Wisdom Tooth Extractions: Why And How

Excerpt: Wisdom teeth signify impending maturity and adulthood; however they have also become synonymous with suffering and pain.

The emergence of wisdom teeth signifies impending maturity and the arrival of adulthood however, they can bring with them the onset of significant pain and lasting discomfort. Modern dentistry has developed efficient techniques to remove wisdom teeth making their extraction common, routine, and most importantly – safe. 

When wisdom teeth do not successfully emerge through the gums completely or are growing in sideways they are described as being impacted. With the help of x-ray images, our dentists can determine if a tooth or teeth are impacted and require extraction. When impacted wisdom teeth are not extracted, they carry with them the risk of complications such as becoming decayed in the future (due to the difficulty in keeping them clean) and causing the teeth in front of them to become decayed as well. When faced with the prospect of more than just your wisdom teeth being affected by leaving them in, many people choose to have them removed. For those individuals that choose to keep impacted wisdom teeth in place, here are some of the conditions or problems that can develop:

Benign Cysts and Growths

In very rare cases, a wisdom tooth that has not emerged through the gum tissue develops a cyst. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the jaw bone and soft tissue over the top of a tooth that has not pushed through the gum tissue. While these cysts are mostly benign, if left untreated, they can lead to complications such as infection. 

Abscess

In this condition, pus collects around the wisdom teeth and/or the surrounding tissue due to a bacterial infection. 

Cellulitis

Is a bacterial infection that occurs in the throat, tongue or cheek. 

Pericoronitis

Is a swelling and infection of the gum tissue around the wisdom teeth that usually appears in the late teens or early twenties. Pericoronitis is most commonly caused by plaque accumulations around the lower wisdom teeth.

Gum Disease

Gum disease or periodontal disease happens when plaque releases toxins that are harmful to your gums. Toxins can make your gums painful, red and swollen. Periodontal disease can also harm the bone surrounding around any teeth including the wisdom teeth.

Tooth Decay

This occurs when plaque starts to deteriorate the surface of your tooth. As tooth decay advances, it leaves cavities (a hole) in the tooth, which can affect other nearby teeth as well.

A number of the above issues can be treated simply through the use of antibiotics and/or antiseptic mouthwashes. Wisdom tooth extraction is only recommended when no other treatment is viable or likely to render good, long-term results.

How Wisdom Teeth Are Removed?

The dentists at Smiles Dental Group use local anesthetic and/or nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to fully control pain and discomfort during the extraction process. Complex extractions occasionally require additional steps (such as removing small amounts of bone to better access the tooth or sectioning the tooth to remove it in pieces) Regardless of the technique utilized, closing the extraction site with stitches (if necessary) and achieving hemostasis (halting the bleeding from the extraction site) will be accomplished before the procedure is considered to be complete. 

The vast majority of wisdom tooth extractions are routine and uneventful (taking only a few minutes per tooth, once you have had the specific care instructions relayed to you – it is time for you to go home and rest

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