Wisdom Tooth Extractions
The third molars, also known as the wisdom teeth (because they usually begin to erupt around late adolescence or the “age of wisdom,”) are the largest teeth in the human mouth. In fact, these teeth are so large that many people do not have enough room for them in their jaws.
If the wisdom teeth are unable to erupt correctly, they become impacted and can cause many problems for the patient, such as cysts, abscesses, tumors, infections, discomfort, and damage to surrounding teeth… just to name a few.
Fortunately, modern humans don’t need their wisdom teeth to chew very rough foods as their ancient ancestors did. Therefore, patients will not suffer any adverse consequences if those wisdom teeth are removed. Because impacted wisdom teeth are at such risk of creating problems, many patients opt to have them removed as a preventive measure even if they are not symptomatic. The extraction is more comfortable for younger patients because their wisdom tooth roots are not as developed compared to adults. Younger patients also recuperate more quickly and face a lower risk of complications after the procedure.
We understand that some patients will be reluctant to pursue surgery if they are not having issues with their wisdom teeth, and Dr. Chei will thoroughly educate you on the procedure so that you can decide whether it is right for you. Here are some answers to some of the initial questions that may come to mind for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the symptoms of impacted wisdom tooth?
Pain at the rear of the jaw is a classic symptom of an impacted wisdom tooth. The discomfort occurs because the impacted tooth continues to attempt to erupt into the jaw, despite the lack of room in the jaw for it. It may also be due to a painful infection of the tooth’s root known as an abscess. Additionally, the teeth in the area and throughout the rest of the smile may shift out of their proper position to attempt to create room for the wisdom teeth. Pus at the back of the jaw or bad breath can also be signs of infection, which also may indicate impacted wisdom teeth.
How long does it take for a wisdom tooth extractions?
A wisdom tooth extraction can generally be completed in a matter of hours in our office, although some patients may have exceptional circumstances that make the procedure longer. As a patient you will receive some form of sedation for maximum comfort. Dr. Chei will give you any pre-operative instructions that you may need related to your sedation specifically. A responsible adult will need to escort you home after the appointment and stay with you until the sedative has worn off completely.
When can you start eating and drinking after wisdom tooth removal?
Dr. Chei will give you specific instructions, but most patients will be able to eat and drink something later in the day after their surgery. Patients should stick to a soft diet for the first few days so that the extraction site has time for initial healing. Don’t use drinking straws until Dr. Chei permits you to do so, as this can contribute to dry sockets.
What is a dry socket?
A dry socket develops when the blood clot that forms to protect the exposed nerves in the socket either fails to materialize or is dislodged prematurely in the healing process (which could occur with the sucking sensation when using a straw). This painful condition of dry socket is the most common complication associated with wisdom tooth extraction, although Dr. Chei will make recommendations, like abstaining from smoking and avoiding drinking straws for a period after your procedure. These recommendations can help you reduce your risk of the condition.
How long does the pain last after wisdom tooth extractions?
Pain will vary from patient to patient, so if you have any specific concerns about your pain levels, you should contact Dr. Chei as soon as possible so that you can be evaluated for a problem, if necessary. Most patients should only experience discomfort for a few days after their wisdom teeth are removed, and mild discomfort may linger for another week or so. If you’re having severe pain for a more extended period, it could indicate a post-operative complication like dry sockets or an infection, so contact our office immediately for further instructions.