Everyone knows that humans go through life with two sets of teeth: their “baby teeth” and their more permanent “adult teeth”. If you happen to lose a permanent tooth, there are no longer any other teeth to replace it, so you will have to opt for an artificial replacement. But most patients will also experience a so-called “third molar” developing in their lifetime: the eruption of their wisdom teeth. These extra molars that appear at the back of the jaw are generally unnecessary and can start to crowd your other teeth. In these situations, it’s highly recommended that the wisdom teeth be removed, which requires invasive surgery. Today, our team at Dentistry of Nashville want to talk about why we remove these wisdom teeth and what instructions you need to follow in the aftermath.
Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth are extra teeth that erupt later, once your permanent teeth have all erupted. They get their name from the age that patients are when they typically appear, around 18 to 20 years old, when a teen becomes an adult (i.e. becomes “wise). Some patients may actually have the room in their jaw to accommodate these extra teeth, but the fact of the matter is that a majority of patients do not. These extra teeth crowd their other teeth, causing pain, sensitivity, and malocclusions. For this reason, wisdom teeth are removed in order to keep your jaw and alignment healthy.
Types of Impactions
Here’s a quick rundown of the types of impactions that wisdom teeth can cause:
- Horizontal Impaction: A horizontal impaction has the wisdom tooth lying on its side, with the crown pressing against the roots of the adjacent tooth.
- Vertical Impaction: A vertical impaction is when the wisdom tooth is positioned straight up and down, but is still as risk for pressing against the neighboring tooth.
- Distal Impaction: Distal is when the wisdom tooth is angled towards the back of the mouth, with the roots touching or coming into close contact with the neighboring teeth.
- Mesial Impaction: The wisdom tooth is angled towards the front of the mouth, with its crown rutted against the crown or body of the adjacent tooth.
Aftercare and Recovery at Dentistry of Nashville
- Have someone else drive you home: Since wisdom tooth extractions are invasive surgeries, you will be under sedation for the treatment. Once the surgery is completed, and the sedation begins to wear off, it’s important that someone else transport you home. It’s unsafe to drive after undergoing sedation.
- Keep on gauze for at least 30 minutes: Gauze will be covering your surgical site, and it’s important that you not remove it for at least 30 minutes, so the blood can clot. Change your gauze for fresh ones as they absorb blood.
- Rinse with warm salt water: Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water can help reduce irritation and infections in your surgical site. Do not swallow or forcefully spit out the water. Instead, dribble the water out of your mouth over the sink, so as not to disturb the blood clots.
- Be responsible with your medication: We recommend that you rest while you heal, so keep any medications and liquids close by. This will also keep them away from children.
- Smoking: Smoking slows the blood flow to your jaw, and fills the surgical site with harmful chemicals.
- Heavy Alcohol Consumption: Similar to smoking, alcohol can hinder the healing process and prevent healthy blood flow to the jaw.
- Use Straws: The sucking, vacuum motion is very dangerous to your surgical sites, as they can remove the clots and hinder the healing process.
Contact Us About Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Do you possess wisdom teeth that need to be removed, or are worried about wisdom teeth erupting? Learn more about how to prepare for this necessary treatment, and schedule a consultation with Drs. Elam, Vaughan, and Fleming here in Nashville. Our goal is to provide happy, healthy smiles, and a wisdom tooth extraction may be necessary to achieve that.