Most people have four wisdom teeth. They are found at the very back of the mouth, with one in each far corner, and take their name from their later eruption, which usually happens in the late teenage years or even early adulthood. These large teeth take up a considerable amount of space, but since all the other adult teeth have already normally long erupted by this point, space to accommodate them can quickly become an issue. If there isn’t enough room for them, it can start to cause problems for your oral health.
Wisdom teeth can become impacted, which is where they either can’t break through the gum at all, or they become stuck partway through.
They erupt twisted due to a lack of space.
Wisdom teeth can try and force other teeth out of the way, causing them to become twisted, overlapped, crooked, or gapped.
Wisdom teeth eruption can be painful.
Infection can occur when bacteria get into splits in the gum that occur when wisdom teeth try to erupt.
Unfortunately, if you start to experience problems caused by your wisdom teeth erupting, you may be recommended to have them removed. Nobody wants to hear the words ‘tooth extraction’ but removing the wisdom teeth is actually a very common procedure, with around 5 million patients undergoing the procedure every year.
Wisdom tooth removal is usually straightforward and thanks to an anesthetic, causes minimal discomfort. Before your wisdom teeth are extracted, x-rays of your teeth will be taken so that we can plan your procedure carefully and know what to expect. In most cases, a local anesthetic should be sufficient for the removal, but some patients may like to have sedation if they are particularly anxious or nervous. Our expert dental team will talk to you about your anesthesia and sedation options.
You may only need one wisdom tooth removed, or some or all of them. Although it is possible to get all four removed at the same time, this is obviously a much longer invasive process. For this reason, most dentists recommend that you get teeth removed one side of your mouth at once, then return after they have healed to have the wisdom teeth on the other side of the mouth removed.
The actual removal will either be simple or surgical. In a simple removal, a special tool called an elevator is used to create space around the tooth so that it can be removed as a single piece. However, if the tooth is impacted or affecting surrounding teeth, surgical removal may be needed. This could involve making an incision in the gum, cutting away some of the bone of the jaw, or breaking the tooth into pieces to remove it.
After the tooth has been removed, the wound will be closed using sutures and left to heal. These sutures usually dissolve of their own accord around a week after they are placed. Our dental team will provide you with the information that you need to take care of your mouth and gums while they heal. This will involve advice about eating and drinking again, following a soft diet, taking pain medications, and completing a course of antibiotics which will help prevent the wound/s from becoming infected.
To learn more about wisdom tooth extraction, contact Midtown Dental Center in Atlanta, Georgia at (404) 874-0800 to schedule a consultation.