The third molars, called wisdom teeth, usually make their debut between the ages of 17 and 25. While not everyone gets their wisdom teeth, for those that do, there can be complications, such as the teeth getting stuck under the bone and gum tissue (impacted) or coming in crooked and causing a host of issues. This is why millions of patients have these teeth extracted every year. Dr. Harper and Dr. Hennessy offer wisdom tooth removal in Fryeburg, Maine. To find out if the procedure can help restore or preserve your oral health, schedule a visit with us today.
What is Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy will perform a thorough examination and a team member will do any necessary diagnostic tests, including x-rays and a 3D scan, to determine if your wisdom teeth are currently causing issues or if they will cause them in the future. In many cases, the extraction of the third molars, more commonly called wisdom tooth removal, may be recommended.
Some typical reasons for wisdom teeth removal, include:
- Having a jaw that is too small to accommodate all of your teeth, which would lead to crowding or a risk of the wisdom teeth becoming impacted (getting stuck under the gums and bone and posing a threat to adjacent teeth or bone)
- The wisdom teeth coming in crooked, potentially creating bite problems, harming other teeth or interfering with the anatomical structure of the jaw
- The wisdom teeth not fully erupting, which increases your risk of bacterial infection
- A cyst forming around unerupted wisdom teeth, leading to infection and damage to the bone or nerve tissue
Wisdom tooth removal is an effective way to alleviate or prevent the issues. Early evaluation can be beneficial since studies show that younger patients in their teens and early 20s heal faster and have fewer complications. Additionally, removing impacted wisdom teeth before their root structure has developed fully will make the procedure easier.
Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Boosts Oral Hygiene
Your teeth will be easier to brush and floss, which prevents tooth decay and gum disease.
Preserves Your Smile
Wisdom teeth removal can help maintain the alignment of the remaining teeth and prevent crowding and damage.
The procedure helps you avoid the complications that can occur due to impaction, including infections and cysts.
What to Expect
Wisdom tooth extraction can be performed with just a local anesthetic, however, many patients opt for oral sedation, nitrous oxide or IV sedation. We’ll discuss the best type of anesthesia for your needs. If you do choose sedation, an adult will have to accompany you to your appointment and drive you home.
Once you’ve been anesthetized, Dr. Harper or Dr. Hennessy will make a small opening over the tooth to create a path for it to come out. Depending on your situation, they may remove bony obstructions or break the tooth into several smaller pieces for easier removal. After gently extracting the tooth, they’ll clean the area and, if needed, suture the site.
The recovery period after wisdom teeth removal usually only lasts a few days. You should rest during this time to encourage healing and take any pain medication as prescribed. Bleeding at the extraction site is normal. You can control it by gently biting on gauze pads, changing them as needed, and keeping your head elevated on pillows instead of lying flat.
To reduce swelling, hold an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for several minutes at a time on the first day after the procedure. Beginning on day two, placing a warm, moist washcloth on your cheek will be helpful. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water several times a day can also alleviate discomfort.
For a few days after having your wisdom teeth removed, eat soft foods and be careful when brushing your teeth or putting anything in your mouth. Follow any additional post-operative instructions we give you to ensure optimal healing.