Wisdom Teeth

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Wisdom teeth have earned a reputation for making trouble in this day and age when many of us have smaller jaws than our ancestors. The tendency for wisdom teeth to become “impacted” or unable to move into their proper position is the cause of most problems. Impacted wisdom teeth grow in any way they can, such as sideways or at an angle. Some may partially break through the gum surface, while others remain trapped beneath the gum and bone, leading to a host of potential complications.

Infected gums

When the tooth has only partially broken through the surface, bacteria can enter through the opening or flap around the tooth and cause the gum to become infected. This uncomfortable condition is best avoided by having the wisdom teeth removed before infection can develop.

Decay

Because partially-emerged wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, plaque containing bacteria may form on the surface and create a cavity in the wisdom tooth and adjacent teeth.

 Crowding and structural damage to other teeth

When teeth become crowned, they lose their proper position in the mouth. Thorough cleaning becomes more difficult and teeth may wear unevenly or prematurely with structural damage as a result. These are just a few problems that may occur.

How do I know if my Wisdom Teeth need to be removed?

Because problems with wisdom teeth develop gradually and symptoms may or may not be present, the best way to prevent trouble is to visit us regularly for a dental check-up and panorex x-ray to see if wisdom teeth are present.

At what age should Wisdom Teeth be removed?

The best time is between the ages of 16 -19 – before the roots have a chance to become firmly anchored in your jaw. Also, the older we get, the denser our jawbones become, making removal more difficult as time goes on.

What steps are involved with Wisdom Teeth removal?

During an examination, a panorex x-ray will be taken to evaluate the location of your wisdom teeth.  Sometimes when wisdom teeth are fused to the jawbone you will require referral to an oral surgeon to surgically remove them. Otherwise the procedure is as straightforward as any other extraction. We will use local anesthetic and possibly other types of anesthesia such as nitrous oxide(laughing gas) to freeze that area of your mouth. Dr Bunt will then make an incision in your gum around the wisdom tooth and lift the wisdom tooth out of place. Dr Bunt uses a gentle atraumatic approach to wisdom teeth removal so that healing will be quick and painless. Often a suture will be needed to close over the area where the tooth was removed. These sutures will dissolve on their own over a period of 7-10 days.

During the healing process, you may experience initial swelling and discomfort in your gums and jaw, making it wise to plan on “taking it easy” for a few days after the surgery. Discomfort and swelling can be relieved by placing ice packs on your cheeks.  Dr Bunt might also prescribe pain medication to increase your comfort during the healing process and antibiotics if necessary.  Other things you can do to help with the healing process include:

-Drink lots of liquids and limit your diet to soft foods after the bleeding stops. Avoid hard or crunchy foods for at least two weeks.

– Avoid brushing the teeth next to the ones that were removed until at least a day after the surgery. When you do begin brushing the area again, be very gentle so as not to disturb the blood clot that forms in the socket. For the same reason, don’t rinse your mouth vigorously, smoke, spit forcefully or drink from a straw during the healing process.

– avoid and alcohol the day of the surgery and do not mix with pain medications.

-avoid smoking or sucking through a straw as this can lead to a very painful dry socket.

– Can us if you have a fever, persistent and severe pain, excessive swelling or bleeding, or an y adverse reaction to your medication.

Following surgery, we will schedule a follow-up appointment to make sure you’re healing properly.

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