What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars, usually the last four of 32 teeth to surface in the mouth when you are between the ages of 17 to 25.
They are called ‘Wisdom Teeth’ because it was thought that they appeared at the same time as the person reached maturity or ‘wisdom’.
Wisdom teeth become problematic when there is not sufficient space in the mouth for the teeth to erupt and function normally. The tooth may then become impacted in a damaging position. If untreated, this can lead to infection, damage to other teeth and even cysts and tumours.
Why remove Wisdom Teeth?
Your dentist may recommend extraction if you are suffering from pain, swelling, decay, infection or if as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future which can include:
Damage to nearby teeth: - tooth decay, gum disease and possible bone loss.
Disease:- Not usual however cysts and tumours can occur in areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
Infection:- Bacteria can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in infection causing serious pain.
Tooth crowding:- Impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become overcrowded or twisted
What happens when you have a Wisdom Tooth / Teeth Removed
Before removing a wisdom tooth, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time. A general anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will cause you to sleep through the procedure. Your dentist will probably recommend that you don't eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery so that you are prepared for the anesthetic.
To remove the wisdom tooth, your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. He or she will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth. Sometimes the dentist will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.
What To Expect After Surgery
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. The following tips will help speed your recovery.
• Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
• While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
• Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
• Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat-such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out-for the following 2 or 3 days.
• Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
• Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
•Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
•After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water.
• Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. Also, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgery area.
• Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
• Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.