What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom Teeth are a third set of molars in the back of your mouth. They usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25, and they’re spotted on X-rays. Most people have them removed for one of these reasons:
- They’re impacted.Because they’re so far back in your mouth, wisdom teeth may not come in normally. They can be trapped in your jawbone or gums, which can be painful.
- They come in at the wrong angle. They may press against your other teeth
- Your mouth isn’t big enough.Your jaw has no room for an extra set of molars.
- You have cavities or gum disease.You may not be able to reach your wisdom teeth with your tooth brush or dental floss.
If the wisdom teeth emerge partially through the gums, a passageway is created, which can cause problems. And because this area is hard to see and clean, it can become a magnet for bacteria that cause gum disease and oral infection.
The procedure of wisdom teeth extraction
An oral and maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist can remove (extract) a wisdom tooth. The procedure often can be done in the dentist’s or surgeon’s office. Your surgery should take 45 minutes or less.
- Local: Your doctor will numb your mouth with a shot of Novocain in your gums. You may also breathe nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to relax or even doze during surgery. You should feel alert again shortly afterward.
- IV sedation: The surgeon will numb your mouth and also give you drugs through a vein in your arm to make you drowsy. You might sleep during the whole procedure.
- General:You’ll either get drugs through a vein or breathe gas in through a mask. You’ll be asleep the whole time and might not wake up for an hour or so after the surgery.
Your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to get the wisdom teeth out. If so, he’ll stitch the wounds shut so they heal quickly. Most people have little to no pain after surgery. You’ll likely have swelling and mild discomfort for 3 or so days. Your mouth may need a few weeks to completely heal.
Wisdom teeth: to extract or not?
While there currently is no single surgical approach for removing third molars that will particularly minimize loss of periodontal attachment, there are many techniques available to remove them carefully while promoting good healing outcomes. Some of these include:
- Scaling, root planning, and plaque control have the potential to reduce the loss of gum attachment after surgery.
- Periodontal surgical techniques may be beneficial in instances where there is evidence of significant pre-existing periodontal attachment loss.
Prior to any wisdom teeth extraction procedure it is critical that your dental surgeon conduct a proper evaluation — not only to assess the clinical health of the wisdom teeth but also the health of neighboring teeth and other vital structures. X-ray and digital imaging techniques play an important role in determining the exact position of third molar teeth in the jaws, which in turn has a direct impact on the ease or difficulty associated with their removal and the prevention of complications.