Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Everything You Need To Know
Wisdom teeth also known as third molars are the last teeth to erupt in our mouth. They usually erupt in the early twenties or late teens. Wisdom teeth were essential for our ancestors' survival, but it often causes many problems in modern-day mouths. In many cases, it is required to get wisdom teeth extracted as a preventive measure to avoid any further complications. Here, you can find out why wisdom teeth need to be extracted, the process of wisdom tooth extraction, post-operative care and the risks and complications involved.
Wisdom Teeth: Why Are They Removed?
Some of the reasons why wisdom teeth are advised to be removed include,
- In most people, the jaw space available can accommodate only 28th teeth. Including wisdom teeth, the total number of teeth becomes 32 and in most of them there is not enough space for all 32 teeth to erupt. In such cases, overcrowding occurs leading to malalignment of the teeth and other dental problems.
- Impacted wisdom teeth:
- These are wisdom teeth which partially erupt or fail to erupt in the mouth. This results in swelling, pain and infection because of which the tooth needs to be extracted.
- Preventive measures:
- Most dentists recommend wisdom tooth removal as a preventive measure because their malalignment makes it difficult to clean the teeth resulting in gum problems and tooth decay.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction: What Is The Procedure?
The dentist first performs a careful examination with the help of X-rays to determine the position of the wisdom tooth and evaluate any potential risks and complications involved
There are mainly two types of wisdom tooth extraction:
- Simple extraction: This method of extraction is used when the wisdom tooth is fully erupted and completely visible in the mouth. First, an instrument called an elevator is used to loosen the tooth followed by forceps to remove the tooth.
- Surgical extraction: When the wisdom tooth is partially erupted or impacted, surgical extraction is recommended. Initially, an incision is made in the gum tissue to expose the tooth, in case of deeper impactions the surgeon may section the tooth into small pieces for easy removal. Sometimes removal of the bone surrounding the tooth may also be required.
- Different options of Anaesthesia: There are different anaesthesia options available for the comfort of the patient
- Local Anaesthesia: In this type of anaesthesia the patient is awake and it numbs the tooth and tissues surrounding the tooth
- Sedation Anaesthesia: This type of anaesthesia is administered through an IV line, this suppresses the patient’s consciousness and provides a pain-free experience.
- General Anaesthesia: This type of anaesthesia renders the patient completely unconscious. This is usually recommended for complicated cases or on the patient’s preference.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Post-Operative Care And Recovery
After extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will place gauze or cotton rolls on the extraction site to control bleeding. Stitches may be required to stop bleeding and help in clot formation.
It usually takes a few days to recover after wisdom tooth extraction. During this period some instructions are to be followed including,
- Rest: Take complete and proper rest for the initial 24 hours after extraction avoiding any strenuous activity to minimise bleeding and swelling
- Pain management: Dentists or oral surgeons usually recommend painkillers and antibiotics to manage pain following wisdom tooth extraction
- Cold compress: By applying ice-pack or Cold compression swelling can be reduced
- Diet: It is advised to have soft foods or liquids for the initial few days later solid foods can be taken as tolerated.
- Oral hygiene: For the first 24 hours avoid spitting, rinsing or using a straw. Later rinse your mouth with warm salt water to keep the extraction site clean
Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Risks And Complications
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually a safe and common procedure, but there are some risks and complications involved like,
- Dry Socket: When the blood clot from extraction site gets dislodged, it exposes the underlying bones and tissues resulting in a painful condition known as Dry Socket.
- Infection: In case of infection the common signs seen are fever, continuous pain, and pus discharge from the extraction site. If any such signs are present it is advised to contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately.
- Bleeding: In case of excessive or prolonged bleeding, applying firm pressure with a gauze piece or cotton roll will help reduce bleeding.
- Nerve Damage: Rarely, in some complicated cases the nerves near the extraction site may be damaged resulting in numbness or tingling sensation in the lower lip, chin or tongue.
Cost And Insurance Coverage For Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The cost of wisdom tooth extraction depends on the level of complexity of the case, the type of anesthesia used and the location of the clinic or hospital. Dental insurance may cover the charges of wisdom tooth extraction either partially or completely, it is highly recommended to verify the insurance coverage with your insurance provider beforehand.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a very common dental procedure that helps prevent various oral health problems. Having the knowledge of reasons for wisdom extraction, its procedure and the recovery process helps patients make an informed decision about their dental care and have a smooth treatment and recovery. If you experience any such pain or discomfort with your wisdom teeth it is highly recommended to consult your dentist for professional examination and treatment guidance.
Read Also: How To Prevent Dental Cavities
Frequently asked questions
1. When should I visit the dentist for my wisdom tooth problems?
If you experience any pain, swelling or difficulty in opening your mouth, it is highly recommended to consult your dentist for evaluation and treatment.
2. Can all wisdom teeth be extracted at once?
Yes, it is possible to extract all four wisdom teeth in a single appointment depending on the patient’s preference and the oral surgeon’s recommendation. Some patients prefer having multiple appointments to treat their wisdom teeth individually or in pairs.
3. How long does it take to fully recover from a wisdom tooth extraction?
It usually takes two to three weeks to fully recover after wisdom teeth extraction. Most people can resume their normal activities in a few days but the tissues and bones at the extraction site take several weeks to completely heal.
4. What are the signs of a successful wisdom tooth extraction procedure?
The success of a wisdom tooth extraction procedure is indicated by a reduction in pain, swelling and bleeding. The formation of new gum tissue at the extraction site is a sign of healing.