Of the many services dentists provide, tooth extraction is among the most frequent. There are various reasons why this treatment may be necessary. Though it can be difficult to have missing teeth, removing one can be beneficial for some conditions. If your dentist has recommended that you undergo this procedure, it is helpful to first…
How Common is a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Each year, about five million people undergo wisdom tooth extraction surgery. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grows during the teens or 20s. While some people do not need to have them removed, many others do. Whether you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted depends on your mouth's specific anatomy and your dentist's recommendation.
Reasons to remove wisdom teeth
The all-encompassing reason that people have their wisdom teeth removed is that the teeth will not have enough room to fit comfortably in the mouth. Because they are so far back in the mouth, the teeth are trapped between the gums and the jawbone, causing pain. They may also come in at the wrong angle, pressing hard into other teeth, which can cause the other teeth to shift forward and become misaligned. Wisdom teeth are often too far back in the mouth to be easily reached with a toothbrush, making it hard to clean them well. As a result, they often develop cavities or gum disease, resulting in the need for wisdom tooth extraction.
What to expect during wisdom tooth removal
For many, awaiting the day of a wisdom tooth removal surgery is stressful and causes fear. It helps to understand what to expect.
During the procedure
During the procedure, the dentist provides one of three types of anesthesia.
- General anesthesia – The patient loses consciousness, and the surgical team closely monitors the patient while the dentist performs the procedure.
- Local anesthesia – This is the most common. The patient is awake during the procedure and will feel pressure but no pain.
- Sedation anesthesia – This suppresses the patient's consciousness. The patient will not feel pain and will not have many memories of the procedure.
After anesthesia is administered, the dentist makes an incision in the gum tissue to expose the bone. He then removes the bone blocking the root of the tooth, removes the tooth, and cleans the site to remove any debris. The wound may be stitched to promote healing before he places gauze over the area to help a blood clot form.
After the procedure
After the procedure, the patient will likely experience some bleeding for the first 24 hours. Avoid spitting too much, as it could dislodge the clot. Replace the gauze when necessary and as directed by the dentist. The dentist will likely also recommend pain management options in the form of over-the-counter pain medication or prescription medication. Cold packs may also ease the pain. Many patients will also have some cheek swelling and bruising for up to three days. Drinking lots of water and avoiding alcohol, caffeine, carbonation, and hot beverages is help for the healing process. Avoid straws for at least a week. Plan to relax for the rest of the day after the procedure. Returning to work or other activities is acceptable the day after, but avoid strenuous exercise for at least seven days.
Not all patients will need a wisdom tooth extraction. However, if you feel pain, notice your teeth seem to be shifting, or simply want to know what the best course of treatment is, talk to your dentist.
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