Wisdom tooth extraction is a standard procedure these days, yet we still have a lot of questions about it. Some of the most common queries include:
- Should all wisdom teeth be removed?
- Can we have all four wisdom teeth removed at once?
- Will teeth shift after wisdom extraction?
- What care should be taken to ensure 100% success?
Let’s take a look at all of these questions (and more) regarding wisdom tooth extraction.
Issues with Wisdom Teeth
One of the most common and first-ever significant dental procedures for teenagers these days is wisdom teeth removal.
As the last of the permanent teeth to appear in young adults, wisdom teeth can erupt anywhere between the ages of 17 to 25 years or beyond. However, in recent years, there is a steep growth in the number of youngsters having problems with these third and final molars.
The fundamental cause for these issues is a lack of space for the teeth to grow, which leads to both overt and less apparent problems that are collectively termed as impacted wisdom teeth.
What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
A healthy wisdom tooth erupts cleanly without causing problems. Sometimes, though, they either fail to come out of the gums or they come out only partially, causing several issues like swelling, pain, and even infection.
When these third molars remain hidden inside the gums, they can crowd the jaw, impacting the other teeth nearby; these are what we refer to as impacted wisdom teeth. They generally have to be extracted, as they not only cause physical discomfort but can also be detrimental to an otherwise healthy gum line.
Do We Need to Remove All Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Extraction is usually only required in cases where there is an immediate cause for concern to the patient (in the form of swelling, infection, or intense pain). However, sometimes the patient might be advised to undergo removal even with the absence of discomfort or pain; this can be because of non-overt problems on a deeper level. Hence, most professionals recommend proper and safe removal of all impacted wisdom teeth as a preventative measure, to avoid adverse effects to an otherwise healthy gum line.
How to Recognize Impacted Wisdom Teeth
For successful wisdom teeth removal, a crucial aspect is approaching a good dentist at the right time. Thus, the first step is being able to recognize the problems with our wisdom tooth/teeth. Visiting a good dental practitioner regularly can help identify any issues right in the beginning. But, here are some signs you can look for on your own that may indicate impacted wisdom teeth:
- Gums: One of the first signals of problems with the third molars is red or swollen gums. More severe inflammation coupled with pain in the gums can be even further indication of problems. Further still, outright pain or bleeding of the gums is a definite sign that you need to visit a good dentist.
- Jaw: Another significant indicator is the jaw. Tenderness or pain in the jaw, difficulty moving the jaw, tenderness when biting, or problems with biting are all indications of impacted teeth.
- Bad breath/unpleasant taste: Though not so overt and luckily not painful, bad breath or unpleasant taste or sensation in the mouth (especially at the furthest corners of the mouth) can be an indirect indication of a problem with a wisdom tooth.
- Difficulty opening the mouth: Finally, having difficulty opening the mouth is another vital indication of issues. It can occur simply as discomfort when moving the jaws or outright pain when opening the mouth beyond a certain point. In such cases, it is important to book an appointment with your dentist immediately.
During and After Extraction
As a concept, wisdom tooth extraction might sound scary; however, it is quite common—so common, in fact, that people can safely get all four wisdom teeth removed at once. Let’s take a look at what you can expect during and after the procedure.
The procedure is straightforward. It involves a simple incision to the gum from which the impacted tooth is extracted. Then, once the tooth is removed, a few stitches to close the incision complete the procedure. Since it is done under anesthesia, most people don’t feel much during the operation. But, once the surgery is done, some pain can be expected; however, your dentist will give you some suggestions on ways to control and/or reduce pain associated with your extractions
Overall, wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly simple operation to undergo. However, it can be tricky dealing with the healing process. So, here are some precautions you can take to ensure the extraction is a complete success:
- Do not disturb the site of operation, remove the cotton gauze, spit out, or suck in for at least 24 hours after the procedure. Any of these actions can disrupt blood clotting and lead to pain and other post-procedural problems.
- Avoid hot, sticky foods, foods that require a lot of chewing, and foods that might stick to your gums. It is best to go for soft foods and beverages that aren’t too hot or too cold and that have the least amount of impact on the teeth.
- Do not brush for at least 24 hours after the surgery.
- Get plenty of rest, leave the mouth undisturbed for at least a day, and take the prescribed medication as per your dentist’s orders. This will accelerate healing so that you can get back on track as quickly as possible.
The ultimate goal of wisdom teeth removal is to wholly prevent or relieve the painful damage caused by the impacted teeth. As a result, its effects are intended to be long term. This permanent aspect can be a concern for some, though. For example, many people ask, “Will teeth shift after wisdom extraction?” However, this should not be cause for worry.
In general, having your wisdom teeth removed will not cause your teeth to shift. Depending on the severity of the impaction of your teeth and/or how many wisdom teeth you have removed, you may experience changes in your bite. However, this is often due simply to the lessened pressure on the surrounding teeth, which allows your bite force to be more evenly distributed throughout your mouth. These changes in your bite will likely feel different, and thus may make you feel as though your teeth have shifted. But, you can rest assured that they most likely haven’t.
The Best Dental Practitioner in North Little Rock
One of the most important aspects that determines the best wisdom tooth extraction experience is finding the right dental practitioner for you. At Dean Dental Solutions, we make it our goal to provide the citizens of the North Little Rock, Arkansas, area (and beyond) with exceptional dental care.
Contact us online if you have questions about wisdom tooth extraction and aftercare, or call 501-271-3685 today to make an appointment.