Wisdom Teeth 101

Your mouth goes through many changes as you age. Many people are under the impression that teething only happens when you’re a baby, but it can also happen as an adult. When you start to feel swelling in the back of your mouth, don’t be alarmed, it’s your “wisdom teeth” or third molars trying to erupt. These third molars are called “wisdom teeth” due to the fact that they try to surface after the age of 17.

Is Extraction Necessary?

If your wisdom teeth are properly aligned and the gum tissue is healthy, you do not need to remove them. Unfortunately that’s a rare occurrence. As your teeth start to come in, your dentist will monitor your mouth for a variety of reasons:

● To ensure there’s enough room so your wisdom teeth don’t overcrowd your other teeth.

● If your wisdom teeth aren’t in the correct position, it can allow food to become trapped or make flossing difficult, which can give cavity causing bacteria a perfect place to grow.

● Wisdom teeth that have partially erupted can give bacteria a place to enter at your gums, which can lead to pain and swelling.

● Impacted wisdom teeth, which are teeth trapped in your jaw or under your gums, can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This can severely damage the roots of surrounding teeth as well as the bone that supports your teeth.

These warning signs may mean that it’s time for extraction.

What to Expect?

Every patient is different. Not everyone will develop wisdom teeth at the same time and not everyone will experience any symptoms. Wisdom teeth removal has become a common oral surgery. Depending on your case, it can be complicated if your wisdom teeth have not erupted. We will work together to develop a plan regarding local anesthetic and sedation. Please be prepared to have someone drive you home after the procedure. Recovery will take about 5-7 days. In general, for the first 24 hours after extraction you can expect to find:

● Bleeding can occur for several hours after extraction. Place a piece of clean gauze at the extraction site and bite firmly to control the bleeding.

● Antibiotics will be prescribed to prevent infection.

● Pain medication, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, can be taken for minor pain. If necessary, a more potent pain reliever will be prescribed.

● Facial swelling where the tooth was extracted is normal. Ice that area of your face 10 minutes on, 20 minutes off for the first 24 hours to help reduce swelling.

● You should have a liquid diet until all the numbness wears off. After, bananas, mashed potatoes, eggs and other soft foods are good options for a few days.

After 24 hours:

● Rinse area with a salt rinse. Avoid commercial mouth rinses.

● Treat swollen area with heat or a moist warm towel in the affected area with a 20 minute on, 20 minute off schedule. Repeat as necessary.

● If non-dissolving stitches were used, your oral health provider will need to be remove them about one week after surgery.

● Watch out for signs of dry socket. This typically occurs 3-4 days after extraction. Dry socket is when a blood clot has failed to form at the extracted tooth socket area. Pain and a foul odor are symptoms of dry socket.

Schedule an Evaluation

If you’re experiencing any pain or swelling, let Bassett Creek Dental evaluate the positioning of your teeth and wisdom teeth to determine if extraction is right for you. Contact Bassett Creek Dental at 763-546-1301 to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you diagnose the problem and come up with a treatment plan to fit your needs.