When Your Wisdom Teeth Cause Trouble
Our teeth are designed not only to help us bite and chew, but also to help maintain our mouth and jawbone structures. That’s why your dentist will always do everything possible to preserve your natural smile. However, when your wisdom teeth come in, they can cause quite a disruption in your mouth and end up doing more harm than good.
If you’ve been experiencing wisdom tooth pain or other dental issues, we can help. At Western Dental Care, Dr. Santhosh Thomas and the rest of our dental team offer wisdom teeth extractions at our Albany, NY office.
Why We Need To Have Our Wisdom Teeth Removed
The average mouth is meant to hold 28 teeth, and each of those teeth have their own specific function and work cohesively to provide protection and structure to your mouth. When your wisdom teeth emerge, typically in your late teens or early twenties, it forces the rest of your teeth out of alignment to make space for them. This is why most people have trouble with their wisdom teeth right away.
Wisdom teeth extraction is often necessary because of the problems these extra molars can cause.. For example, wisdom teeth are much more likely to become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth come in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. Sometimes, impacted wisdom teeth don’t erupt at all and can even grow completely sideways. This can cause pain as well as a host of other dental issues.
Even if your wisdom teeth emerge normally, we may recommend wisdom teeth removal to avoid future dental issues. That’s because wisdom teeth can reposition themselves at any time, which can quickly lead to impaction and infection.
Symptoms of an Impacted Wisdom Tooth
Sometimes, one or more of your wisdom teeth will grow in such an angle that they never erupt or erupt improperly. Common symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth include:
- Limited jaw function
- Inflamed or bleeding gums
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Halitosis (chronic bad breath)
- Tenderness or pain in the gums and jaw
- Headaches or jaw aches
Regular dental visits with Dr. Thomas can help us identify potential issues with your wisdom teeth before they become impacted. But if you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it’s important to seek immediate treatment by calling us at (518) 456-8040 and scheduling an appointment. Removing an impacted wisdom tooth can prevent major dental problems down the road.
The Wisdom Teeth Extraction Process
Once we have determined that your wisdom teeth need to come out, we will schedule your appointment at our Albany office as soon as possible. Make sure you are able to schedule some time off work and have a safe ride home. The procedure is fairly easy and quite common, but you will most likely experience some discomfort and potential swelling after the procedure.
- First, Dr. Thomas will use either a local anesthetic to numb the area or give you general anesthesia to fully sedate you. This will depend on the complexity of the procedure and your personal preference.
- Next, incisions are made in gum tissue around each wisdom tooth. The tooth is loosened by gripping it tightly and wiggling it back and forth until it can be lifted out of the gums. Sometimes a tooth may be impacted so tightly that it cannot be simply lifted out of the gums. In cases like this, the tooth will be broken up into pieces before being removed.
- Depending on the incision and extraction site, sutures may be needed to close the area. We find that sutures are the best option since they dissolve on their own.
We will go over your aftercare instructions with you before your procedure and encourage you to stay at our office until you are feeling well enough to go home.
Aftercare Tips for Tooth Extraction
After your extraction surgery, you will need to rest. You can expect the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours, please call our Albany, NY office right away.
Rest when you get home, but try not to lie flat, this can prolong the bleeding. Instead, prop your head up on a pillow and try to relax. The elevation will help alleviate excess bleeding and promote better healing.
You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some foods your dentist will likely recommend include:
- Mashed potatoes
- Ice cream
- Thin soups (but make sure they’re not too hot)
- Other foods you can eat without chewing
When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. You will want to limit strenuous exercise and avoid alcohol for a few days as well.
Dr. Thomas may prescribe pain medication for you or recommend over-the-counter medication depending on the severity of your surgery. If your swelling persists, using an ice pack might be helpful. The vast majority of our patients are happy with the results of their extractions and are feeling normal within a few days of the procedure.
Tooth Extraction FAQ
What is the best age for wisdom teeth removal?
For most people, wisdom teeth will erupt between their late teens and early twenties. Many of our patients have their wisdom teeth extracted shortly after they break through. Postponing wisdom tooth extraction may increase the risk of further problems such as damage to the surrounding teeth, infection, and even nerve damage.
Does everybody need to have their wisdom teeth removed?
While the majority of people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point, not everyone will. If your wisdom teeth fully erupt and are not impacting your surrounding teeth, we will not recommend an extraction as long as they are not causing you trouble and you are able to clean the surrounding areas well.
Will my dental insurance cover wisdom teeth extractions?
Usually, dental insurance plans will cover at least a portion of wisdom tooth removal since it is often considered a necessary surgery. Our team can help you determine what will be covered by your particular provider and go over financing options with you, if necessary.