In an adult’s mouth the third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to appear. They’ll usually appear in the mouth between the ages of 17 and 25. Under certain circumstances, your dentist might decide that it’s best to have them removed. This can either be done in their office or in some cases you might be referred to an oral surgeon.
Sometimes your wisdom teeth can become impacted, which means they may be trapped between your jawbone and gums. This can often cause pain and discomfort. wisdom teeth have the potential to press against your other teeth, another uncomfortable scenario.
Problems may also arise if your jaw isn’t large enough to accommodate the extra teeth:
Often because of the abnormal way the wisdom teeth appear in the mouth, it can make caring for these teeth difficult, increasing the risk of cavities and other diseases.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will help you prepare for the procedure. They’ll discuss your overall health, go over medications you’re currently taking, and discuss the type of anesthesia you’ll receive during the procedure. It’s at this point that they’ll remind you to make accommodations in preparation for your recovery, which can be between 3 days and a week. This will also be your best opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
The surgery itself should last about 45 minutes. During the procedure, you’ll receive anesthesia of some kind. This can be in the form of local anesthesia which numbs the area where the extraction is taking place. You might be administered some nitrous oxide to help relax you. You may also receive sedation via IV to make you drowsy during the procedure. More rarely, your situation may require general anesthesia where you will be asleep for the whole procedure. You’ll receive stitches at the site of the surgery which should dissolve on their own in a few days.
Following the surgery, it’s important to follow the directions of your oral surgeon to make sure you heal properly. In general you’ll want to eat only soft foods, drink plenty of fluids, brush your teeth when your dentist says it’s okay, and take any medications your doctor prescribes to ease pain and swelling. You’ll want to avoid certain things as well, such as drinking through straws, rinsing too intensely, eating hard and sticky foods, and smoking.
Having wisdom teeth removed is a common and successful surgery. It’s important to talk to your dentist or oral surgeon beforehand to help ensure everything goes smoothly. Contact us at Alfano Oral Surgery to schedule an appointment today!