Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Roughly 5 million Americans have had their wisdom teeth removed, resulting in a cost of $3 billion every year.

It’s likely that you are one of the Americans who has received this common surgery. If so, a dentist probably pulled your wisdom teeth because they were obstructing the health of the rest of your teeth. The wisdom teeth are the last of our grown-up teeth to develop, and they are commonly removed during our teens and early adulthood. For some patients, wisdom teeth surface without any complications or difficulties. For others, dental problems and painful symptoms follow the emergence of these teeth.

A wisdom tooth can be fully or partially impacted. A partially impacted wisdom tooth means that only some of the crown is exposed, while a fully impacted wisdom tooth means that it has failed to emerge through the patient’s gums. Also, wisdom teeth don’t always grow in straight. They have been known to grow in upside down, at an angle, or even backward.

Difficulties Brought About By Wisdom Teeth

Third molars, similarly known as impacted wisdom teeth, rupture at the back of the mouth and form abnormally because there is no room for them to develop. There are some cases where the third molars do not cause any ache or trouble; however, since these teeth are more difficult to clean, they tend to be more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay compared to the rest of the teeth. Oral surgeons will always get rid of impacted wisdom teeth that are causing problems for the patient, and they will also recommend removing the wisdom teeth that aren’t currently causing pain under the precaution that there will be issues in the future.

So what sorts of discomfort is associated with impacted wisdom teeth? Here’s a rundown of some symptoms you might deal with:

▪ Gums that bleed or swell
▪ Swelling and pain at the jaw
▪ Trouble opening the mouth
▪ Bad breath

When wisdom teeth grow in, they can cause further damage to the surrounding teeth. Orthodontic treatment methods might be called for if the incoming wisdom teeth push the other molars forward and cause overcrowding. There is also a possibility of developing a tumor in the mouth– though it is uncommon– and this develops because the wisdom tooth can grow in a fluid-filled sac in the jawbone. This leads to a cyst forming in the mouth. If this happens, the oral surgeon might just have to get rid of the surrounding bone and tissue. As we mentioned previously, wisdom teeth are challenging to maintain because they are located in the back of the mouth. Along with tooth decay, patients are also at risk of developing an inflammatory gum issue referred to as pericoronitis for these very same reasons.

A Routine Treatment

The oral surgeon will often remove all four wisdom teeth at once, but they might choose to do a few teeth at a time depending upon their or the patient’s preferences. The patient will undergo general anesthesia to reduce the amount of irritation they might feel during the surgery. Depending on the number of teeth that are being extracted, this procedure can last anywhere from one to several hours. The most frequent negative side effects of wisdom teeth removal are swelling and bleeding at the site of the surgery. These can possibly be managed at home with gauze and ice packs, but if these side effects remain, it is wise to talk to the performing surgeon.

Arguments Against Wisdom Tooth Extraction

A few people claim that removing wisdom teeth is unnecessary and is ultimately a way for dentists to charge significant amounts of money to their patients. Jay W. Friedman, DDS, MPH, has published an article clarifying this point of view and the beliefs that go along with the eruption of wisdom teeth in developing patients. Needless to say, the choice to go ahead with wisdom teeth removal or to decide against it is effectively up to the patient. On the other hand, we encourage our patients to make an educated examination of their pain and to get in touch with Dr. Hodges for advice when it comes to figuring out the seriousness of impaction.

Patients can schedule an appointment online or they can contact the Northeast Texas Periodontal Specialists office in Rockwall, TX at (972)771-8640 or the Paris, TX office at (903)785-4832. Are you a new patient? You can find an overview of your first appointment here. See you soon!