Understanding Oral Surgery And Extraction of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
In most cases, wisdom teeth or the third set of molars eventually will require removal usually due to tooth crowding. This is especially true in the case where wisdom teeth are impacted or when they erupt at an angle or only partially. Ultimately, wisdom teeth that are trapped within the gums may eventually result in serious dental health related problems. This can include everything from damaged surrounding teeth to infection and pain. Fortunately, oral surgery and the extraction techniques associated with impacted wisdom teeth removal can produce remarkable results for patients in today’s modern world of dentistry.
The Third Set Of Molars May Remain Completely Impacted
From a diagnostic perspective, the wisdom teeth are in most cases the last teeth to erupt. This usually occurs at around the age of 17 to 25. The American Dental Association reports that wisdom teeth sometimes emerge sideways or only partially. In other cases, the third set of molars may remain completely impacted inside the gums and bone of the patient’s jaw. While there are cases where no signs or symptoms are associated with impacted wisdom teeth, there are other cases where the signs and symptoms are rather obvious. For example, an impacted wisdom tooth or multiple impacted wisdom teeth may be indicated by pain, swelling, red and tender gums or teeth that bleed.
Unpleasant Taste In The Mouth
Also, any time a patient experiences swelling around their jaw or chronic bad breath, this may be an indicator that there is a problem with the wisdom teeth. An unpleasant taste in the mouth may also signify those wisdom teeth are not performing in a healthy or normal way. Also associated with impacted wisdom teeth includes jaw aches or persistent headaches. Occasionally even difficulty related to opening the mouth or swollen lymph nodes in the neck may signify that the wisdom teeth are impacted or erupting abnormally. All of these cases are best handled by meeting with your dental care provider to determine exactly what is happening.
Dental X-Rays Will Confirm
A dental care provider will usually identify impacted wisdom teeth when finding swollen gums or signs of infection. Anytime there is tenderness, redness or drainage there may be clear concern that wisdom teeth have become impacted. In most cases, dental x-rays will confirm the dentist’s suspicion that there may be impacted wisdom teeth at hand. X-rays are also useful in detecting damage to other teeth or the jawbone when wisdom teeth have become impacted. X-rays are quite helpful because they show the precise position of wisdom teeth within the patient’s jaw.
It should be pointed out that there are some cases where impacted wisdom teeth do not require removal. That said more cases than not are typically symptomatic of requiring surgical extraction by a dentist or oral surgeon. This kind of oral surgery is usually done in an outpatient setting. In most cases, local or general anesthesia is used for this type of surgery. The procedure itself involves the surgeon making a small incision in the gums as well as in any bone that may be blocking the impacted tooth. Once the procedure has been completed the incision is stitched closed, and the empty tooth socket is then protected with gauze pads to control bleeding.
As a note, there are some cases where an impacted tooth may be too large to extract in one complete piece. When this is the case particularly when a tooth is coming in at an angle, the surgeon may choose to cut the tooth into smaller pieces using a drill or other similar device. This results in lessened trauma for the patient while allowing the surgeon to take the tooth out in a series of pieces. The goal is to always make the patient as comfortable as possible while ensuring the safest and fastest surgical procedure.
Complications Are Rare
Following surgery, patients are sent home with a list of instructions and modifications to diet intended to promote a rapid and healthy recovery. Patients are also instructed how to deal with postsurgical pain and swelling that is often associated with impacted wisdom tooth surgery. While complications are rare, this type of surgery may cause temporary nerve damage while permanent nerve damage is the unique event. Other minor complications can include infection of the tooth or gum due to trapped food or bacteria. Your dental care provider will monitor your progress closely to ensure that no complications do develop.
Risks Associated With Impacted Wisdom Teeth
As a final note, there are some cases where anesthesia may cause a patient to become nauseous. While most patients handle anesthesia quite well, it should be understood that sometimes people have adverse reactions to anesthesia. Fortunately, there are several options about anesthesia and sedation that can be considered when having this type of surgery performed. Talking with your dental care provider is the best way to make a proper determination in this regard. Patients should keep in mind that there are also risks associated with the non-removal of impacted wisdom teeth. Schedule an appointment with your dental care provider if you believe that you may have an impacted wisdom tooth.