What Are Wisdom Teeth?
There are four wisdom teeth, which are the very back molars at the top and bottom of the mouth. They appear around about the ages of seventeen to twenty two.
Some people develop complications when they finally appear, and for other the teeth never arrive. However if they do arrive but don’t come through properly, they may need to be removed.
Wisdom teeth present potential problems when they are misaligned as they can position themselves horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars or be angled inward or outward.
Wisdom teeth that lean toward the second molars make those teeth more vulnerable to decay by entrapping plaque and debris.
What Is An Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
When the teeth remain partly or totally trapped underneath the soft tissue or inside the jawbone, they are called impacted wisdom teeth.
They may only partially break through the top of the gums, or grown outwards through the side of the gum.
All of these things can lead to an infection such as pericoronitis, a great deal of pain, stiffness of the jaw, and swollen gums. It can also lead to inflammation in the lymph nodes.
Antibiotics, special cleaning and mouthwash may help with some symptoms caused by an impacted wisdom tooth.
However, some issues cannot be overcome, and when problems arise, the offending teeth need to be removed.
Do You Really Need Wisdom Teeth?
You can certainly get by without these teeth. Indeed, removing the teeth is much easier when you are young.
Removing wisdom teeth shortly after they begin to appear is simpler because the jawbone is not so dense, and the roots will probably be much weaker.
Having these teeth removed in later life may involve a longer recovery time. Plus, the process may be more intense. Although, any worries about dental pain can be overcome with via sedation dentistry techniques.
The cost of the treatment varies, and you can find help in the form of free dentist treatment, if you qualify.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
There are several questions relating to the removal of wisdom teeth. Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions.
Will A Hospital Pull A Wisdom Tooth?
You may be able to have your tooth removed at a dental clinic, although most of the time the procedure is performed at a dental hospital.
If the tooth is being removed as a precautionary measure and there are no expected complications it is a fairly straightforward procedure. However, if you have had an impacted wisdom tooth the procedure might be a little more complicated.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Prior to any dental treatment to remove the teeth you will be given advice from your dental clinic. For instance, you will be advised to avoid smoking after the extraction, as it can delay the healing process.
Depending on the type of anesthetic to be used you will be given advice on eating and drinking in the hours leading up to the procedure.
Now comes the actual procedure for removing a problem wisdom tooth.
Firstly, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. In certain cases you may be offered a general anesthetic which will allow you to sleep throughout the entire procedure.
With no complications expected the wisdom tooth would be removed in the same way as any other.
When the tooth is inside the jawbone the oral surgeon or dentist will need to make an incision into the gum. He or she might then need to remove a portion of bone to enable the tooth to be removed. Finally, any wound will be closed generally using dissolvable stitches.
The tooth extraction may be over in minutes, and even a complicated procedure can usually be done within half an hour.
How Long To Recover After The Extraction?
Your dentist or oral surgeon will have already advised on what to expect after the extraction procedure, but here are a few basics.
If you’ve had a local anesthetic the area and your face may be numb for a while afterwards. As the anesthetic begins to wear off you will probably need to take painkillers.
If you’ve had a general anesthetic then it will take quite a while for the anesthetic to wear off, and you will have to be very careful for the first 24 hours. You may feel drowsy and should not drive or operate machinery.
Is There Any Special Pain Relief For Toothache?
Generally speaking there is no special pain relief, and you would take the commonly available medicines designed for toothache and other pains.
You should not take aspirin, as this thins the blood and could increase any natural bleeding which comes after extractions.
Eating And Drinking After Wisdom Tooth Removal
It may not seem a top priority to some, but many people want to know what you can eat after having a wisdom tooth extracted.
Here are the two most common queries which are asked about food and drink.
- Do you have to eat soft foods after extractions?
- Can you eat crunchy foods after wisdom teeth removal?
Your favorite sandwich may well be crunchy peanut butter, but it would be much better for you to start off with soft foods, at least for a few days.
Avoid eating anything too hot, so as not to dislodge the blood clot, but you could try some of the following.
- Yoghurt, Mousse, Ice Cream
- Apple Sauce, Mashed Banana
- Fruit Juice
- Scrambled Eggs
- Mashed Potato
You can soon eat pasta after wisdom teeth are extracted, and other similar foods. Just take care how you eat and how you chew.
Even when you do venture back to solid foods take it slowly, and avoid chewing directly on the spot of the extraction. Leave your crunchy peanut butter sandwiches until the gum has had a chance to heal, so as to avoid fresh dental problems, or making the gum bleed again.
The majority of people won’t have problems after the procedure and the gums will heal in their own time. Pain is understandable and quite normal, but it should lessen as the days go by. However, contact your dental clinic for advice if you notice any of the following:
- You have severe pain which is not improving with painkillers, or is growing worse instead of better
- You find swallowing or breathing difficult
- You have any swelling which is still there after a couple of days
- You have a high temperature
- You experience bleeding that won’t stop, and you have followed the oral surgeon or dentist’s advice on what to do if the gum bleeds after extraction.