Wisdom teeth are the last set of permanent teeth that emerge in your mouth. Most individuals experience this growth while they are 17 to 21 years of age. The growth may prove problematic if your mouth has no more room to accommodate the set of four permanent teeth, either in your upper or lower jaw. The growth may result in pain, infection, and other dental issues. Should your dentist spot this issue, they will recommend teeth extraction as a solution. It is best to understand the wisdom teeth extraction process and the issues you should note before, during, and after the procedure. If you are in Lomita and need a wisdom tooth extraction, do visit Washington Dental.
Understanding Wisdom Teeth
As mentioned above, wisdom teeth are the last of the adult teeth to emerge. Their development does not always result in complications. Some people’s wisdom teeth erupt normally as their earlier molars did. However, some will experience partial eruption, while others, the eruption will be painful since there is little or no more room in the jaws.
Signs that Point to Wisdom Teeth Eruption Problems
It is normal to experience some mild pain as new teeth develop. However, persistent pain coupled with other signs could signal wisdom teeth complications. It is best to be on the lookout for the following:
- Mouth or gum sores
- Receding gums
- Shifting or loose teeth
- Tooth sensitivity
- Cracked or broken tooth
- Gum or cheek swelling
- Persistent dry mouth
- Damaged crown, filling, or bridge
- Difficulty opening your mouth
While the signs would indicate another issue, it is best to contact your dentist should you experience any of the above symptoms. Your dentist will schedule an x-ray as it is the surest way to identify wisdom teeth complications.
An x-ray is performed to determine the culprits, their position, and the impact on neighboring teeth.
An affected wisdom tooth may:
Grow At An Angle Towards The Back Of Your Mouth
Owing to overcrowding in your mouth, the only direction the wisdom teeth may have is to grow facing the back of your mouth. This will result in discomfort, especially when chewing food. Further, if left unattended, the positioning could affect teeth that erupt in the future, misalign the teeth, or cause tender gums.
Grow Straight Up Or Down Like Other Teeth
Wisdom teeth may erupt normally and remain trapped in the jawline. In this case, your nerves and gums will be affected, thus causing excruciating pain.
Grow At An Angle Towards The Second Molar Or Other Teeth
Eruption of the wisdom teeth and their subsequent development at an angle will push against the other teeth. The experience is painful. The angular eruption and development may cause root canal damage to the neighboring tooth or shift the tooth from its normal position.
While pain is the predominant consequence of wisdom tooth growth complications, it is not the only one. Other adverse consequences that inform the need for wisdom teeth extraction include:
- Damage to the surrounding jawbone or tooth
- Trapped food or debris behind the emerging wisdom tooth
- Infection that could result in periodontal disease
- Decay of the partially erupted tooth
- Development of a cyst around the wisdom tooth — The cysts are sometimes sterile. In other cases, they do contain infectious bacteria.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The complications resulting from the wrong development of wisdom teeth will be remedied by extracting the impacted teeth. The extraction is a surgical procedure that will involve making an incision in the gum tissue to remove the tooth/teeth. When done right by a qualified specialist, the process will be complication-free. However, some do develop complications. They are rare but worth pointing out.
- The operation could result in damage to the neighboring teeth, jawbone, or nerves.
- The socket could fill up with food particles or debris — If not addressed, the socket could be a breeding ground for infectious bacteria.
- A painfully dry pocket
Your dentist, in most cases, will refer you to an oral surgeon who will oversee the extraction. The procedure is sensitive and will be smooth in the right hands.
Preparations Before Surgery
Calm is key in the procedure, and your dentist or oral surgeon is well aware of this. They will engage you in a conversation from which the information they gather will inform their decision on how to conduct the procedure, the time the procedure will be done, and the risks they are likely to face.
During this appointment, talk about your medical history and the list of drugs you consume regularly. The question of the anesthesia ideal for your situation will come up. You can either be numb or asleep during the procedure. Ask questions at this stage. Here are a few issues you can use to inform your questioning.
The Number Of Wisdom Teeth That Will Be Extracted
The x-ray shows the number of impacted teeth, thus informing the dentist on how many teeth require removal. Removing all wisdom teeth in one session may prove costly to you because it’s an unplanned cost. However, with insurance coverage, you need not worry.
If you’re not insured, it may seem prudent to space the teeth removal through several appointments. However, the accumulated cost of the visits to the dentists added to the cost of the procedures increases your costs significantly. It may not be a cheaper alternative as you initially thought.
It is cheaper to have all the impacted teeth extracted in one session. Further, you will spend less time recovering from the surgery and the resulting discomfort the procedure brings.
Length of The Procedure
Wisdom teeth extraction procedures take no more than 45 minutes. Several factors affect how long the procedure runs for. Some of the factors include:
- The number of teeth that require extraction
- Complications that arise during the procedure
- The difficulty of the procedure
Knowing the length of time the procedure will run for is pivotal when planning the rest of your day and the person who will take you home after the procedure.
The Risk Of Nerve Damage
Nerve damage is a rare occurrence. However, your dentist will address this question because it is a concern that informs many people’s apprehension about the extraction procedure.
The trigeminal and the inferior alveolar nerves are the nerves at risk. A wrong incision or bruising of the nerves could result in the loss of sensation of your tongue, chin, and lower lip. If the nerves are bruised, the loss of sensation will be temporary. The sensation will be restored naturally after the bruising heals. However, nerve cuts are permanent, which will cause the loss of sensation to remain permanent.
While the risk of nerve damage is alarming, the risk is low for correctly done procedures. Therefore, engage experienced surgeons, some of whom are ready to serve you at Washington Dental.
How Complicated the Procedure Will Be
Most extraction procedures are relatively straightforward. The complexity arises due to the following reasons.
- The number of impacted teeth
- Their positioning — Much of the complexity involved in removing the teeth is based on their positioning in the jawbone. Therefore, it is easier to extract erupted teeth compared to impacted wisdom teeth.
- Tooth angulation — Three different angulations affect the ease of extraction. Vertical/upright facing teeth and mesioangular/leaning forward teeth are easy to remove. Horizontal/sideway leaning teeth and distoangular/backward tilted teeth are more complex to extract.
- Teeth depth — Calculation of the depth is done through the x-ray examination.
- Root’s anatomy — Wisdom teeth have multiple roots, and there is a variation in how each is shaped. Upper teeth have three roots, while lower molars have two. In their differing variation, some teeth could have irregular curvature or contours. Others could have fused roots.
- The difficulty of the approach the oral surgeon will have to use
All these will be determined by the surgeon’s assessment of your x-ray.
The Extent Of Damage, If Any, The Wisdom Teeth Have Has On The Other Teeth
On your own, you may feel like the wisdom teeth affected the neighboring teeth. The adjacent teeth could be loose when you touch it, it could be painful, or you could have noticed a crack. Your dentist will assess the impact of the wisdom teeth on adjustment teeth. However, it doesn’t hurt to bring up these issues during your conversations.
How Long It Would Take To Heal After The Procedure
Most people recover within 3 to 4 days. Some may take more than a week. Within the first 24 hours, the numbness will be gone, and blood clots will form. You will experience pain and swelling, all part of the healing process. Two to three days later, the pain and the swelling should go down. It is at this stage that the risk of a dry socket is highest. Therefore, hydrate.
Four to seven days after the surgery, you may experience jaw pain. The pain is normal and should dissipate soon after. Do not also be alarmed when you notice bruising and jaw stiffness. Both are after-effects of the surgery. The jaw stiffness should dissipate eight to ten days, while the bruising should fade eleven to fourteen days later.
The socket should close in three to four weeks, and after that, the wound should heal.
The Treatment You Would Require During The Healing Process
You will receive a prescription of the drugs to use. However, you can inquire about the home remedies you can use as part of the treatment.
Once you have your appointment scheduled, it is best to inform your loved ones, especially those who will accompany you to and from the dentist’s office on the day of the procedure. It is advisable to have someone take you home because you could be drowsy, dazed, or confused, all typical after-effects of the anesthesia.
What to Expect During Surgery
Wisdom teeth extraction procedures usually take 45 minutes or less, and the procedure starts with the administration of anesthesia. The choice is informed by the comfort level you prefer and the complexity of the procedure. Dentists can choose either of the following options:
- General anesthesia — It is administered through an IV line or as an inhalant administered through your nose. Once administered, you will be put to sleep and remain so during the procedure. General anesthesia also helps with post-operative discomfort.
- Local anesthesia — Dentists administer local anesthesia through an injection in the region close to the extraction site. Your dentist will numb the region prior to administering the injection for you not to feel any pain. You will be awake during the entire procedure, unlike those who are under general anesthesia.
- Sedation — Sedation is mostly administered through an IV in your arm. Patients experience moderate to borderline unconscious states once administered. You will experience no pain during the procedure, and like patients to whom general anesthesia was administered, you will have no recollection of the procedure.
Upon administering the anesthesia, the oral surgeon will make an incision to the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone. After that, he/she will take out the bone that affected the tooth from emerging. The tooth/teeth will be cut into small pieces to aid in its complete removal.
The extraction site needs to remain clean. Therefore, the surgeon will remove all debris from the site, clean it up and stitch up the wound. He/she will then place a gauze on the extraction site to control bleeding and promote clotting.
After the Surgery
Everyone reacts differently after the surgery. However, the expectation is that if you had local anesthesia administered, you will be allowed to resume your regular schedule once you are alert. If you are under general anesthesia or are drowsy, you will need someone to take you home.
Most people experience little to no pain after the surgery. You will, however, experience a few days of discomfort and swelling, but that’s normal. It is important to follow your dentist’s guidance to fast-track your healing. Here are a few tips we recommend you follow after surgery.
Dealing With Bleeding
Expect some degree of bleeding after the surgery. Bleeding can continue a day or two after the surgery. Technically, the bleeding is blood with a lot of saliva. Biting on the gauze should control the bleeding.
Avoid excessive spitting and change the gauze as directed by your dentist. Doing so will maintain the blood clot in the socket.
Swelling and Bruising
Swelling and bruising are expected. The swelling should subside after two to three days, and an ice pack helps. Use the pack as directed by your dentist. Bruising, on the other hand, takes more than three days to heal. The bruising may cause a discoloration of the skin on the side the surgery was performed. The discoloration may be evident 36 hours after the procedure. Moist heat applied on the affected area of the skin should clear the discoloration.
Managing Your Pain
Your pain is best managed by the use of the prescribed pain meds and an ice pack. Ensure you consult your dentist if you need additional pain meds or a change if the recommended drugs are ineffective.
Some may suggest using Aspirin for the pain. Do not use the drug. Aspirin is a known blood thinner. Therefore, it will prevent clotting and ultimately lengthen your recovery.
Ensure You Rest
It is advisable to take the rest of the day off after the surgery. Resume your activities the following day and in the coming days, take it easy. Avoid strenuous work that may compromise your socket’s healing.
Eat Soft Foods
For the first 24 hours post-surgery, go for soft foods. After the 24 hours, progressively incorporate foods you can tolerate. Avoid hard, spicy, or chewy foods until the socket completely heals. Aim for nutritious foods. While your list of food choices may reduce, the following options are viable alternatives.
Broths, especially bone broths, are rich in minerals and vitamins. It serves as a healthy alternative to water if you struggle drinking water regularly. There is no ideal way to prepare it. Let your preference guide you. However, it is best to consume it lukewarm to avoid irritating the wound.
Blended soups are viable diet options after a wisdom tooth extraction. They ensure you meet your daily nutrition requirements during your recovery. Ensure the soup is smooth to avoid chunks that may irritate the wound.
As is the case in broths, lukewarm soup is friendly to the wound.
Mashed potatoes are a viable alternative to individuals who require higher energy levels. They too are a good food source for those struggling to eat enough food because they rank high as nutritional and caloric food sources of recovering patients.
Eggs ensure your body receives its protein and fat input. It also helps that they are soft on the wound too.
Because of limiting chewy foods during recovery, Greek yoghurt is an ideal replacement for your protein intake. It is rich in protein and easy on your wound. The protein content, inclusive of zinc and calcium, ensures your body is supplied with the needed minerals or the fast healing of your wound.
Cleaning Your Mouth
Do not clean your mouth within 24 hours after the surgery. Do not also brush, floss or rinse your mouth with mouthwash until your dentist gives the green light, but generally, you can resume cleaning your mouth after 24 hours. Use a soft or medium-soft toothbrush and be gentle close to the socket. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours and after every meal.
Mind Your Drinks
Remain hydrated. Drink plenty of water and avoid using straws for a week following the surgery. The sucking effect when using straws may dislodge the blood clot in the socket, thus compromising your recovery. Avoid caffeinated, hot, and carbonated drinks for 24 hours after the procedure.
Avoid Tobacco Use For Some Time
Tobacco reduces healing after surgery. It is best to avoid it. However, a caution for smokers, it is best to avoid smoking in the next 72 hours post-surgery. The more time you avoid smoking, the better it is for your recovery. Avoid chewing tobacco for at least a week if you prefer chewing tobacco.
Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions
Honor all post-surgery appointments and follow all instructions issued by your dentist.
As part of the post-surgery care, be on the lookout for signs of infection. While most recoveries are smooth with few complications, some experience symptoms that point to an infection. If you experience any of the following symptoms, get in touch with your dentist immediately.
- Trouble breathing or swallowing
- Continued swelling that doesn’t dissipate over time
- Pus in the socket
- Continued bleeding even after holding the gauze in place and applying pressure
The Cost of Wisdom Teeth Extraction Procedures
Extraction costs vary. Various aspects are factored in to give you a final figure, key among them the anesthesia to be used, tests to be carried out, the complexity of the procedure, number of teeth to be removed, and recommended after-care treatments.
Generally, you will part with $75 to $250 to have a tooth extracted. The price goes up for impacted teeth extraction, with most dental offices charging $200 to $600 per tooth. If all your wisdom teeth are extracted, the procedure will set you back $600 to $1,100.
$600 to $1,100 is the price charged per tooth when general anesthesia is used.
Price is an essential consideration in selecting your dentist or oral surgeon. However, it is not the only consideration. Like other industries, some practitioners use low prices under the guise of affordable treatment. Ensure you engage the right dentist or oral surgeon and insist on getting your money’s worth. Let referrals and reviews on their services be your guide.
Find Quality Wisdom Tooth Extraction Services Near Me
Care and professionalism are key in any dental procedure. This is our promise as the Washington Dental team. We believe in offering the best services for our clients because dental health is essential to their overall well-being. If you are in Lomita and are looking for wisdom teeth extraction or other dental services, give us a call at 310-326-5183.