Omni Dental Group

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth extraction surgery is often performed to prevent future dental issues or to correct an existing problem. Around the age of 18, adults have 32 teeth, 16 on top and 16 on bottom and yet the average mouth can only hold 28 teeth. Dental complications can arise when the four extra teeth, known as the Third Molars, or “wisdom teeth” erupt, forcing their way into the space.Wisdom Teeth Removal, wisdom tooth surgery, impacted tooth removal

Because your jaw may not have enough space for your wisdom teeth, they can emerge at awkward angles resulting in crowded space. If they erupt they may erupt partially through the gums causing a gum tissue flap to grow over them. Food and germs are more easily prone to get caught under this flap and become difficult to clean resulting in infection.

Your wisdom teeth can also become impacted meaning they become stuck in the jaw and never break through the gums. Serious complications can arise from impacted teeth including infection or damage to the bone, nerves or other teeth.

Wisdom teeth extraction is an out patient surgery and generally requires only a few days recovery time. Local anesthetic is usually used to numb the area around the tooth unless multiple or all wisdom teeth will be removed in which case a general anesthetic is usually used.

During the extraction process the gum tissue is opened over the tooth and any bone on the surface of the tooth is removed. The tissue connecting the tooth to the bone is separated and the tooth is then removed. In some cases the tooth is broken into smaller pieces for easier extraction.

After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Cotton gauze is placed over the wound to help stop the bleeding.

Post Surgery

In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribe by your oral surgeon. Listed below are some post-op surgery tips.

  • Change the cotton gauzes periodically to keep the wound clean.
  •  Be careful to avoid biting your lip, tongue or cheeks post surgery as a result of the applied anesthesia.
  • To minimize swelling, you can apply ice packs to the sides of your face where surgery was performed.
  • Avoid using a straw during the healing process. The sucking movement can loosen the blood clot and increase the healing time.
  • After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain.

If you live in or around Austin , call our office to schedule a consultation or fill out an online appointment request form to find out if you should have your wisdom teeth taken out. Our oral surgeons will gladly answer any questions you may have.

Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to erupt (surface) in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.

In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.

There are several types, or degrees, of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:

Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but the gingiva (gum) is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.

Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially erupted, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Again, because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur.

Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This will require more complex removal techniques.

Reasons to remove wisdom teeth

While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present, and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:

  • Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.
  • Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
  • Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.
  • Tooth Crowding: It has been theorized that impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become misaligned (crowded or twisted). This theory isn’t universally accepted by all dental professionals, and it has never been validated by any scientific studies.

Wisdom Teeth Examination

As with any dental procedure, your dentist will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital x-rays will be taken in order for your dentist to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems. The x-rays can also expose additional risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (typically in the mid-teen years) is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination can your dentist provide you with the best options for your particular case.

What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist in an office surgery suite. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.

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