Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom tooth extraction is, for most, a feared surgical procedure. They create in their mind the image of a swollen cheeks and the obligation to eat liquid food and nothing else for days. But the truth the extraction can be less painful than they might think, although minor complications are possible.
It is important to know that these teeth do not appear in everybody’s mouth. When they develop, a dental surgeon may recommend them to be removed for a variety of reasons. But before explaining the wisdom tooth extraction procedure and the importance of the removal, allow me to shed some light on wisdom teeth.
What is a Wisdom Tooth?
The wisdom teeth are the third molars. Located at the back of the dentition, behind the second molars, there can be 4 (2 on the top, 2 on the bottom) on total. Some people may have 3, 2, 1, or none. As they grow, they can become troublesome which lead people to extract them.
Why do they grow in some people and not in others? Why do some people have one and others four? It is still challenging to scientists to explain. But there is a solution, surgical removal.
When to Consider Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Total or partial wisdom tooth extraction is the most frequent oral surgical procedure. It is usually performed under local anesthesia, and more rarely under general anesthesia. Since the number of wisdom teeth varies between one and four, their extraction is necessary in different situations: bad position (included in the bone), pain or inflammation, risk of damage to the correct alignment of the teeth due to lack of space, and others…
But although there are many reasons for the removal, one of the first, however, remains the lack of space for orthodontic treatment, as their growth may disrupt the alignment of the teeth. The second reason is when they are poorly positioned (they are pushed parallel to the dental arch, for example). The third cause of extraction is excessive pain and inflammation or infections (abscess in particular).
The Surgical Procedure
Wisdom tooth extraction must be performed under local surgery in a dental office (by appointment). Sometimes hospitalization, usually on an outpatient basis, is necessary.
The procedure begins with the injection of an anesthetic and continues through the incision of the gum and then a milling of the bone surrounding the tooth to be extracted. Depending on the case, the closure is done with wires which can disappear in 2 to 4 weeks or be removed during a follow up consultation.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Infection and Complications
Any surgical procedure carries some risk of more or less serious complications. In the case of wisdom tooth extraction, swelling of the cheeks (edema) is frequent and sometimes serious. This can range from alveolitis (inflammation of the dental alveolus) to infection. Temporary disturbance of the sensitivity of the lower lip or even tongue, due to irritation or alteration of a nerve that runs near the extracted tooth, can also occur.
Minor bleeding (for a few hours at night after surgery) and pain can occur in the operated areas. This pain, which usually disappears within a few days, can be treated by taking analgesics or applying ice packs coated in a cloth. In addition, limitation of certain oral movements, such as opening, may also occur and last for a few days.
Excellent oral hygiene is essential. This is why mouthwashes are always prescribed. The teeth and gums should be cleaned after each meal with an ultra-soft brush. The healing usually takes from ten to twelve days.