember to stock up on food that will last for you for some time after the surgery such as broth.
- Ensuring you are comfortable
Dental procedures can cause anxiety. Ask the dentist what would calm you down; it can be as simple as taking a valium. You can also ask a friend to take you to the hospital. Wearing headphones isolates any outside noise that may cause anxiety. Listen to music, podcast, or anything that will distract you.
You might stop taking medical prescriptions as they might interfere with the medical procedure. One also learns what to do post- surgery for a quick recovery period.
Preparing for the surgery
- Bone grafting
Who needs bone grafting? People with a weak jaw require bone grafting before the procedure. Most people under 25 years will not need the process. However, the oral surgeon or dentist will determine that as they make a diagnosis.
- Drugs to take or avoid
What prescription drugs do you need to avoid or take? Let the dentist know if you are taking any medication before the procedure.
During the procedure
- Types of anesthesia and what to expect
Sedation– It will suppress your consciousness, and you will have no pain. It is given through an IV to numb the surgery site. The patient has a limited memory of the process.
Nitrous and local– It combines the local anesthesia and nitrous and is given via IV. It is cheap, fast, effective, and wears off quickly. However, it leaves one feeling bubbly and happy.
General anesthesia– it knocks you off completely out with no pain or memory. It works best for complex tooth removal procedures.
Local anesthesia– It only numbs the surgery area. One remains awake but feels the pressure but no pain.
While at it, inform the dentist of any known anesthesia allergies. Ask about the pros and cons of each anesthesia type.
After the procedure
The dentist will allow you to recover for a few minutes or hours depending on the anesthesia used. He/ she will check out for any bleeding, or irregular breathing before discharging you.
When you get at home, stay in an elevated position for the past few days. The wound in your mouth will heal fast as long you stay elevated. Use a cooling jaw cold pack to reduce the pain in your jaw area. Some of the things to avoid include:
- Blowing, swishing or drinking out of a straw
- Smoking and spitting
- Brushing your teeth for 2-3 days
- Overdosing on painkillers
- Stay hydrated but do not take cold water
- Avoid solid foods for about 24 hours
- Limit physical (and heavy) activities
- Rinsing your mouth is a big NO
Complications and risks
When you experience any of the following symptoms, contact your dentist right away
- Excessive bleeding
- Difficulty breathing and swallowing
- Pus/ blood discharge from the nasal outlet
- Unbearable pain
- Swelling that will not go down
- Loss of sensation or tingling
The process can take a few days to a week, depending on the severity of the process. Here are a few important every wisdom tooth removal patient should know.
Using local anesthesia will enable you to bounce back fast after the surgery. However, when in doubt, consult your dentist on the best anesthesia option.
- During recovery
Your nutrition during the recovery process matters a great deal. Forget the ice cream and purpose to eat a healthy, balanced, and nutritious meal. However, avoid hard foods such as nuts that might cause problems to the surgery site.
- Avoiding a dry socket
It is important to follow the proper protocol if you want a quick recovery. For instance, do not brush your teeth too soon following the surgery. Also, follow up with your dentist for the scheduled visits.
12 months after the surgery
One will notice some changes several months after the procedure. Fortunately, they are manageable, and sometimes the effects slowly fade away.
- Face thinning
The wisdom teeth may not have an active role in chewing, but they give the cheeks and muscles some stable structure. Over time, especially as one grows old, facial changes occur. The face becomes thinner since the wisdom teeth are lacking. The explanation is that the muscular forces are resorbed and reprogrammed causing the facial changes.
- Second molar sensitivity
The set of molar teeth adjacent to the removed wisdom teeth might experience some cold sensitivity when one takes cold drinks and snacks. However, the sensitivity goes away, but it could take months. If the teeth feel too sensitive, use sensitive fluoride toothpaste.
- Other side effects
One might feel an occasional toothache or some folds in the gum lines after the wisdom teeth removal procedure. The bone remodeling process and flattening out as it heals causes the pain. The pain is manageable. However, the dentist might recommend antibiotics or painkillers if the pain persists.
Some people will experience TMD pain when they open their mouth or chew following wisdom tooth removal. Allow the jaw to rest and place some ice packs to reduce the pain.
Dr. Christopher D.M.D. is a respected, accomplished, and qualified oral surgeon who handles all dental surgeries including wisdom teeth removal. His customer-centered approach and the use of cutting-edge tools and techniques for the procedure have a calming effect on his patients. Also, he works with qualified and equally friendly staff. Reach out to him and schedule an appointment for all wisdom teeth removal related procedures today!