A Complete Guide To Wisdom Teeth Removal
It is a well-known fact that the third molars are the last set of teeth to appear in your oral cavity. But unfortunately, they often fail to become a valuable new asset to your mouth.
The fact is that wisdom tooth removal is reported to be by far the most common dental surgery in the developed countries. Nevertheless, this tooth extraction procedure is traditionally surrounded with a thick mist of mystery and numerous misconceptions. So, what are the medical indications for wisdom tooth removal and is there a way to avoid dental extraction surgery and, thus, its possible complications?
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
It is highly recommended to turn to an orthodontist as soon as you reach the approximate age for your third molars eruption, which is somewhere between 16 and 25 years, even though the actual teeth do not yet show up and their supportive gums apparently do not feel sore.
The prior dental monitoring helps to avoid many problems in wisdom teeth eruption and positioning or at least start their timely treatment and, thus, minimize the chances of possible complications and often even the actual wisdom teeth removal surgery.
Basically, the third molars cause problems when the patient’s jaw is already fully occupied by the rest of his permanent teeth by the moment of the wisdom teeth eruption. The lack of room for normal development causes the newly arrived teeth to be misaligned or non-functional.
The dysfunction of third molars also becomes obvious in cases when the new tooth has no corresponding match to bite against. What is more, almost half of the wisdom teeth fail to fully cut through the gum line and, thus, remain impacted.
Naturally, the above-mentioned problems associated with the eruption of third molars cause a lot of discomfort and even pain. To make things worse, badly misaligned wisdom teeth considerably hinder their at-home cleaning, and inadequate oral hygiene, in its turn, triggers dental infection, which is the number one indication for the removal of wisdom teeth. But do all painful third molars have to be extracted?
When Is It Better to Choose Conservative Alternatives?
Not so long ago, dental care providers generally believed that all painful third molars have to be removed. However, modern dentists believe that the indications for removal of the wisdom teeth might be fully justified only in the case of major infection in or around the tooth:, minor infections are usually successfully managed by taking antibiotics.
Apart from that, wisdom tooth removal is also urgently required when the third molar damages or misaligns its neighboring teeth. Additionally, your dental care provider is likely to sign you up for a dental extraction procedure if there is an untreatable decay in your wisdom tooth or a cyst in your jaw.
It is also highly important to find an experienced dental care professional to avoid removal of healthy wisdom teeth and, thus, the risks associated with unjustified surgery.
It is quite natural for a permanent tooth to cause minor discomfort and short-term gum soreness, which will go away immediately after the third molar finally cuts through the gum line. However, the entire process of the tooth emerging must be thoroughly monitored by your dentist or orthodontist to ensure adequate eruption and its duration and pattern.
What Are the Options for Wisdom Teeth Removal?
The choice of a wisdom tooth removal option and the relative ease of the entire procedure depend on the severity of the third molar misalignment or extent of their eruption. For instance, fully erupted wisdom teeth are removed in a rather conservative way, like any other permanent tooth.
However, if they are impacted and, thus, fully or partially remain under the gum line, surgical removal of the wisdom teeth becomes inevitable.
How to Get Prepared for Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery?
Prior to the surgery, your dentist or oral surgeon will run a thorough physical examination and take multiple X-rays to get the clearest impression of your impacted third molar’s position, run allergy tests to avoid reactions to local anesthesia and sedatives, and carefully study your medical records.
This information will allow your dental care provider to provide you with detailed recommendations on how to get prepared for the wisdom teeth removal surgery.
The most general preparations include quitting smoking, as this poor lifestyle habit considerably increases the risks of infection of the wound during the recovery period.
Your oral surgeon will also inform you of special precautions if your wisdom teeth removal surgery happens to require the use of general anesthesia instead of the traditional local anesthetic due to major impairments of your third molars.
The general outline for these recommendations is to avoid eating and even drinking for about six hours before the wisdom teeth removal surgery. More individual instructions and a detailed surgery plan will be introduced beforehand by your oral surgeon.
What Steps Does Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery Involve?
Generally, wisdom tooth removal surgery is performed under local anesthesia. As it takes effect, your oral surgeon first widens the socket of your impacted third tooth and then starts to carefully move the impacted tooth until it gets loose enough to be pulled out.
However, if the impacted tooth remains fully under the gum line, the removal surgery will require an incision in the gums and even removal of part of its supportive bone.
After the tooth is finally pulled out, your oral surgeon puts stitches. Soon after, or sometimes during, the wisdom tooth removal surgery, the patient gets some sedative medicine.
What Are the Possible Complications of Wisdom Tooth Removal Surgery?
Complications during and after wisdom tooth removal are extremely rare. Like any other surgery, it has average chances of excessive bleeding or unexpected reaction to anesthesia.
The typical complications of wisdom tooth removal might include:
- nerve damage, commonly causing permanent numbness of the tongue or lips;
- accidental injury to neighboring teeth or even jaw;
- dry socket;
- jaw stiffness;
Some individuals are more prone to these wisdom teeth removal complications than others. So, ask your oral surgeon to estimate your chances prior to the surgery.
Finally, remember that, even though two or three days’ mild jaw stiffness, facial swelling, and gum bleeding are a normal issue during the recovery and healing period after wisdom tooth removal surgery, they still require close professional monitoring.