Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth at the end of the upper and lower gums. Some people just don't develop them, and at sixty or seventy years of age still don't have their wisdom teeth. Referred to as molars, people usually develop four of them, though there are many cases where people have less than four. Wisdom teeth tend to appear between t the ages of 15 to 25, and despite their name, they can cause a lot of problems.

Often there is not enough space at the end of the gums for the wisdom teeth to grow properly. In cases such as these, the wisdom teeth do not grow in a straight line and emerge at an angle to fill whatever space is available at the end of the gums. These wisdom teeth are referred to as "impacted" and can cause a lot of problems for the patient. Symptoms of when the wisdom tooth has developed in this way can include swollen gums around the wisdom tooth and stiffness of the jaw at the end of the mouth. An infection may develop which can result in bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. The patient may suffer from pain and there is a high risk of tooth decay and sometimes even gum disease in the other teeth.

There are four types of "impacted" wisdom teeth that can develop. Mesial impaction; the tooth is angled toward the front of the mouth, vertical impaction;  the tooth does not completely erupt through the gum, horizontal impaction; the tooth grows horizontally and pushes against neighbouring teeth and lastly distal impaction; where the tooth grows backwards and faces the back of the mouth. Distal impaction is the rarest form of an impacted wisdom tooth.

Removing the wisdom tooth is the only solution to relieve the painful symptoms that they sometimes bring. The dentist or oral surgeon concerned will instruct their patient on ways to prepare for the extraction procedure. Smokers will be requested to stop smoking as the smoking increases the risk of developing a wound infection and slows down recovery. The operation is usually done under local anaesthesia and the patient stays awake during the procedure.

During the removal procedure, if the tooth has not come through the gum, a small cut is made over the wisdom tooth. This incision is not required if the tooth has emerged partially or fully out of the gums. A small piece of bone which covers the tooth may be removed and the tooth is broken into smaller parts to make it easier to extract  through the incision. Self-dissolving stitches are used to suture the incisions.

After the surgery, the dentist will advise their patient on the proper gum and tooth treatment once at home. Painkillers, antibiotics and mouthwash may be administered to the patient depending on the situation. The self-dissolving stitches usually disappear within 10 days. The patient is also advised to eat only soft foods and their usual diet is only recommended when the jaw feels less stiff.

Patients rarely suffer from bleeding after the tooth is removed, but if this should be the case, the patient should contact their dentist immediately. Bleeding that does not stop after applied pressure, if it lasts longer than a half an hour, difficulty in breathing, high temperature and pain where the painkillers are not helping can be serious and should be looked at by the dentist.

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