If you still have your wisdom teeth, call Hawaiian Island Dental to schedule an appointment and find out if you need to have them extracted. This is an important step to take because not everyone does. If your wisdom teeth are growing in straight and are not impacted, they can often remain in place without causing you any additional discomfort or concern. To find out, we will conduct a physical examination and take X-rays to determine their position.
Why wisdom teeth are removed:
In many cases, there is not enough room in the mouth for this third set of molars. They will push forward and put pressure on the other teeth or become impacted. This is a worst-case scenario because an impacted tooth will cause discomfort and create a small space that traps food.
Many wisdom teeth and back molars experience decay or become infected as a result. When this happens, we typically remove the wisdom tooth and restore the back molar. However, by this time, patients will experience unnecessary discomfort. Therefore, if the wisdom teeth are impacted, it can be better to have them extracted ahead of time.
If the patient needs a wisdom teeth extraction, then there are two ways the procedure can go. If the teeth come in straight, then we can pull them just like any tooth. If the teeth grow in impacted, then we will need to create a flap in the gum tissue so we can access the tooth. Sometimes, there is tissue and bone on top that will need to be cut away first.
Once complete, we will grasp the tooth and lift it out of the socket. If the tooth is particularly stubborn, we may need to cut it into smaller pieces and remove one piece at a time. Afterward, we will clean the area and suture the flap of gum tissue back in place. We will do all of this with the patient under anesthesia, so the patient does not experience any discomfort during the process.
Once we complete the procedure, patients can expect to be sore for a few days. Patients may also experience some swelling. Both can be controlled by taking ibuprofen and placing a cold compress on the face for 15 minutes at a time. Patients will also want to be careful with what they eat. We recommend sticking with soft foods like yogurt and oatmeal until the swelling has gone down and the gums and jaw are no longer sore. We will typically have patients come in for a follow-up appointment to ensure everything is healing properly.
At that time, we can let you know if you are clear to resume a normal diet. In general, the recovery process should not last any longer than a week and the worst of it only for a day or two. Plan on taking the first two days off of work if possible and then maintaining light activities for a week afterward (do not go out and play basketball, in other words).
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