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Wisdom Teeth Extraction

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 18 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Wisdom teeth are four additional teeth, often referred to as third molars, which grow at the back of the mouth, two on the upper jaw and two on the bottom. The wisdom teeth will usually appear from around the age of 15 to 25, and if problems occur with the molars, such as crowding of the teeth, then extraction of the wisdom teeth may be necessary.

Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

One of the common reasons for wisdom teeth extraction is inadequate space; there may not be enough room on your jaw to allow the teeth to fully erupt. If this is the case then the wisdom teeth may become impacted and unable to break through the gum. Impacted teeth can lead to other problems, such as gum infection and damage to adjoining teeth.

Wisdom teeth that do not erupt fully can become covered with gum tissue; food can easily become lodged here and the bacteria will then cause infection. Other problems may include the wisdom teeth growing in backwards or pushing through the side of the gum. All these problems can be easily treated by wisdom teeth extraction.

Symptoms due to problems with Wisdom Teeth

If wisdom teeth do become impacted then some symptoms will usually be noticeable. The symptoms will vary from person to person, but the more common symptoms will include some form of facial swelling, a degree of pain, swelling to the gum area at the back of the mouth, and in some cases, infection. If the impacted teeth are left untreated more serious conditions can occur including cysts, tumour development, and jaw and gum disease.

The Best Age for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

If problems do occur with wisdom teeth it is likely they will happen between the ages of 15 and 25; problems with wisdom teeth do not usually occur past this age. The younger the person is, the easier the extraction should be. From the teenage years until around the early 20s the roots of the wisdom are still not fully developed and will be easier for the dentist to extract. There will also be less chance of fracturing the jaw bone, this can happen when the jaw bone is dense and the roots are deeply set.

The Wisdom Teeth Extraction Procedure

The wisdom teeth extraction procedure will be performed either by your dentist in his office or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. The procedure may also be performed in a dental hospital; this is usual if all four wisdom teeth are being removed. Depending on the number of teeth to be extracted, a local or general anaesthetic will be given; a general anaesthetic is usually given if more than one tooth is to be extracted. Dentists usually recommend that you do not eat or drink the night before surgery to allow sedation to properly take effect.

The dentist will begin the procedure by cutting away any gum tissue that is covering the impacted tooth, any bone that is covering the tooth will also then need to be removed. The tissue that connects the tooth to the bone will be removed and the wisdom tooth can then be removed. To make the tooth extraction easier the dentist may cut the tooth into small pieces, this can also save damage to the jawbone if teeth are more deeply embedded.Stitches to the operated area may be required and these will either be dissolvable or will need to be removed by the dentist. Finally, gauze will be placed over the area to help prevent bleeding.

Complications Post Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Problems after an extraction are rare but do sometimes occur. After the extraction it will not be uncommon to feel a degree of pain once the anaesthetic has worn off, and there will usually be swelling and bleeding to the gum area for around 24 hours. An infection called “dry socket” may happen when the blood clot in the empty socket does not form; this is easily remedied by placing medicated gauze onto the socket area. If a high fever occurs after treatment, or there is irregular swelling, then a dental visit may be necessary.

Not everyone will need their wisdom teeth extracted; many people live quite happily with wisdom teeth that have not fully erupted. But if you are suffering from problems with wisdom teeth then it is advantageous to have them removed as early as possible. Extracted wisdom teeth will stop infection occurring, allow other teeth to develop properly, and prevent any future complications that can occur due to impacted wisdom teeth.

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