An oral health blog post from our Capitol Hill, WA, dental team
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that, for most people, develop in their late teens or early twenties. For some, wisdom teeth aren’t a problem: They develop normally and are accommodated by ample room in the mouth. For most, however, wisdom teeth development can lead to a number of unwanted symptoms and oral health concerns. This occurs due to a common phenomenon called wisdom tooth impaction, whereby wisdom teeth become “impacted” and do not erupt properly. This can lead to symptoms of pain and can cause a number of structural concerns for surrounding teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can occur in several different ways — each of which necessitate wisdom teeth removal . In this guide, our dental professionals here at Zen Dental Center outline the signs and symptoms that suggest it may be time to your have wisdom teeth removed. Read on to learn more, and contact our Capitol Hill, WA, dental team at (206) 324-1100 today!
Do you need your wisdom teeth removed? Look for these signs
Wondering whether you need your wisdom teeth removed? The best way to find out is to schedule an appointment for X-ray imaging with your dentist. Unfortunately, even impacted wisdom teeth do not manifest signs and symptoms until very late in their development, which is why scheduling X-rays with your dental care provider can help you identify the problem and set up a date for removal before things get worse. In the event you are experiencing symptoms and believe they may be due to impacted wisdom teeth, here’s what to look out for:
- Jaw pain and stiffness: These symptoms can indicate improper eruption early on and should be followed up with X-ray imaging to determine whether impacted wisdom teeth are the culprits.
- Pain at the tooth site: If you’re experiencing pain around the area of your wisdom teeth (even if you can’t see wisdom teeth themselves), this is likely an indication that your wisdom teeth are impacted.
- Swelling in the gum tissue: Feeling like you’re teething again? Noticing swelling around your gums? Your wisdom teeth may be trying to erupt. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine whether removal is the right course of action.
- Evidence of gum disease at the back of the mouth: In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to gum infection. If you or your dentist notices evidence of gum disease in the back of your mouth, it may be time to schedule imaging to find out in impacted wisdom teeth are to blame.
To schedule imaging and/or removal surgery, call (206) 324-1100 today!
After doing all he or she can to save your broken or severely decayed tooth, your dentist has decided that it has to come out. A tooth extraction may be your best option, but it still is a bit nerve-wracking to think about, so here are several things you can do to prepare for your upcoming procedure.
Find out everything you need to know ahead of time
Asking questions right before the dentist or oral surgeon extracts your tooth is probably not a good time, so make sure you have all of the information you need prior to the appointment. Questions you should ask may include
•Why does your tooth need to be extracted?
•What types of anesthesia are available?
•How long should the procedure take?
•Is the procedure complicated?
•Will other dental procedures be necessary at a later date?
•What are the potential risks?
•How long is the recovery process?
Preparing for the procedure
Before the tooth extraction can be done, your oral surgeon will need a complete medical history, including any medications you are taking or if you have allergies or other health issues. You may be prescribed antibiotics to prevent infection, and you may want to make arrangements for someone to drive you to and from the appointment.
During the procedure
When you arrive for the procedure, the dental team will help you get comfortable and answer any lingering questions. Before pulling your tooth, your dentist or oral surgeon will give you an injection of a local anesthetic or a general anesthetic to put you to sleep, depending on your preferences and the extent of the procedure.
If your procedure is a simple extraction, then the dentist will loosen your tooth with a tool called an elevator and remove it with forceps.
If the tooth is impacted (below the gum line), the oral surgeon will cut away the gum and bone tissue covering the tooth, grasp the tooth with forceps, and loosen it from the jaw bone. Sometimes, a tooth must be removed in pieces.
Once the tooth has been pulled, a blood clot usually forms in the socket and the surgeon will pack gauze into the wound and have you bite down to slow the bleeding. The surgeon may also stitch up the wound, if necessary.
After your procedure, you will definitely need to take it easy and get plenty of rest. Recovery usually takes a couple of days. Follow these tips to help speed up the recovery process and minimize your discomfort:
•Take painkillers as prescribed.
•Change your gauze pads before they become blood soaked.
•Apply an ice bag to the affected area for 10 minutes immediately following the procedure.
•Relax for at least 24 hours and limit activities for a day or two.
•Avoid rinsing or spitting for 24 hours to prevent the clot in the socket from dislodging.
•After 24 hours, rinse your mouth with a solution made of ½ teaspoon salt and 8 ounces of warm water.
•Eat soft foods a first, and then gradually add solid foods back to your diet as the wound heals.
•Brush and floss regularly, avoiding the wound area to help prevent infection.
If you have questions or concerns about your upcoming tooth extraction, contact the friendly and knowledgeable team at Zen Dental . We utilize the latest tools and techniques to ensure a smooth and effective tooth extraction, so give us a call today!
Call (206) 324-1100 for more helpful tips for preparing for your tooth extraction!