What You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth Removal

Your third molars are more commonly called your ‘Wisdom Teeth’.  Wisdom teeth are developed after all of your other teeth.  Usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties, third molars often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place of your jaw and becomes impacted, problems can arise. Primarily, damage to adjacent teeth and crowding occur.

There are two ways your wisdom teeth grow: the first way your wisdom teeth grow in vertically — as normal teeth. For some people, the extra molar teeth take up space and cause crowding and can impact your teeth and cause swelling.

The second way wisdom teeth grow is horizontally. When this happens, the wisdom teeth are blocked from growing correctly. In cases like this, your wisdom teeth will remain below the surface of your gum line. Sometimes, your wisdom teeth sprout out sideways, and will cause your other teeth to crowd, along with causing your gums to swell.

In certain cases, the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop around the root of the tooth that then fills with liquid. This can cause a cyst or an abscess if it becomes infected. If either of these situations goes untreated, serious damage to the underlying bone and surrounding teeth and tissues can result.

Removing wisdom teeth is a very common procedure, though it’s not always necessary. Dr. Christ will perform a thorough examination to determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary for you.

What If You Don’t Experience Pain, or Have Wisdom Teeth?

A small percentage of the population does not even grow wisdom teeth. This should not be cause for concern. Additionally, some people who have wisdom teeth do not encounter pain, gum swelling, or dental discomfort.

How do you know if you should have your wisdom teeth pulled?

If your wisdom teeth cause crowding, swelling of the gums, or pain in your mouth, Dr. Christ will recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed.

How does the removal process work?

Dr. Christ will remove your wisdom teeth through surgical procedure.

We begin by taking x-rays of your teeth to determine if the wisdom tooth has grown in horizontally or vertically, and if the tooth is the cause of crowding and gum swelling.

When we determine the removal is necessary, we schedule an appointment to remove the wisdom teeth. To reduce pain, we use local anesthesia on our patients before and during the procedure. Our patients have the preference to choose to be awake or to be asleep for the procedure.

Depending on whether the tooth is underneath your gums or visibly above the surface of your gums, we may make a small cut in your gums to pull the tooth out. After the removal of the tooth, a gauze pad is pressed upon the gums where your wisdom tooth was pulled. Dissolvable stitches are then used to sew up the incision in your gums, and reduce bleeding.

Is wisdom teeth removal painful?

With proper anesthesia, the removal of your wisdom teeth should not be painful. If you do feel any sort of pain during the procedure, let Dr. Christ know that you’re not fully numb. In post procedure, you may incur some mild swelling, and pain. Heat pads in combination with ice pressed upon your cheeks may help with swelling and add comfort.

What foods should you eat post surgery?

You will want to avoid using straws, as the suction may cause your sockets to bleed. Colder foods will sooth your mouth.  Avoid spicy foods with seeds that may cause irritation and infection.  Mild/bland food is best – applesauce, ice cream, and yogurt are safe to eat and mashed potatoes and mild flavored soups are also acceptable.

How to care for your teeth post-procedure

You may change the gauze pad after surgery if needed. You will want to avoid brushing your teeth, spitting, and rinsing your teeth after the first day. You may want to avoid brushing near the surgery site for 5 days or more, depending on how fast your mouth heals. To avoid infection, you will want to keep your mouth as clean as possible.