When due to extreme destruction of tooth structure, we may recommend an extraction of the tooth. The most common extraction is that of the third molar or wisdom tooth.
If extraction is determined as necessary by the dentist, the area of the extraction will be numbed so that all discomfort is eliminated. Typically, all that the patient will feel is some pressure from the root detaching from the tissue.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars. Normally people have three permanent molars that develop in each quadrant of the mouth; upper, lower, right and left. The first molars usually grow into the mouth at around six years of age. The second molars grow in at around age 12. The third molars usually will try to grow in at around age 18 to 20 years. Since that is considered to be the age when people become wiser, third molars gained the nickname, "wisdom teeth." Actually, they are no different than any other tooth except that they are the last teeth to erupt, or grow into the mouth. They are just as useful as any other tooth if they grow in properly, have a proper bite relationship, and have healthy gum tissue around them. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
What is an impaction?
When wisdom teeth are prevented from erupting into the mouth properly, they are referred to as impacted. Teeth that have not erupted are not necessarily impacted. It may be that it is still too early in someone's dental development, and if time passes they might grow in properly. Dr. Carothers must examine a patient's mouth and his or her x-rays to determine if the teeth are impacted or will not grow in properly. Impacted teeth may cause problems. Impacted teeth can result in infection, decay of adjacent teeth, gum disease or formation of a cyst or tumor from the follicle, which is the tissue which formed the crown of the tooth. It is recommended to remove impacted wisdom teeth to prevent potential problems.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
The following symptoms may indicate that the wisdom teeth have erupted and surfaced, and should be removed before they become impacted-meaning: the teeth have surfaced and have no room in the mouth to grow. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- infection in the mouth
- facial swelling
- swelling of the gum line in the back of the mouth
We recommend that you avoid anything that might prevent normal healing of the extraction site. It is usually best not to smoke or rinse your mouth vigorously, or drink through a straw for 24 hours. These activities could dislodge the clot, create what is called a dry socket and delay healing. For the first few days, if you must rinse, rinse your mouth gently. For pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag. You can brush and floss the other teeth as usual, but don't clean the teeth next to the tooth socket.