Extraction of wisdom teeth is among the most common dental procedures in the field of dentistry. There are several reasons why your dentist might suggest the extraction of wisdom teeth. They might be impacted, or your mouth is not big enough to accommodate more teeth.  An experienced oral surgeon must always perform teeth extraction. Before that, an experienced dentist must conduct the proper evaluation to ensure that extraction is the only option available for you. To understand more about wisdom teeth extraction, contact us at The Downey Dentist. We have been providing top-quality oral and dental care to the people of Downey, CA, and surrounding communities for many years now.

Overview of Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. Therefore, you’re likely to develop four wisdom teeth at the back of your mouth, two at the top and two at the bottom. It is expected that wisdom teeth will emerge during a person’s late teens or early adult years. Some people develop four wisdom teeth, but others do not develop any. You may never get to see the third set of molars at the back of your teeth. But for those whose wisdom teeth develop, some experience problems that prompt the extraction of those teeth.

When you experience problems with your developing wisdom teeth, your doctor may suggest extraction. A diagnosis like that is not unusual. Therefore, there is a surgical procedure for the removal of wisdom teeth. It could happen for several reasons, including the possibility that there isn’t enough room for more teeth in the mouth. When the teeth develop in a constricted environment, they become impacted and could be painful. That is why a dentist must remove them for better growth of the remaining teeth and your overall well-being.

As previously mentioned, teeth extraction is a delicate procedure that an experienced oral surgeon must conduct. It is necessary during wisdom tooth extraction. You must undergo an in-depth examination by an experienced dentist to determine the right course of action to take. If the only available solution is to have one or more wisdom teeth removed, your dentist will refer you to an experienced oral surgeon who will take you through the procedure. The oral surgeon will prepare you on what to expect, what will happen during the process, and how you must care for your mouth to promote quick and proper healing.

Reasons for Wisdom Tooth Extraction

The formation of wisdom teeth comes last after all the other teeth have taken their position in your mouth. In most times, other teeth leave little or no room for the growth of more teeth, causing wisdom teeth to be impacted in the gum tissue or bone. When the teeth become impacted, they are unable to erupt fully and occupy a normal position.  As a result, it could result in infections to the bone or gingiva as bacteria become trapped in areas like those.

Sometimes infections caused by an impacted wisdom tooth lead to loss of bone around the affected area, damaging the neighboring molars. Other times wisdom teeth are believed to push other teeth in front of them, resulting in crowding. It shows that the growth of wisdom teeth can result in several issues that could prompt a dentist to advocate for extraction.

However, there is a need for your dentist to consider the structure of the growing wisdom teeth and then advocate for extraction. It is advisable to have them removed early enough while still developing and before forming their roots. Doing so lowers the number of expected issues and could promote better healing after extraction.

Here are some of the problems that could call for the removal of a wisdom tooth:

When They are Impacted

As mentioned above, wisdom teeth are better off extracted if they are impacted. It is because impacted teeth will not grow normally and could cause you more pain as they continue to squeeze in the small space left by other already-established teeth. They could also be trapped in the gums or jawbone, causing even more pain.

When They Develop in the Wrong Angle

If your wisdom teeth have developed at the wrong angle, they’ll need to be extracted. If left to grow at the wrong angle, they will press against other teeth, damaging them and causing you more pain.

When There’s No More Room

Your mouth needs to have enough room for all teeth’ growth to support the total growth of wisdom teeth. If your mouth is not big enough, your jaw will have no more room to allow the development of another set of molars.

Gum Disease or Cavities

If you have gum disease or cavities in your wisdom teeth, your dentist will recommend an extraction. Sometimes it is hard to reach the wisdom teeth when brushing or flossing. It makes them more vulnerable to cavities and other infections.

Issues with wisdom teeth present themselves with some form of discomfort. The discomfort or any other symptom is a tell-tale sign that there could be a problem. It is what will cause you to contact your dentist or to book an appointment. Some of the signs to watch out for include:

Pain and Sensitivity

Pain and sensitivity are always signs that something is wrong with your teeth. An experienced dentist should be able to examine and tell the cause of your pain and sensitivity. If the pain or sensitivity is felt at the back of the mouth, it could mean there is a problem with your developing wisdom teeth.

Pain and sensitivity can be experienced when cleaning your teeth/mouth, eating, and doing nothing. When you start to feel pain or sensitivity in your mouth, it could be time to schedule an appointment with your dentist. Pain on your teeth, however minor it is, shouldn’t be ignored.

If diagnosed early enough, your dentist can provide a quick remedy that could fix the problem. But if the pain or sensitivity is allowed to linger on for some time, it could escalate into a significant issue like an infection, which could be costly and take a longer time to heal.

A developing cavity could cause pain or sensitivity to your wisdom tooth. If diagnosed early, treatment can quickly be administered with a minor restoration or filling. If the cavity is allowed to progress, it becomes large and could require a dental crown. More progression can lead to a need for root canal treatment. Beyond that, your tooth will be beyond restoration, and the only remedy your dentist can recommend is an extraction.

Inflammation on the Gum

Since wisdom teeth develop later after developing other teeth, they tend to create a flap of tissue behind the molars. The flap is where most food particles and bacteria are trapped, resulting in irritation and inflammation. When gum tissue becomes inflamed, the areas around the gum appear reddish and swollen. It could also be sore to touch and make it impossible for you to eat or even brush your teeth.

This condition is commonly referred to as pericoronitis. It occurs mainly on wisdom teeth that haven’t sprouted yet. It is the leading reason why most people seek dental healthcare with wisdom teeth.

Bad Taste or Breath

Misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth cause the gums surrounding them to be very delicate. Thus, it is not easy to clean those areas, resulting in stuck food and bacteria growth. The result is an infection, which causes bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.

Oral Cysts

If some of the above-listed symptoms of developing wisdom teeth are overlooked, you can develop cysts in your mouth. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs surrounding the crown of a tooth. If not treated, they could destroy your jawbone, the affected tooth’s root, and its surrounding structures. If ignored further, they could develop into tumors, which only a professional oral surgeon can surgically remove.

Pain and Stiffness of the Jaw

If your wisdom teeth have already erupted and you’ve allowed them to develop in the wrong position in the mouth, they will affect your teeth’ normal functioning. For instance, your teeth will not bite together as they should. It results in pain and stiffness of the jaw muscles.

Consequently, you’ll experience problems opening and closing your mouth and moving your jaw. If this is ignored further, it can result in an incorrectly aligned bite that could result in serious TMJ problems.

Sinus Problems

Some sinus issues are linked to dental problems, especially the development of wisdom teeth. When you have teeth growing in your upper jaw, their roots can affect the bony sinus floor. The results would be issues such as sinus pressure, pain, congestion, and sometimes headaches.

Preparations Before and During Surgery

It is always advisable to have your growing wisdom teeth assessed by a dentist before encountering any of these signs. If your dentist finds a problem whose only solution is extraction, you’ll be referred to an oral surgeon. The surgeon will operate his/her office, after which you’ll only need a few days to recover fully.

When you are ready to undergo wisdom tooth extraction, you’ll meet with the oral surgeon to perform the extraction. During the first appointment, you’ll talk about a few issues, including:

  • The health problems you are experiencing — It will be good to disclose to the surgeon any health issues you might be having, even those that are unrelated to the underlying problem. The benefit of doing this is for the surgeon to determine whether you are fit for the procedure.
  • List of drugs you regularly take — Some drugs are not recommended to take before or after oral surgery. Telling the surgeon about some of the drugs you take periodically helps him/her decide whether or not the procedure will be safe for you at that instance.
  • Questions or any concerns you have regarding the procedure — It will be necessary for the surgeon to begin the operation when you are fully ready. Thus, it is essential to ask any questions you might have or raise any concerns regarding the procedure before the operation.
  • Talk about the anesthesia you will have — This is an integral part of the preparation you need to undergo before the procedure. Understanding the type of anesthesia and how it is administered is crucial. Some people prefer to sleep through the operation, while others prefer to stay awake but numb. Let the surgeon know if you have any preferences.
  • Plan your time well — As previously mentioned, you’ll need enough time to undergo the procedure and a few days to rest before you can go back to your daily routine. Thus, you need to make prior preparations. For instance, if you have children and/or pets, you might need to plan how someone will take care of them while you recover. Also, you may need to arrange for a ride home after the procedure to ensure your safety.

The procedure will take a maximum of 45 minutes. Here are the types of oral anesthesia surgeons give for these procedures to prevent patients from experiencing pain in the course of the extraction:

  • Local anesthesia — It is administered through a shot to numb the mouth. Oral surgeons can also have patients inhale the laughing gas or nitrous oxide to sleep or even relax through an operation. With local anesthesia, you’ll be alert again after a short period.
  • IV sedation — In addition to numbing your mouth, your surgeon could also give you an injection through a vein to put you to sleep. IV sedation will make you sleep through the procedure and a few minutes after.
  • General anesthesia — It includes injecting a drug through the vein or breathing gas through a mask. The aim is to make you sleep through the procedure. With general anesthesia, you’ll wake up an hour or more after the operation.

After the surgeon administers anesthesia, the procedure follows. It will involve cutting your bones or gum to extract the developing tooth. Once the tooth is out, the surgeon will stitch up the wound to recover quickly. The stitches will take a few days to dissolve. If more blood is still coming out after the operation, the surgeon will stuff in some gauze pads to absorb the blood.

Care After the Surgery

People respond differently to anesthesia. Some people will be fine after local anesthesia and go back to their usual routine, including driving home from the surgeon’s office and going back to work the following day. Others will still be feeling drowsy and might need to call for help to get home. It is essential to ask for help to avoid any issues.

Similarly, some people will still be in pain a day or two after the procedure. If you are still in pain or are still experiencing discomfort or welling, it is okay to take a few days off work and the usual routine to recover. The surgeon will give you a list of precautions you must abide by when taking care of the wound to speed up the healing process.

Here are some of the things you can do to speed up recovery:

  • Holding an ice pack to your face will take care of the swelling and/or any changes in your skin color
  • Moist heat could help with a sore jaw
  • Exercise your jaw by gently opening and closing your mouth
  • Only eat soup or soft foods like rice and pasta in the first days after treatment
  • Take plenty of fluids
  • You can start cleaning your teeth on the second day of your recovery. Avoid brushing against clots if there are any.
  • Only take the drugs the surgeon prescribed for the swelling and pain
  • Contact your dentist as soon as you experience issues like fever, excess swelling, or pain

Additionally, you’ll be required to avoid some of the following, to prevent further complications or slow recovery:

  • Avoid drinking through straws — Sucking on a straw could loosen the blood clot on the treated area, which slows down the healing process
  • Avoid rinsing your mouth harshly — If you must rinse your mouth, do so gently using saltwater
  • Avoid any foods that could scratch the wound and cause an injury — Some of the foods to avoid in this case are sticky, crunchy, and hard foods
  • Do not smoke, as smoking is one of those habits that slow down healing.

Find a Downey Dentist Near Me

If you are experiencing symptoms like pain, sensitivity, or discomfort in your mouth, it may be time to have your wisdom tooth extracted. However, it is crucial to have an experienced dentist examine your mouth first to determine the actual problem. If he/she recommends extraction of your wisdom tooth, it is vital to find out what this is all about before undergoing the procedure. For high-quality, comprehensive, and affordable dental care in Downey, CA, contact us at 562-746-0350. At The Downey Dentist, we have the skills, experience, tools, and facilities to meet all your dental needs.