Creating Room for Your Natural Smile
When it comes to wisdom teeth, most people lack the space needed to accommodate all of their teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction can help these patients avoid future dental complications from overcrowding.
Extraction, the surgical removal of a tooth, is a procedure that Dr. Cederbaum recommends only when necessary to protect the health of a patient. Typically, we’ll try to repair a damaged or infected tooth with root canal therapy and the application of a protective dental crown. However, if you have an impacted wisdom tooth, an extraction is sometimes the best route to restore your dental health.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that emerge on each side of the lower and upper jawbones. They tend to erupt during the end of adolescence or the beginning of adulthood, usually before a patient turns 21.
When a patient doesn’t have adequate space in their jawbone, wisdom teeth can become impacted or cause other teeth to shift out of alignment. An impacted wisdom tooth grows horizontally, putting pressure on your other teeth and the soft tissue of your mouth. Impacted wisdom teeth might be blocked by another tooth, become stuck in the jawbone, or fail to grow through the gum tissue. This can lead to problems, such as:
- Jaw pain and swelling
- Damage to other teeth
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Difficulty cleaning around an impacted tooth
At Trailside Dentistry, Dr. Cederbaum can safely and painlessly remove impacted teeth. She may recommend leaving them where they are in the event that impacted teeth are asymptomatic, meaning they don’t affect the rest of your smile.
The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
Your wisdom tooth extraction procedure will take place in these simple stages:
- We’ll begin by administering a local anesthetic to numb your mouth. If dental procedures make you nervous or anxious, Dr. Cederbaum can provide sedation options.
- Once your mouth is numb, Dr. Cederbaum will make a small incision in the gum tissue that covers the tooth and bone.
- Dr. Cederbaum will remove the tooth, clean the surgical site of any debris, and close the wound. She’ll use stitches to hold the incision closed while it heals.
Depending on the anesthesia and sedation used, you may need someone to drive you home following the procedure.
Recovery After An Extraction
The first 7-days after your wisdom tooth removal treatment are crucial—you need to take it easy so that your mouth can heal and avoid complications.
Some bleeding is normal and to be expected. However, spitting and suction can dislodge a blood clot and restart the flow of blood. Blood clots help the healing response, so you’ll want to avoid disturbing your healing wounds.
Other things that affect the healing process include:
- Swelling and Bruising: Swelling of the face usually dissipates after two to three days, with bruises sometimes taking a little longer to disappear. You can place an ice pack on the outside of your mouth over the affected area for relief.
- Stitches: Dr. Cederbaum typically uses dissolving stitches, so you won’t need to schedule a follow-up appointment to have them removed.
- Beverages: Water is the only recommended liquid following surgery. Avoid any sugary, alcoholic, carbonated, or hot drinks. During the first 7-days of recovery, don’t use a straw because the suction can displace a blood clot.
- Tobacco use: Don’t smoke for at least 72 hours after your surgery. Not only can it cause infection, the sucking motion can also dislodge the blood clot and prolong the healing process. You should also avoid other forms of tobacco for at least 7 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best age for wisdom teeth removal?
Wisdom teeth tend to erupt during the late teenage years or the early twenties. Most patients have their wisdom teeth extracted when they’re in high school, shortly after the teeth begin to emerge from the gums.
While it’s possible to have wisdom teeth removed at a later stage, patients who postpone extraction may increase the risk of complications. These may include infections, damage to surrounding teeth, and even nerve damage.
How do I know if my wisdom teeth will be impacted?
You wouldn’t typically know there’s a problem with your wisdom teeth until after they erupt. We use X-rays to evaluate the status of your wisdom teeth and plan your treatment accordingly. In most cases, we’ll recommend having wisdom teeth removed before they’ve grown in fully.
Does everyone need to have their wisdom teeth removed?
The extraction of wisdom teeth is not always necessary, as they can sometimes erupt fully without impacting the surrounding teeth. An important consideration is whether it’ll be simple to keep your wisdom teeth clean with regular dental hygiene or if their placement makes them vulnerable to infection or decay. In most cases, it’s safer to remove wisdom teeth early and avoid possible complications.
Schedule Your Wisdom Teeth Consultation
Dr. Cederbaum prioritizes early treatment for your wisdom teeth with dental X-rays at your preventive appointments. You can avoid impaction, infection, and a shifting smile with wisdom tooth extraction.
Save your straight smile and learn more about the procedure by scheduling your consultation at our Seattle office. There, we’ll help you determine the best course of action for your wisdom teeth as they grow into your mouth. Contact us by calling (206) 524-1314.