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What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth extraction is done to remove your third molars(also called wisdom teeth) that erupt right at the end of your upper and lower jaws. They are called wisdom teeth because these permanent molars erupt at a mature age between 17-20 years. Did you know that wisdom teeth do not help you bite or chew? Well, its true!
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted?
While other teeth are useful and essential, wisdom teeth are not required. But, is that the only reason you must get your wisdom teeth extracted? Definitely not!
Here are some common reasons why your dentist will recommend wisdom teeth extraction:
- Impaction: Your wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth and most often get ‘stuck’ or ‘impacted’ in the bone and are unable to erupt normally. When this happens, they cause pain in the bone and gums, warranting an immediate extraction.
- Wrong Angle of Eruption: In some cases, even though wisdom teeth have enough space, they tend to erupt at a wrong angle and press against other teeth triggering pain.
- Lack of Space: In ideal cases, all your teeth have the space to erupt in your mouth. But, in realty, this does not happen. When there isn’t enough space in your jaw for the eruption of the wisdom teeth, they get stuck in the jaw and cause pain and swelling.
- Cavities: Another reason for wisdom tooth extraction is tooth decay and cavitation in the tooth. This happens because the wisdom teeth are located so far away that it is difficult to brush and floss around them.
Other causes why wisdom teeth are extracted are:
- Food lodgment behind the wisdom tooth
- Gum or bone infection around the tooth
- Formation of a fluid-filled sac, called a cyst, in association with one or more roots of the wisdom tooth
- Orthodontic complications caused by the wisdom tooth
- Sinus infections caused by upper wisdom teeth
How Do You Prepare for a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Wisdom tooth extraction is always performed as an outpatient procedure at the dental clinic itself. You can go home after the extraction is completed. Once your extraction is scheduled, your dentist will give you a few instructions that you need to follow before coming for the extraction on the decided date.
Few instructions that you may be given include:
- Have a heavy meal before your extraction
- You might want to get someone along to drive you back home
- You will be advised to arrive atleast 15-20mins before your extraction time to acquaint you with the procedure and the dos and don’ts
- If you are taking prescription medicines for conditions like diabetes, hypertension, etc., your dentist will advise you to take the medicine as per your usual time
- If you are an asthmatic, you should carry your inhaler with you for the procedure
How is a Wisdom Tooth Extraction Done?
A wisdom tooth extraction is usually performed under local anesthesia by your dentist or oral surgeon.
Here are the steps involved to painlessly remove your impacted or troublesome wisdom teeth:
- Your dentist will first anaesthetize the nerves around the wisdom tooth that needs extraction.
- Once the area around the tooth is sufficiently anesthetized, an incision is made in the gum around the tooth to expose the bone and the tooth roots
- In simple extractions, the wisdom tooth can be removed entirely in one go. In cases where the tooth is impacted or stuck under the bone, the tooth is broken down into smaller pieces and then removed
- Once the tooth is removed, the entire site is cleaned and all debris are removed
- The site is irrigated with an antiseptic like betadine and saline
- Your dentist will now stitch the wound using sutures to promote healing
- A gauze is placed on the wound and you will be asked to bite on it to control bleeding
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Aftercare
Once your wisdom tooth extraction is completed, your dentist will instruct you about the aftercare and do’s and don’ts.
The do’s and don’ts after wisdom tooth extraction include:
- After an hour of surgery, you can remove the gauze piece placed by your dentist. You need not replace it.
- On the day of surgery, some oozing of blood from the wound into the mouth is normal and there is nothing to panic about. You must avoid spitting out this blood and just swallow everything. This prevents the dislodgement of the blood clot from the socket.
- Your dentist will prescribe a pain killer that is usually available over-the-counter to help in pain management. This pain killer is ideally given before the anaesthesia wears off to make it comfortable for you.
- Holding a cold pack on the outside of the jaw can help relieve pain and prevent swelling. Your dentist will instruct you on how to do so.
- You will need to rest after your surgery and so plan your day accordingly. You can resume your activities the next day but avoid strenuous activities in the next 4-5 days.
- You must avoid all caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and hot beverages in the first 24-hours after surgery.
- You must eat only soft and cold food in the first 24-48 hours after your wisdom tooth extraction. You must avoid hard, spicy and hot food as these can irritate the wound and cause pain.
- Do not wash or rinse your mouth for the first 24-hours after your wisdom tooth extraction. You can brush your teeth the next day but be gentle while brushing close to the extraction site.
- Avoid the use of tobacco and do not smoke until your wound has healed.
- You will be asked to visit your dentist’s clinic the next day to check if the healing is good. Your stitches need to be removed and your dentist will schedule an appointment for the same 6-7 days after your extraction date.
Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Painful?
Since your wisdom tooth and the region of your jaw and mouth around it numbed before the procedure, extracting your wisdom tooth is not painful. You might feel pressure when your dentist is removing the tooth and hear noises of the instruments used, but you will not feel any pain.
Once the procedure is over, you will be given pain management medicines that begin acting before your numbness wears off. This ensures you have a painless recovery. If at any point you feel pain, you can tell your dentist immediately.
What if My Wisdom Teeth are not bothering me?
“Does everyone need to get their wisdom teeth extracted?” No! If your wisdom teeth are not bothering you and have fully-erupted in your mouth, you need not get them extracted. However, if at any point, you feel the following symptoms, you will need to visit your dentist:
- Gum irritation, redness or swelling around the wisdom tooth
- Frequent food lodgment in and around the wisdom tooth
- If your wisdom tooth has not erupted completely or has erupted out of alignment
- If your wisdom tooth is causing you jaw joint troubles
Wisdom teeth are notorious teeth and are routine trouble-causers. Wisdom tooth extraction is a painless routine procedure and is performed at all Sabka Dentist clinics. If your wisdom tooth is troubling you or you wish to know whether you need to extract them, visit your nearest Sabka Dentist clinic for a consultation with our team of dentists.
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I inform my dentist before extraction?
Do I have to remove my stitches?
- Non — absorbable sutures won’t degrade and will only reduce in strength over time. They have to be removed 7 – 10 days after the stitches were originally placed.
- Resorbable sutures (plain gut/chromium gut) get resorbed and do not have to be removed. They may deteriorate over 8 – 15 days. But, it may take 70 – 90 days for them to be completely resorbed within tissues. Resorbed means that the suture material will be broken down and assimilated gradually.
What precautions should be taken after extraction?
- Immediately after extraction, the dentist will cover the site of tooth extraction with gauze pack and ask you apply to bite pressure. This is done to allow the blood clot to form. Keep this gauze pack in your mouth for half an hour after the tooth extraction, to ensure clotting. One should keep applying moderate biting pressure, but not chew.
- Bleeding for some time is expected, but if it is excessive, then do visit the dentist immediately.
- Avoid spitting, vigorous rinsing and using a straw for next few days. These behaviors can create negative pressure that can dislodge the clot formed over the site of extraction, resulting in a painful condition called Dry Socket.
- Have liquid and soft diet for following few days.
- Swelling around the mouth is common. It may develop over first few hours after extraction. Ice pack should be used for the first few days to reduce the swelling.
- After 24 hours, gently rinse and swish your mouth with lukewarm salt water.