Wisdom Teeth Removal in San Diego

What are Wisdom Teeth?

A wisdom tooth is a third molar that develops behind your other two molars. The teeth typically grow in the upper and lower palate, for a total of four wisdom teeth. Unlike your other adult molars, wisdom teeth don’t grow until you are in your teens or early adulthood. Studies show that the majority of adults have this type 3rd molar. Your wisdom teeth are monitored by your dentist as part of your annual examination. If any of these bottom and top back teeth don’t erupt from your gums properly, you may need to have them removed by an oral surgeon. In some cases, the only concern is that the wisdom teeth aren’t breaking through the gums properly. In these situations, your dentist may recommend an operculectomy. This is a minor procedure to cut away the gums to allow the wisdom teeth to continue growing. The procedure is not only performed to help with erupting wisdom teeth pain, but it is also recommended for people with gingival hyperplasia, a condition that results in gums growing over the back teeth.

What You Should Know About Wisdom Teeth?

Having 3 molar teeth helps you chew better, but mandibular third molars can cause some issues with your oral health. Wisdom teeth dental problems include tooth decay, crowding, and chronic molar pain. Another issue with wisdom teeth is that they grow when most teens are undergoing orthodontic care. Ingrown wisdom teeth interfere with the progress of straightening your teeth. If a horizontal wisdom tooth grows in after you’ve had braces, it can undo all of the orthodontic work that’s been done. Having the third molars removed by an oral surgeon ensures that your jaw is aligned and your teeth stay straight.

Why I Should Have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?

We recommend wisdom teeth removal when an ingrown tooth and related symptoms are noted during your examination. You may have inflamed gums around your wisdom teeth, a condition known as pericoronitis. Another symptom that we monitor for is wisdom tooth pain. Your x-rays may also reveal that you have impacted wisdom teeth that are growing horizontally instead of vertically.

When I Should Have my Wisdom Teeth Removed?

There is no specific age for a wisdom teeth removal. The recommendation is based more on symptoms and your other dental treatment plans. If you are preparing for orthodontic work, we will recommend that you have the impacted wisdom tooth removed before starting orthodontic treatment.

The most common symptoms that we use for our recommendation to have impacted wisdom tooth removal are:

  • Pain related to your other teeth moving
  • Completely bony impacted tooth that has no room to erupt from the gum tissue
  • Toothache in the wisdom teeth or nearby molars
  • Swollen upper or lower gums around the third molars
  • Crooked wisdom tooth coming through the gums

Do Wisdom Teeth Grow Back?

Wisdom teeth are adult teeth that don’t grow back after extraction. Some people have supernumerary teeth that develop after a wisdom teeth removal.

Preparing for Wisdom Tooth Removal

If your oral examination and x-ray show wisdom teeth that are impacted, we outline a treatment plan for the wisdom tooth removal. Extraction of the 3rd molar is more extensive than a dentist removing teeth for decay and other issues. The ingrown wisdom teeth are either entirely or mostly within the gum line, and it are positioned horizontally or diagonally to your jaw bone. This is why the impacted tooth needs to be removed with oral surgery.

We schedule an appointment for your wisdom tooth extraction procedure. We may recommend that you have your teeth cleaned before the procedure, and you may need to take antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection. Because wisdom tooth removal requires sedation or general anesthesia, you will need to have someone drive you to and from the appointment.

Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure

An operation for wisdom teeth extraction involves making incisions in your gums and extracting the impacted tooth. You are given a sedative or general anesthesia, depending on the extent of the tooth removing process. An incision is made in your gums to expose the mandibular third molar. Special dental tools are used to extract the tooth. After removal of the impacted tooth, excess soft tissue is removed, and the incision is closed with sutures. We check for signs of bleeding and put gauze over the area where the mandibular third molar was extracted. In most cases, wisdom teeth surgery takes approximately 45 to 60 minutes. The effects of anesthesia for the extraction may last for a few hours after the procedure.

Pros and Cons of Wisdom Tooth Removal

Pros

One of the benefits of keeping your wisdom teeth is that you can chew your food better. Unfortunately, the effects on your oral health make extraction necessary. Extracting impacted wisdom teeth prevents crowding and shifting of your other teeth. It also helps to ensure that your teeth and gum tissue stays healthy.

Cons

There are some disadvantages of removing wisdom teeth that make some people delay the procedure. Without dental insurance, the cost of wisdom teeth removal may be too high for your budget. Although rare, there are some side effects of removing wisdom teeth, such as downtime, healing time, and risk of infection. Downtime is typically seven to 10 days, and it may take two weeks or longer for the area to heal. Infections may occur if you don’t follow the aftercare instructions carefully. Dry socket is one of the most concerning side effects of removing wisdom teeth.

Aftercare for Wisdom Teeth Removal

You feel well enough to drive after a normal tooth extraction, but driving after a wisdom tooth extraction is not recommended. You will still be experiencing the effects of sedation and general anesthesia. Your mouth is numb for a few hours after the procedure. Facial swelling is normal after the extraction. The gauze that is placed over the extraction site may collect blood, and you will need to change it out regularly.

After care for wisdom tooth extraction involves keeping the area clean, monitoring for signs of infection, and sticking to a soft foods diet. Expect some discomfort for the first three to four days of your wisdom tooth removal recovery. We may prescribe a medication, or you can use a non-prescription medication. The day after your oral surgery, you can return to some light activities, but you will need to avoid anything strenuous for a while. Also avoid smoking, drinking through a straw, and spitting. After the third day, you will start to feel better, but you need to continue with the aftercare instructions. You’ll need to keep the gauze over the area when you aren’t eating and drinking and rinse with salt water several times a day.

Foods to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

After your wisdom teeth removal, you’ll need to change your diet. The best foods to eat after wisdom tooth removal are things that are soft and require no chewing. You may also want to avoid anything that is very cold or hot. Drink straight from the glass or use a spoon. Don’t use straws.

Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Dry socket is a condition that may develop as part of the aftermath of wisdom teeth removal. After any type of tooth extraction, a blood clot forms in the socket. The clot helps the tissues heal, and the clot needs to stay in place. If the blood clot is dislodged from the socket, it increases the risk of infection and pain. This is a condition known as dry socket. Monitor the wound area carefully, and call us right away if you notice any severe pain, unusual taste in your mouth, bleeding, or other signs of dry socket.
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