One of the most common dental surgeries in the fall and winter months is wisdom tooth extractions. We find a lot of our younger patients end up with extractions over fall break, as it does give you plenty of time to rest and recover and head back to school a few days later. If you have a teenager or young adult, and you want to get their wisdom teeth extraction scheduled, give us a call!
It’s always best to do the surgery in a specific range of time to aid in a faster recovery and prevent unnecessary dental pain by allowing the teeth to grow too much into the gums, causing pain, swelling, inflammation, and leading to other issues. We do have a lot of people come to us and ask why they need them out or are annoyed they have had other extractions, and if they hadn’t taken their wisdom teeth out, it could’ve allowed them to have teeth still! We are here to set the record straight about wisdom teeth, why you need them out, and why those big teeth in the back of your mouth aren’t the solution for other teeth that are being removed (now or in the future).
Why Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the mouth, in the very back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth normally arrive around the ages of 17-25. We take regular X-rays at routine dental visits to check on the wisdom teeth and how they are growing. Removing wisdom teeth is common, as they can lead to infection, swelling, and crowding of the mouth. In fact, 85 percent of people need their wisdom teeth extracted sometime during their life. Here are some of the main issues that wisdom teeth cause and why they need to be extracted:
- Impacted teeth: The wisdom teeth are in the far back of the mouth, which is a very limited space for a tooth. The wisdom teeth are larger, and this space makes it difficult for them to grow normally. Impacted teeth are trapped in the gums, and they can cause pain. The other issue is that they can push your other teeth and your jawbone, which makes your teeth shift position and leads to speech impediments.
- Wrong angle: Teeth can grow in against your teeth, which is incredibly painful.
- No space: Mouths are crowded, adding another set of teeth to the area causes spacing problems. Too many teeth in a tight area causes the other teeth to shift position, leading to crooked teeth. Crooked teeth not only appear unsightly to many people, but they can also make it hard to chew without pain. Most jaws simply do not have room for an extra set of molars, so they need to be extracted.
- Increased risk of cavities and gum disease: If you cannot reach the back of your mouth for proper brushing and flossing, it can make getting a cavity quite easy! It’s difficult to keep the molars clean, especially when you are talking about having three sets of molars. Keeping the gum disease and cavities under control is hard enough without an extra set of molars.
Do I Need Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Now that you know the reasons behind why we need to extract wisdom teeth, how do you know when it’s time to extract them? Routine examinations and cleanings allow us to stay updated on your dental health. X-rays give Dr. Leavitt some extra insight into your bone density, jaw structure, and the development of your wisdom teeth. While most wisdom teeth removal is around the ages of 17-25, we see patients in their mid-thirties, fifties, and older come in for extractions. The best way to know if you would like to schedule a wisdom teeth extraction for your child is to bring them into our office. Older teenagers are normally experienced in dental work, so they aren’t as scared about surgery. We work closely with our patients to make sure they are comfortable and not experiencing any anxiety over the extraction process.
Dr. Leavitt will discuss the procedure with you in person, and we will talk about any concerns you may have. There are some health questions to discuss so we can make sure the medications we use do not cause any issues with health conditions you may have. We will talk about the healing process and what you can do to ensure the areas heal properly. We will also talk to you about some side effects that you need to watch for so it doesn’t lead to a painful condition called “dry socket.”
The Dental Extraction Procedure
On average, dental extractions last about 45 minutes or so. It depends on the health of your mouth and the position of the tooth. We provide local anesthesia to help numb the area during the procedure. We provide nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to help you relax during surgery. There are some patients who prefer IV sedation or general sedation, as they allow the patient to sleep during the procedure and awake following the surgery. Depending upon the stage of growth of the tooth, Dr. Leavitt may need to cut your gums or bones to remove the teeth. The area will be stitched so it can heal faster, and the stitches will self-dissolve in a couple of days. Gauze is used to soak up the blood that occurs for a few hours after the procedure.
Patients normally experience some pressure during the procedure, but you shouldn’t feel pain. It is important to communicate with us immediately if you feel any pain while we are extracting the tooth. After the procedure is over, we will send you home with some post-operative care instructions. One of the most important things we can stress to you is to make sure you rest! Far too often, patients try to go back to work or school too soon, which can lead to dry socket. Dry socket hurts, and we don’t want you to end up in pain with more inflammation and swelling issues. Rest, rinse with salt water, and eat soft foods (no straws) to help the healing process begin.
To learn more about wisdom teeth extractions in Pocatello, ID, give Leavitt Family and Cosmetic Dentistry a call today!