What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom Teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often there is lack of space for their proper eruption and require removal.
What Are The Risks of My Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth can either be fully erupted, partially erupted, or fully impacted. Fully erupted wisdom teeth, if misaligned, can damage adjacent teeth/ gums or cause bite problems. Wisdom teeth that are fully impacted (i.e. enclosed fully with the jawbone) can cause damage to adjacent molars or can develop cysts. The partially erupted wisdom teeth have the most potential for damage. Since it is only partially erupted, it allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, bad breath, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their location makes brushing and flossing difficult, and can have the biggest negative impact on the adjacent tooth.
How Do I Know If I Have Wisdom Teeth?
Ask Dr. Gray or your Dental Hygienist about the positioning of your wisdom teeth. We may take an X-Ray to evaluate for the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth.
Dr. Gray may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.
Before removing a wisdom tooth, Dr. Gray will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed to make it more comfortable for you. 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. We 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, Dr. Gray will open up the gum tissue over the tooth (if required) and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. He will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth. Sometimes Dr. Gray 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. We will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding and healing will begin.
In most cases, the recovery lasts a mere few days.
What Can I Expect?
Dr. Gray will take a panoramic X ray that shows all your teeth and your TMJ in one image. From here, we will discuss with you what is required for the latex free procedures.