Wisdom Teeth Extractions
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that erupt in the back corners of the upper and lower normal adult mouth. Unfortunately, most people experience problems from wisdom teeth; in most cases, this is because the teeth erupt too close to existing permanent teeth, causing crowding, improper bites, and other problems.
If wisdom teeth are causing a problem, this could mean that they are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can be extremely painful, as well as harmful to your oral health. Symptoms are easy to spot and include severe discomfort, inflammation, and in some cases infections.
Many people need to have their wisdom teeth extracted to avoid future serious problems. In general, the lack of the four wisdom teeth does not hamper one’s ability to properly bite down, speak or eat.
If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have an impacted wisdom tooth:
- Facial swelling
- Gum swelling
To remove your wisdom teeth, we will use either local anesthesia or sedation anesthesia depending on the expected complexity of the wisdom tooth extraction.
When using local anesthesia, we will first apply a substance to your gums to numb them followed by injections near the site of each extraction. You will remain awake during the tooth extraction and although you’ll feel some pressure and movement, you shouldn’t experience pain.
More often during wisdom tooth extraction, we will give you sedation anesthesia through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm. Sedation anesthesia suppresses your consciousness during the procedure. You don’t feel any pain and will have limited memory of the procedure. You’ll also receive local anesthesia to numb your gums.
Once you have been given anesthesia, your oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. We then remove the bone that blocks access to the tooth root, divide the tooth into sections if it’s easier to remove in pieces, removes the tooth and clean the site of the removed tooth of any debris from the tooth or bone. Stitches are then applied to the wound to close it and promote healing, though this isn’t always necessary. We will then place gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form.
After your procedure, you may be able to manage pain with an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen, or be given a prescription for pain medication. Prescription pain medication may be especially helpful if bone has been removed during the procedure. Holding a cold pack against your jaw also may relieve pain. In some cases, swelling or bruising of your cheek may occur and will resolve in a few days. You should be able to resume normal activities within a day, but for at least a week should avoid strenuous activity that could result in losing the blood clot from the socket.
We will also provide you with additional instructions to follow regarding:
- Pain management
- Swelling and bruising
- Cleaning your mouth
- Tobacco use
Call our office if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, which could indicate an infection, nerve damage or other serious complication:
- Difficulty swallowing or breathing
- Excessive bleeding
- Severe pain not relieved by prescribed pain medications
- Swelling that worsens after two or three days
- A bad taste in your mouth not removed with saltwater rinsing
- Pus in or oozing from the socket
- Persistent numbness or loss of feeling
- Blood or pus in nasal discharge