Wisdom Teeth Removal FAQs
Bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth, swollen oozing gums, difficulty opening your mouth, and even ear aches – are all early warning signs that a wisdom tooth is problematic. A quick trip to your dentist often results in the suggestion that it’s time to remove your wisdom teeth. Now what?
First, a biology lesson. Wisdom teeth are the upper and lower third molars, located at the very back of the mouth, which usually come in when a person is between 17 and 21 years or old enough to have gained some ‘wisdom’. Wisdom teeth that are healthy and properly positioned do not cause problems – so if you are having problems, likelihood is that they are not position properly which will show on X-rays.
Most people have them removed for one of these reasons:
- They come in at the wrong angle, pressing against your other teeth.
- Your jaw isn’t big enough and your mouth has no room for an extra set of molars.
- You have cavities or gum disease because of difficulty reaching your wisdom teeth with your toothbrush or dental floss.
- They’re trapped in your jawbone or gums, described as impacted, causing pain and swelling of the gum overlying the impaction due either to infection of this covering gum or trauma from the tooth above hitting into it, or a combination of both.
Impaction symptoms can occur for a few days and then clear up. It can then come back at any time, often with weeks or months between occurrences. Watch for more serious symptoms that can develop quite quickly including swollen glands under your chin, which may indicate cellulitis. Muscle spasms in the jaw, fever, and general malaise may indicate a severe, spreading infection which can be very serious if left untreated.
As it is difficult to clean effectively under the gum flap, bacteria will proliferate here and the gum will become inflamed, known as ‘pericoronitis’. It is easy to remedy, but when it becomes a recurring problem or if dangerous symptoms like those above occur, then extraction must be considered. Immediate advice should be sought from your dentist.
If extraction is necessary, you will meet with an oral surgeon to talk about the process, any health problems you have, any questions you have about the surgery, medications you take on a regular basis, and the type of anesthesia you’ll have - local anesthesia with one or more injections near the site of each extraction; sedation anesthesia through an intravenous (IV) line in your arm; and in special situations, you may be offered general anesthesia.
During wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist or oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone, removing bone that blocks access to the tooth root. The wisdom tooth is divided into sections for easier remove. The site is then cleaned, sutured close to promote healing if necessary, with gauze placed over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form.
After surgery you may have swelling and mild discomfort for several days with your mouth requiring a few weeks to completely heal. Follow your doctor’s instructions for a quicker recovery including planning for time off work or school to have your surgery and rest afterward at home, and set up child care, pet care, or a ride home if needed.
Westmount Dental Centre happily provides dental serves for the entire family. If you have concerns about your wisdom teeth, or need to book an emergency dental appointment, call us at 780-454-1269 today to schedule an appointment.