How to Prepare Your Child for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

If your teen is scheduled to have wisdom teeth extraction surgery, you might be feeling stressed-out about the procedure and how you can best prepare for what’s to come. Surgery can be frightening. As the adult, it’s your role to get the information you need and to educate and calm your teen so that you both have a feeling of confidence and safety during all steps of the oral surgery.

Don’t mislead your teen about the procedure or recovery time. Talk about the reasons the wisdom teeth need to be extracted; be honest about the issues. Talk about the oral surgeon and his or her qualifications and why this particular surgeon was chosen. Help give your teen a sense of trust in the surgeon, to help calm his or her nerves.

Listen to everything your child has to say regarding the surgery. Validate all your child’s feelings and statements and offer any guidance you can from your own life’s experiences. Be open to allowing a conversation between the surgeon and your teen. Your oral surgeon has experience in dealing with fearful patients and can often remedy fearful thoughts and feelings more efficiently than a parent.

Reassure your child that you won’t be far away during or after the procedure. Even though your teen may be already in college, surgical procedures can be frightening and you might be surprised at how much your teen may lean on you, emotionally and physically during this time.

Answer any of your child’s questions honestly. Go over any parts of the surgery that are confusing to your teen. This knowledge can restore a sense of control to the patient, and allow the patient to feel prepared to recover.

Your teen’s oral maxillofacial surgeon wants your teen to be comfortable during the surgery. Sedation dentistry options may be offered as early as the night before, so that the patient can be well-rested and calm for the procedure.


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Having Wisdom Teeth Surgery as an Adult

If you didn’t have your wisdom teeth out as a young person, you may be wondering about having them out as an adult. Your dentist may have recommended that you prevent future infections, cysts or pain in the jaw due to wisdom teeth that are growing under other teeth – known as impacted teeth. Even a type of tumor has been linked to impacted wisdom teeth.

Impacted teeth result when the wisdom tooth grows up under an existing tooth. Sometimes, adults have wisdom teeth that come in completely straight behind back molars. In rare cases, one or more of these teeth don’t grow at all. An x-ray can reveal the presence of the teeth. Impacted teeth cause problems with existing teeth and must come out.

Because the roots of wisdom teeth typically fully develop near the age of 24, removing them after this time can be more complicated. Roots can entwine with facial nerves, making extraction problematic. It’s recommended that adults receive a CT scan of their jaw, showing the clear positioning of facial nerves and roots, something not shown by x-rays. If the roots of the lower wisdom teeth aren’t touching or wrapped around the alveolar nerve, extraction is still possible.

Adults with wisdom teeth are at higher risk for gum disease. Gum disease has been linked to an increase of pregnancy complication and other health issues. Previously believed only to affect patients in their late 30s, this gum disease is now being shown to affect much younger patients, especially young pregnant women. Growing evidence is also connecting gum disease to inflammation due to chronic infections in the body, leading to an increased risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Talk to your dentist today to see if you should have your wisdom teeth removed. Be honest about any symptoms you’re having, such as pain or pressure, and let the professional evaluate your specific situation.


We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Getting smart about wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth got their name because they are the final teeth to develop, usually in the late teens to early twenties, at a time when a person becomes fully mature or “wise.” Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars in the very back of the mouth. Most people have four total (two upper and two lower), but others never develop them at all. Wisdom teeth can be a valuable chewing aid, but often they are poorly aligned or don’t develop properly.

How do I know if I have them?:
Unless you start to feel them breaking through, you may not know whether you have wisdom teeth or not. Ask your dentist to examine you to see if these teeth are healthy and properly positioned. An x-ray may be required, and your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to be evaluated further.

Do wisdom teeth hurt?:
You don’t always feel anything with your wisdom teeth, but sometimes they are very bothersome. You may experience pain when they erupt in awkward positions, especially if the teeth rub against your mouth. Other problems include stiffness in the area, infected swelling of the gums, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth crowding.

Why remove them?:
Your dentist or oral surgeon might suggest that your wisdom teeth be extracted. They can often predict if your wisdom teeth may crowd or damage other teeth, your jawbone, or nerves. Sometimes removal is appropriate before problems arise, in an effort to avoid more complicated or painful extractions later. Removal is usually simpler and less risky in young people. If your wisdom teeth are not extracted, it’s important for your dentist to continue monitoring them because problems may develop later.

What does impacted mean?:
Wisdom teeth may be impacted, which means they are enclosed in the soft tissue or jawbone or they only partially erupt through the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are almost always removed to avoid risks of infection, tooth decay, and gum disease.

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Don’t Fear Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Many people are afraid of getting their wisdom teeth out based on horror stories from the internet or scary tales exaggerated by others. The best way to fight these fears is to learn more about the procedure and what you can truly expect.

The first thing to know is that wisdom teeth extractions are the most common oral surgeries. Most oral surgeons perform an average of one a day, so that experience has provided skill and expertise in the procedure. Also, you will be under some degree of anesthesia. Whether it’s general anesthesia or even just nitrous oxide (laughing gas), you won’t feel anything during the surgery and won’t remember what happened afterwards.

One common fear is the bleeding associated with wisdom teeth extractions. While there is some bleeding from the site after surgery, it is usually easily controlled by following the after-care instructions. You will be told to gently bite on gauze in that area of your mouth, and change it frequently. Propping your head up will help limit the bleeding also.

Swelling is another reason some fear this surgery, but it should be gone in just a few days. You can hold ice packs to the outside of your cheek off and on for the first 24 hours to decrease the swelling.

The recovery process should go smoothly if you follow your oral surgeon’s advice. Have someone drive you to and from the appointment, and eat soft foods at first. Do not use a straw for the first few days, and avoid touching the area with your fingers or tongue. Also, do not smoke for at least the first 24 hours following surgery.

While there are risks associated with any surgery, most wisdom teeth extractions are without complications and recovery is complete in just a few days to a week. The benefits of having the surgery outweigh the risk of ignoring your dentist’s advice to have your wisdom teeth removed.


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Playing it Smart After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Surgery to remove wisdom teeth is one of the most common procedures that oral surgeons and dentists perform. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions afterwards for the best chances of quick and complete recovery. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself after wisdom tooth extraction.

Watch your diet:
Your dentist will give you a list of suggested foods you can it after surgery, and ones to avoid. Stick with soft or liquid foods for the first couple of days, and do not eat hard or sharp foods like chips. Avoid carbonated drinks, hot beverages, and spicy foods because they can irritate your surgery site. After the first few days, begin introducing your regular diet as is comfortable.

Take your medications:
You will likely receive a prescription for painkillers to help relieve discomfort, as well as reduce swelling. This in turn can lower your risk for infection too. Take your medication as prescribed by your dentist for the optimum results. If your extraction is simple, prescription medication may not be required. You can take over-the-counter medications if your dentist agrees and you follow the directions on the label. Do not take aspirin, however, because it can thin your blood and increase bleeding at your extraction site.

Brush carefully:
Instead of brushing with your toothbrush, gently wipe the site with clean, wet gauze. Rigorous brushing can hurt the healing process, and you should even avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours after surgery. On the second day, you can rinse your mouth gently with salty water. Do not spit forcefully, which can dislodge the blood clot on your extraction site. Also, do not rinse with mouthwash that contains any alcohol.

Avoid alcohol and tobacco:
Drinking alcohol may thin your blood, prevent clotting, and delay healing. Smoking can have similar effects, as well as dislodge the clot when you inhale on a cigarette. For the best chances of healing, avoid these products for at least 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction.


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Wisdom Teeth: Is it Wise to Wait?

Most dental professionals recommend having third molars, or wisdom teeth, removed in early adulthood, preferably before they are fully formed and rooted into the jaw. Generally, this means having wisdom teeth extracted between the ages of 17 and 25. Waiting until you are older to have wisdom teeth removed can have considerable risks and complications.

Wisdom teeth that are not removed create the following risks:

  • Impaction caused by wisdom teeth that do not have sufficient room to grow, causing pain and potential disease and damage to adjacent teeth.
  • Tooth decay from wisdom teeth that are difficult to keep clean.
  • Infection caused by bacteria that is harbored in the wisdom tooth eruption site.
  • Growth of tumors and cysts caused by severely impacted wisdom teeth.

For patients who need to have wisdom teeth removed later in life, complications can include:

  • More complicated removal surgery to eliminate deeply rooted or impacted wisdom teeth that results in longer surgery recovery time.
  • Roots that have grown close to the nerve that affects the feeling in the lower lip might be injured in surgery, causing permanent nerve damage.

If you or your young adult have emerging wisdom teeth, schedule a consultation with your dentist to determine if and when they should be removed. While some patients will not need to have their third molars extracted, in most cases, having wisdom teeth removed as they are erupting can help to avoid a host of future problems. When wisdom tooth extraction is performed early, recovery time and risk of complications are drastically reduced for most patients.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Calming Your Wisdom Tooth Surgery Fears

Some people would rather endure tooth pain than have their wisdom teeth extracted during surgery. Most of the time, fears are based on irrational tales that people read on the internet or hear from others. The truth is that wisdom tooth surgery is extremely common and most oral surgeons perform them every day without complications. The best way to overcome fear is to learn more about the procedure and recovery.

Procedure:
Extracting wisdom teeth involves opening the gums above the tooth and removing any bone that is blocking the tooth’s ability to erupt. The tissue will be separated to be able to remove the tooth, sometimes even in pieces if necessary. In some cases when bone is removed, a bone graft is needed to replace it. After the procedure is complete, stitches will be placed that will dissolve with time. If this sounds awful, remember that patients don’t feel any pain during the procedure due to sedation and usually don’t even recall anything that happened during treatment.

Recovery:
There are some common outcomes to be expected after wisdom tooth extraction, all of which usually subside within a few days as long as you follow your surgeon’s instructions. Have someone accompany you to and from the appointment so they hear the recovery directions and so you don’t drive. Afterwards, you will be given gauze to bite on at the extraction site. Bite gently on the gauze and change it frequently. Avoid lying flat on your back because bleeding may increase. If you experience swelling, hold ice packs on the outside of your cheeks for the first day. Eat soft foods and avoid using a straw for the first few days, and try not to touch the area with your fingers or tongue. Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. If you follow all these guidelines and any others that your doctor provides, there are few risks and no reason to be afraid of wisdom tooth extraction.


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When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, and usually emerge in the late teens or early twenties. Standard dental practice is to remove wisdom teeth prior to them being fully formed when the roots have not yet had a chance to develop and fully root into the jaw. Younger patients usually have an easier recovery from surgery and many dentists believe early removal prevents future dental problems associated with wisdom teeth.

If your wisdom teeth were not removed as they emerged, there are some signs and symptoms that would indicate the need for extraction including:

  • Wisdom teeth that are impacted, which means they have become trapped in the jawbone or gums.
  • Wisdom teeth that are emerging at an awkward angle, causing pressure on adjacent teeth.
  • Wisdom teeth that do not fit in your mouth, causing crowding of the surrounding teeth as well.
  • Wisdom teeth that are suffering from decay or disease caused by the inability to keep them cleaned properly.
  • Wisdom teeth that have developed fluid-filled cysts near the gumline.
  • Wisdom teeth that are causing pain due to any of the above reasons.

The decision about whether or not to remove your wisdom teeth should be made in consultation with your dental professional. Your dentist or oral surgeon can assess the position and health of your wisdom teeth and make a recommendation for treatment.

If extraction is recommended, they may choose to extract one tooth or all four molars at once. Recovery from the outpatient procedure takes just a few days, and you will quickly be back to normal. Consult with your dental professional if you are experiencing any of these symptoms listed to determine if you should consider wisdom tooth removal to ensure your future good oral health.


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Oral Surgery: Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last adult teeth to erupt into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the bottom and two on top. Many people do not have enough room for these molars to emerge completely, causing them to become impacted in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay and disease. Other dental problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and bite alignment issues. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend having the impacted teeth removed to prevent future problems.

Surgery to extract an impacted wisdom tooth or set of wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office. If the tooth or surrounding area are deemed to have an infection prior to the procedure, surgery will be delayed, and your dental professional will likely prescribe antibiotics to help heal the area.

On the day of surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the extracted tooth will be removed. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist or oral surgeon may also utilize a general anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made to open up the gum and any bone blocking the tooth will be removed. Your dentist or surgeon will then separate the tissue connecting the bone to the tooth and extract the tooth. Some teeth are too large to remove in one piece, in which case your surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and packed with gauze to help alleviate bleeding.

Long-term complications from impacted wisdom tooth surgery are rare. To ensure a successful recovery from this or any oral surgery, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Dealing with Wisdom Tooth Pain

Whether you are a teenager or an adult, you may have pain associated with your wisdom teeth. In a perfect situation, these back molars erupt last and fit right into your mouth without problems. Many people are not so lucky, however. It is common for these teeth to attempt to come in, but have nowhere to grow in the space where your other teeth are already established. This can result in a very painful toothache.

The first step you should take is visiting your dentist, where x-rays will be taken to see exactly what is happening in your mouth. The x-rays will be examined to determine the angle the teeth are growing, how much room is available for them to develop, and if there is any infection present. Depending upon the examination results, surgery may be necessary to remove your wisdom teeth.

Your dentist will look for signs that indicate your wisdom teeth need to be removed. The main indications for tooth removal include:

  • A tooth embedded in your gums
  • A tooth that is only partially erupted
  • The presence of a cyst around the tooth
  • A tooth growing in an awkward angle

If your dentist recommends removal, it is usually suggested to have it done as soon as possible to avoid further problems and continued pain. Sometimes it is necessary to remove only a single tooth, and in other cases multiple teeth may need to go. The complexity of the removal depends on whether the teeth are embedded, the angle of growth, and other issues. Your dentist will advise you on the safest and most effective plan for taking care of your wisdom teeth and getting rid of the pain.


We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area