Wisdom Tooth Extraction
What are wisdom teeth, and why are they such a problem?
Wisdom teeth usually appear at the back of your mouth during your late teens or early twenties. Often there is no room for them to ‘erupt’ (come through the gum) and the tooth to emerge properly. A wisdom tooth can erupt partly or remain trapped below the gum – this is known as an ‘impacted’ wisdom tooth.
Why don’t my wisdom teeth fit my mouth?
These are a few theories as to why wisdom teeth don’t fit many people’s mouths. Some experts think genetics may play a part – for example, you may have inherited one parents’ small jaw and another parents’ large teeth. Another theory suggests due to changes in our diet since prehistoric times, modern diet being more refined, our jaws don’t need to be as large and strong as they were Prehistoric times and teeth doesn’t wear at the rate compare to prehistoric diet.
Our experienced dentist has vast experience in removing even the horizontally impacted wisdom teeth.
A: No, not everyone is born with a full complement of teeth. In fact, the wisdom teeth are the most common congenitally missing teeth, Dr. K. Mahalakshmi says
A: Pain in the upper or lower jaw can often be the first sign that your wisdom teeth are causing problems. You may feel a sensation of pressure in the back of your mouth. Also, the gum tissue around the erupting wisdom tooth often becomes sensitive, swollen and inflamed.
However, you may also feel no pain at all. But absence of pain doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t a problem. “A lot of folks don’t have any symptoms,” says Dr. K. Mahalakshmi. “That’s why you should have your wisdom teeth examined by a dentist to determine if extraction is appropriate.”
A: If your wisdom teeth are impacted, thereby preventing adequate oral hygiene, it’s often best to have them removed.
Teeth that erupt in an upright and functional position often don’t need to be removed, Dr. K. Mahalakshmi says, as long as they cause no pain and aren’t associated with decay or gum disease.
However, even wisdom teeth that come in correctly can develop problems over time because they are so far back in the mouth and difficult to clean. So if you keep your wisdom teeth, be sure to brush and floss them well, and see your dentist regularly.
A: It’s common for people to have impacted wisdom teeth. These teeth are buried, either partially or completely, in the soft tissue or jaw bone, and are more susceptible to disease and other problems.
The problem is you can’t clean impacted wisdom teeth properly, so they can start to decay, and you can develop gum disease. Although less common, cysts or tumors can also develop around impacted teeth, says Dr. K. Mahalakshmi.
Dentists generally evaluate impacted teeth on a case-by-case basis to determine whether to remove them, he adds. If a tooth is fully impacted in bone and X-rays show that eruption is unlikely, your dentist will often recommend removal to prevent future problems
A: Mild to moderate pain is normal and expected after an extraction, but a few other complications are also possible. Here’s a rundown of what you can expect and how your doctor would likely treat each possibility:
- Pain. Some pain and swelling is likely to occur with all extractions, says Dr. K. Mahalakshmi. In most cases, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories paired with a limited dose of narcotic medications can help control most pain. Ice is recommended for the first 24 hours to minimize swelling.
- Dry socket. Though rare, this is one of the most common true complication following surgery. It typically occurs four to seven days after a tooth is extracted when the blood clot needed for healing dissolves too soon. Your dentist likely will treat it with an oral antiseptic solution or a specialized dressing depending on the severity of pain.
- Subperiosteal abscess. This is a pus pocket that develops when bone and tissue debris are trapped between the healing extraction socket and the tissue covering the bone. Your dentist can drain the abscess and provide you with antibiotics to help clear up any infection.
- Bacterial infections. Postoperative bacterial infections are rare, occurring in fewer than 6 percent of all cases, says Dr. K. Mahalakshmi. Your dentist may give you a dose of antibiotics before surgery to sidestep problems with infection. After surgery, antiseptic mouth rinses or additional antibiotic regimens are sometimes needed.
A: Ultimately, you have little control over your wisdom teeth. “Other than keeping up with oral hygiene and going to the dentist on a regular basis, there’s not much patients can or need to do,” says Dr. K. Mahalakshmi.