Dr. Alsaadi completed an internship in Oral Surgery.
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.
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.
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.