Wisdom teeth are the “third molars”, which means the molars that usually appear in the jaw between ages 16 and 24, though sometimes they appear as late as the early 30s.
Unfortunately, when they do come in there is rarely enough room in the gum line for them to fully emerge. Wisdom teeth are present in 65% of the general population, and of those teeth 85% eventually require extraction. Ouch!
At DentArana, we are experts in assessing and treating wisdom teeth, from explaining the special care of them at home, to extraction if they become dangerous to your dental health.
What Problems Can Come with Wisdom Teeth?
When wisdom teeth come in (“erupt”) through your jawline, several things can go wrong:
- They may only come partway through your gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to cover them. Food and germs can get trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful.
- Your jaw may not be large enough for them and they can be unable to break through the gums. This is called an impaction.
- They may cause serious problems, including infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or cysts.
- Your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to either side.
When is extraction of wisdom tooth really needed?
- If the wisdom teeth fail to completely erupt
- If they are positioned in an unusual manner, such as sideways or protruding into the next tooth
- If food is becoming trapped around the wisdom tooth, causing infection
- If you are not able to brush the wisdom tooth properly
- Swelling of the gum, the back of the mouth, or the side of the jaw
- Difficulty opening the jaw
- Bad breath
- An unpleasant taste in the mouth
- Pain or irritation when you open your mouth
- Pain when chewing or biting
Pain can occur for some time, disappear, then return. But the problem still remains!
If you have these kinds of issues, you will likely need to have your molars extracted.
During wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon:
- Makes an incision in the gum, creating flaps to expose the tooth and bone
- Removes any bone that blocks access to the tooth
- Divides the tooth into sections if it’s easier to remove in pieces
- Removes the tooth
- Stitches shut the depression left by the extracted tooth
- Presents you with a list of post-extraction behaviours.
How Long Does the Extraction Process Take?
For a fully erupted tooth in the upper jaw, it normally takes around 35 min depending on the case. Sometimes, lower teeth take more time.
Impacted teeth take longer because the bone surrounding the tooth needs to be opened first. This normally takes around 45 min to one hour.
Of course, each case is different, so ask your DentArana dentist!
If you feel sensitivity, pain, or swelling near the back of your jaw, you may have a problem with your wisdom teeth. If so, see your dentist immediately!
Recovery typically lasts a few days. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
- Periodically bite gently on a gauze pad, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call us if you have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Avoid physical activity – it may increase bleeding.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days, it can also increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
- Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.
Other Wisdom Tooth Treatment
Even if your wisdom teeth do not require extraction, they do need a bit of extra care. Regular and careful flossing is a key element of this, as wisdom teeth are difficult to clean due to their location in your mouth.
Permanent molars often have deep fissures and grooves. These are most at need of protecting. Sealants can protect molars in children and adults can also have tooth sealants applied. This is commonly carried out on wisdom teeth when they come through into the mouth.
In any case, whatever treatment you need, it’s available at DentArana!
The DentArana Difference!
Whatever your dental condition, your Arana Hills dentist is here to help optimize your dental health and keep your smile in optimal condition!