Wisdom teeth are an extra third set of molars that often appear during late adolescence and adulthood. Early humans needed these teeth to grind plant matter but, given the agricultural advancements that have taken place over the last few hundred years, the function of wisdom teeth has since become redundant.
Nowadays, the mouth often doesn’t have enough space for wisdom teeth and they end up causing pain, or structural damage to other teeth in the mouth. They can also increase the risk of decay.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?
When wisdom teeth start to break through the gum, there generally isn’t enough room for them to fit. Other problems occur when they come through at an angle or fail to develop correctly which may cause significant issues for the rest of your teeth. This is especially the case for the second molars at the very back of the jaw because of the extra pressure and the fight for the limited space that’s available.
As mentioned, decay is another major problem. When new wisdom teeth knock the others off balance, it creates small spaces and slightly misaligns the jaw. This, in turn, alters biting and chewing. Food and other debris can get trapped inside cavities, significantly increasing the risk of decay and further dental problems later on in life.
That said; your dentist might recommend that you get all of your wisdom teeth removed.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Process
Before we take look at the procedure, be aware that some people can be very lucky and not have wisdom teeth. It’s also important to note that those unfortunate enough to have wisdom teeth may not need to have them removed. However, if the dentist says the procedure is necessary, you should follow their advice.
Before the wisdom tooth extraction procedure begins, you may have visited your dental clinic complaining of a sore mouth and gums. After conducting an oral exam, the dentist may take an x-ray to get a better view of your teeth and find out what way they are growing up through the gums. Once it has been established that you will need to get these teeth removed, the next step involves discussing the procedure with the dentist. Topics of conversation here usually revolve around the use of an anaesthetic, your current medication (if any) and an explanation of what the procedure entails.
The dreaded D-Day has finally arrived, now what happens? First off, you will be given an anaesthetic – either a local or general one. Which option you get will depend on the complexity of the removal process and on the number of wisdom teeth you need removed. Some people may have to get all four out which is better done under a general anaesthetic.
During the procedure, your dentist will:
- Cut an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone
- Remove any bone that blocks access to the tooth root
- Split the tooth into sections (it may be easier to remove the tooth in pieces)
- Extract the tooth
- Thoroughly clean the area
- Stitch the wound closed to allow for healing (this isn’t always essential)
- Place gauze over the exposed area to control bleeding
Before you go into the surgery, it’s a good idea to prepare for later. Get someone to drive you home from your appointment and know that procedures can take anywhere from 45 minutes up to more than two hours.
Your healing time will largely depend on what kind of anaesthetic you received. If it was a local anaesthetic, it will be a lot less than if you were given a general one.
You will experience some bleeding, bruising and swelling in the first few days after surgery so be sure to follow your dentist’s recommendations closely when it comes to pain management, smoking, cleaning, eating and drinking.
If you’re getting your wisdom tooth removed soon and wish to know more about the process, feel free to call us on 01 485 1033.