Removing wisdom teeth can be a daunting process, but the goal is to have a little upfront pain while the teeth are young to save more pain down the road if the teeth get impacted or start causing other troubles. Your Woodbridge dentist at Woodbridge Kids Dentistry and Orthodontics can help you make the decision about if and when it’s time to get an extraction.
How to Know it’s Time for an Extraction
The most obvious way to tell that it’s time to go in for an extraction is if there’s a lot of pain present in the back of your mouth, where the wisdom teeth are. But not experiencing pain isn’t necessarily a sign that everything is fine. A lot of dentists will recommend removing the wisdom teeth early, before problems can start to avoid larger complications down the line.
The best time to extract the wisdom teeth is during late teens, after the wisdom teeth have appeared and before they have a chance to erupt or impact other teeth with improper growth and placement. Wisdom teeth can cause crowding, which can cause misalignment and pain by shifting properly-growing teeth. However, these teeth may erupt and grow straight, so be sure to ask your dentist if extraction is really necessary if this is the case.
It may still be a good idea to remove wisdom teeth that don’t cause pain, since it can be hard to clean them and they may become a source for plaque and cavities to wreak havoc on your oral health. This set of teeth can also have consequences on surrounding teeth by wearing them down as they grow in.
What is the Process of an Extraction?
An extraction is a surgical procedure, so you can opt for local or general anaesthetic to make the process less painful. When numbed, you should only feel the sensation of pressure and not pain, but after the procedure is done and you’re sent home, the anaesthetic will wear off and you’ll have to be gentle as you recover.
A tooth that is fully erupted and not under the gums can be extracted easily, like pulling out any other tooth. This can be determined in the pre-surgery exam, so if you have wisdom teeth that are under the gum and in the jawbone, they’ll have to be removed in sections to avoid taking out more bone than necessary.
How Long Will it Take to Recover?
Recovery is usually uneventful, but it’s common to have bleeding and swelling for the first 24 hours after the surgery is done and the anaesthetic has worn off. You can bite down on a moist teabag or clean gauze to staunch the bleeding, but avoid dislodging the forming blood clot so you don’t accidentally cause a dry socket to form. Make sure to continue to brush your teeth, gently and not around the teeth next to the extraction site.
After the first day, you can rinse with warm salt water, brush your teeth gently and watch for face swelling that can be improved with a warm, moist towel. You may not fully heal for anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after the procedure, but your dentist will discuss with you what to expect.