We all dread that moment, sitting in the dental chair when your dentist suggests doing an X-Ray to see how your wisdom teeth are doing. There is always that someone who has already had the surgery done before and shares horror stories of a huge and swollen face, bleeding, unbearable pain and the most hated one, being the dental syringe. Sounds familiar?
Read on to understand your wisdom tooth and the surgery for its removal in a better way:
1) What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars. They are the last teeth to pierce through the gum at the very back of the jaw. Their eruption will begin any time during the teen years and by late 20’s they either fully erupt or are unable to erupt as they get impacted.
2) What are impacted wisdom teeth?
When your wisdom teeth are blocked by other teeth and are unable to emerge fully through the gum due to lack of space, it is referred to as an impacted wisdom tooth.
3) What are the signs that your wisdom teeth are impacted?
Often impacted teeth show no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they are varied.
The common signs that your tooth is impacted are:
– A headache and pain in jaw
– Halitosis ( foul odour in the mouth)
– Difficulty in opening the mouth
– Tender swollen gums at the back of the jaw
– Swelling in the jaw
– Pain on chewing
4) How does one know if they need to remove their wisdom tooth?
Every patient is different and each wisdom tooth situation is different. It is best to consult your Oral Surgeon about the position of your wisdom teeth. He/ She may order an X-ray to evaluate the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth. You may be advised to remove your tooth even before any problem arises. This is done to avoid a more complicated extraction that might have to be a done a few years later. Removal is easier in younger people when the wisdom tooth roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time also tends to be much longer.
5) How are impacted wisdom teeth removed?
The removal of an impacted wisdom tooth will require an incision through your gums and removal of the portion of the bone covering the tooth. Very often the tooth may be extracted in small pieces rather than in one piece to minimize the amount of bone sacrificed to get the tooth out.
6) How painful is the wisdom tooth removal surgery?
The wisdom tooth and the surrounding tissue will be completely numbed with local anaesthesia. In addition, Sedation may be considered to control anxiety and alleviate pain. Patients may opt to have their wisdom teeth removed under General Anesthesia as well. In that case, the patient will not feel anything.
7) What should be expected during recovery post-surgery?
Some amount of swelling and soreness post-surgery is expected. This is your body’s mechanism of aiding in the healing process. You will be prescribed medications that will help with these symptoms and assist in the faster recovery process.