Wisdom Tooth Removal
teeth may become a problem for you as they grow and develop in each
corner of your mouth. Since development normally spans several years,
problems often develop gradually. Nevertheless, these gradual changes
can cause sudden and severe pain. Understanding why such things can
happen may help you to deal with such problems, or better still, to
encourage you to take preventive measures before they occur. And the
primary preventive measure for wisdom teeth is removal, preferably at
an early stage.
The jawbone grows to approximately its adult size by your late
teens. Unfortunately, that size is often too small to hold developing
wisdom teeth. This happens because our jaws are smaller than those of
early humans, who needed large jaws and more teeth for their tougher
When there is not enough room for your wisdom teeth, they may become
impacted, or partially trapped in the jawbone and gums. The crown, or
top of the tooth, may erupt, or just break through the gum, or it may
remain completely within the bone. The roots can grow in unusual
directions and may cause a variety of problems in your mouth and with
your sinus cavity or the nerve in your lower jaw.
A wisdom tooth may grow toward your other teeth, away from them,
or even in horizontal or vertical positions. When such conditions
occur, it's far simpler and less painful to have them removed early,
before they have a chance to firmly anchor in your jaw as the teeth
grow and the roots lengthen.
Not everyone has problems with their wisdom teeth. Factors that
determine whether you will have problems include the size of your jaw
and how your wisdom teeth grow in. There may be pain and swelling, or
you may have no symptoms at all, even though the other teeth in your
mouth may be at risk of damage. In addition to actual pain, common
problems caused by wisdom teeth can include gum disease, crowding,
decay, poor position, and cysts.
Since it is not practical for most people to evaluate how their
wisdom teeth are developing, the best approach is to visit your dentist
or an oral surgeon such as Dr. Aminpour for an evaluation. He will
review your dental history, take dental X-rays, and perform an
examination to determine the general health of your mouth and the
condition of your wisdom teeth. If a problem with your wisdom teeth is
detected, he may recommend surgery to remove them and eliminate or
avoid any unpleasant symptoms. Early removal is best for most patients,
as it usually helps to avoid much more serious problems later on.
How and where your wisdom teeth are removed depends on several
factors, including whether your wisdom teeth are erupted or impacted
and how deep the roots are. Surgery may often be done in your dentist's
or oral surgeon's office rather than in a surgical center or hospital.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will review the recommended procedure with
you so that you will fully understand and be comfortable with the
procedure before it is done. You will also be given information about
eating, medication, rest, driving, and other considerations before
surgery as well as after.
After surgery, you will rest while under close observation as you
recover from the anesthetic. You normally will be able to go home once
your doctor is satisfied with your recovery.
The healing process begins immediately after surgery as your body
sends blood to nourish the tooth socket. Simple pressure from a piece
of gause is usually all that is needed to control the bleeding and to
help a blood clot to form in the socket, which promotes healing. Within
a day or two, soft tissue begins to fill in the socket, aided by the
blood clot. Eventually, the bone surrounding the socket begins to grow,
eventually filling in the socket completely.
As your mouth heals, you can promote faster healing and avoid
complications by simply following the care instructions that your
dentist or oral surgeon will give you. While you may experience some
discomfort as your mouth heals, following simple instructions will
normally be all that is needed. However, you should call your doctor if
you experience excessive bleeding or swelling, persistent and severe
pain, fever, or any reaction to medications. A follow-up examination
may also be scheduled to make sure that the socket is healing properly
and that your mouth is returning to a normal, healthy state.