A Brief About Wisdom Teeth: How Much Do You Know?
Wisdom teeth are the set of four teeth, also called the 'third molars,' that develop during the teenage years or early adulthood stage. These are the last set of teeth that develop in the dental arch. Wisdom teeth are found in most adults, but many people may not develop all or any wisdom teeth. In some rare cases, it is also possible for adults to have more than four wisdom teeth.
The growth of wisdom teeth
Generally, wisdom teeth appear in young adults aged between 17 and 25. It is usually pain-free, and the molars emerge like any other teeth. But the best dentists report that wisdom teeth appear as 'impacted teeth in some adults.' An impacted tooth may only appear partially or not at all. Often, these teeth may also show the following anomalies:
- Angular growth, pointing to the neighbouring second molar.
- Angular growth pointing to the back of the mouth.
- Growth at a "lying down" angle in the jaw, sometimes at a ninety-degree angle to neighbouring teeth.
- "Straight up" or "straight down" growth like other teeth, but without emerging from the jawbone.
Indications that wisdom teeth need to be removed
Wisdom teeth usually appear to erupt normally in most adults. Abnormalities like impacted growth, resulting in an angular position, or growth of hidden teeth are not commonly known. These may cause problems at a later stage. To avoid making a small problem bigger, visit your dentist if you see one or more of the following:
- Pain at the back of your jaw
- Food debris trapped around your wisdom tooth
- Gum disease around the molars
- Signs of cavities developing around a partially developed wisdom tooth
- A cyst (fluid-filled sac) around any one or more of the wisdom teeth
- Signs of damage to neighbouring teeth or bone
Some dental practitioners advise their patients to opt for wisdom tooth extraction even if there isn't any problem. This may be done as a safeguard against future problems.
Wisdom tooth extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction is a procedure that oral surgeons or dentists perform as an outpatient procedure. During oral examinations or through an X-ray, dentists can see wisdom tooth conditions that can be corrected through extraction. Some dentists may also recommend extraction to avoid complications in the future.
During the extraction procedure, the patient is first anaesthetized with IV fluid sedation, or nitrous oxide also called laughing gas. Once the anaesthetic kicks in, the surgeon will cut through the skin and gums and remove the anomalous tooth as a whole or in parts.
Potential complications and risks involved in wisdom tooth extraction
Doctors have suggested that wisdom extraction is easier in younger patients than in older ones since roots in the teeth elongate and curl up when people grow older. So, performing extraction on those below twenty years of age is easier.
A few complications can occur during the wisdom tooth extraction procedure. The most common one is when a blood clot at the site of surgery dislodges accidentally, exposing the bone underneath. This can lead to bone inflammation and leave the patient in a lot of pain. This condition is called alveolar osteitis or dry socket.
Other rare complications that could occur include sinus perforations in the upper mandible or injury of a neighbouring alveolar nerve in the lower mandible. Damage or trauma may be caused in the neighbouring teeth or the temporomandibular joint. A condition called paresthesia, in which there is prolonged numbness in the gums, tongue, or lips, may also be a result of complications during a wisdom tooth extraction procedure.
As is obvious, it is always best to have an experienced practitioner perform your wisdom tooth extraction. If you are looking for the best dentist in Gowrivakkam, come to 4SquaresDentistry for the most experienced professionals.
How to Prepare for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Once your dental practitioner has determined the need for wisdom tooth extraction, they will refer you to an oral surgeon for further consultation. The surgeon will take time to examine your mouth, the condition of your wisdom teeth, and X-rays that identify the exact location and condition of the wisdom teeth. They will also discuss your options for sedation and any other requirements they will need to clear with you.
Make sure to have a session with your dentist and the oral surgeon prior to the procedure to clear any questions you have about the process, how to prepare for it, and how to plan for your recovery period. Work with your doctor to schedule the procedure to allow for enough time for preparation and recovery. You can get a lot of expert advice at this stage on preparing for the surgery.
Ensure that you have a plan in place for how you will handle the bill. The procedure could cost more if multiple teeth are removed, how far the tooth has been extracted, and how complex the surgery can get. Make sure you talk to your practitioner and medical insurance provider to know where you stand financially.
Be sure to follow your surgeon's advice about what or how much to eat or drink before the surgery. Depending on your case and the method of sedation that will be used, there may be special instructions involved.
Any information you need to disclose to your physician should be done during this time. Information about medication, supplements taken, or medical conditions must be disclosed in full.
Also Read: 8 Myths About the Root Canal Procedure Dispelled
What Happens During Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Understanding the Process
Anaesthesia is the first step you will undergo during the extraction procedure. Depending on your physiology and condition, three types of anaesthesia may be used:
- Local anaesthesia is designed to numb down the specific site of the surgery and will not affect other parts of your mouth or body. With a local anaesthetic, you can be conscious during the procedure. It is administered as one or more injections after the area is numbed with a special substance. Once the drug takes effect, you shouldn't be able to feel anything more than movement in the area and pressure as the surgery proceeds.
- Sedation is an anaesthetic administered into your body through an IV line in your arm. It is designed to suppress consciousness and will be accompanied by a local anaesthetic in most cases. You may feel a little disoriented when you wake up, and you'll have no pain or memory of the procedure until the drug wears off.
- General anaesthesia works in a similar way but is usually administered through a breathing mask. It may be supplemented with more anaesthetics through an IV line if your dentist feels it is required. With general anaesthesia, a team of professionals will be monitoring your vital signs like temperature, medication, breathing, heart rate, blood pressure and fluid levels. Just as with sedation, you will not be able to remember the procedure or feel pain until the medication wears off. More drugs may be administered after the procedure to help you manage post-operative pain.
Once you have been prepped for surgery and the anaesthetic has taken effect, the surgeon will perform the procedure.
STEP 1: To expose the bone and the tooth underneath, the surgeon makes an incision in the gum tissue.
STEP 2: The surgeon removes enough bone to expose the roots of the tooth.
STEP 3: Now the tooth is split into pieces if it is too large for intact extraction.
STEP 4: The tooth is removed.
STEP 5: The surgeon proceeds to clear debris from the region.
STEP 6: The wound is now closed, though this may not be a necessary step in all tooth extractions.
STEP 7: Gauze is placed over the wound to staunch the bleeding and help the body form a blood clot.
What Happens Post-Surgery in a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Once the sedation wears off after the surgery, the patient is usually free to be taken home by a relative or friend. You can expect slight pain and discomfort as the drugs wear off, along with controlled bleeding and swelling. Surgeon's instructions for post-operative recovery need to be carefully adhered to to ensure that your recovery is smooth and complete. Be sure to watch the operated site carefully and to look for any physical signs that seem abnormal. Here is a list of things you should do after you are discharged:
- Warm salt water washes every two hours and after each meal will keep the operated area clean and prevent infections or build-up. Brushing and cleaning around the area should be done very carefully.
- You may be advised to use an ice pack for the swelling, so be sure to follow the instructions to help the swelling in your cheeks and gums go down. It should feel better by the second or third day after surgery, though the bruising may take a little longer to heal.
- Make sure to keep yourself hydrated during your recovery days. Still, it is important to stay away from hot beverages, alcohol, caffeine, or carbonated drinks for at least twenty-four hours. Sucking through a straw could also be dangerous as the action could dislodge the blood clot and cause complications.
- You will need to refrain from using tobacco and cigarettes for at least seventy-two hours after the surgery, as these could drastically interfere with the healing process.
- Check with your physician about stitches that need to be removed. You may also have stitches that dissolve or no stitches at all.
The initial recovery will take about two to three days, and you may experience slight bleeding during this time. Once this stage is crossed, you could carefully return to your normal life, making sure to be careful with the site of recovery. Complete healing of the gums will take anywhere between three to four weeks.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that your dental practitioner could advise for several reasons. You must follow the professional's instructions before, during and after the procedure for the quickest recovery. Remember to reach out to 4SquaresDentistry to avail of the practices of the best dentists in Gowrivakkam!