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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Facial Injuries and Oral Surgery

There are a number of reasons that dentists or oral surgeons recommend surgery, but facial injuries are probably the most unexpected and alarming cause. Maxillofacial injury, or facial trauma, refers to any injury to the mouth, jaw, and face. Most of these injuries result from sports, car accidents, job accidents, violence, or an accident at home. Let’s learn about oral surgery resulting from facial trauma.

Broken bones are a common type of serious facial injury. Fractures can occur in the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones, palate, and eye sockets. Injuries in these locations may affect vision and the ability to eat, talk, and breathe. Hospitalization is often required for treatment, which is similar to that for fractures in other parts of the body. The bones must be lined up and held in place to allow time to heal them in the correct position. Because casts are not possible in facial injuries, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates to treat fractures. Sometimes healing takes as long as six weeks or more.

Even though some facial injuries are worse than others, all of them should be taken seriously. They affect an important area of the body, so it is recommended to seek treatment from an oral surgeon to make sure you receive optimum care. Even if stitches are all that’s required, it’s best to have them performed by an oral surgeon who can place them exactly as needed to produce the best results.

It’s no surprise that the best solution for facial injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Oral surgeons suggest consistent use of mouth guards, seat belts, and masks and helmets as required. Improvements have been made to safety gear to make these items more comfortable and efficient, so there should be no excuses for not using them to protect yourself and avoid injuries that can lead to oral surgery.


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Oral Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

If oral surgery is in your future, you might be worried about what’s to come. The way to relieve that worry is to talk to your oral surgeon. Your oral surgeon has the experience and knowledge necessary to guide you through whatever concerns or questions you may have. Here is a guide to some of those questions and answers:

How will I handle pain following surgery?

  • In many cases, you will have been prescribed narcotic pain relievers. If you are taking narcotics, take them only as recommended and do not mix them with over-the-counter pain relievers or alcohol. Driving while on narcotics is dangerous and can have serious consequences for you personally and for others. If you weren’t prescribed any medication, use anti-inflammatory analgesics such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.

What will happen to my stitches in the days following surgery?

  • Some stitches will be designed to dissolve over time and will not need to be removed. Others will not come out on their own and will need to be removed at a subsequent appointment. In many cases, losing a single stitch or two in the days following surgery isn’t serious; however, for bone-graft treatments, it is problematic and you should contact your surgeon immediately.

Can I eat normally after surgery?

  • Immediately after surgery when you’re still experiencing any mouth or tongue numbness, don’t eat anything. You could mistake the soft tissues of your mouth for food and do serious damage to your mouth without realizing it. After your numbness subsides, consume soft foods of tepid temperatures for several days to allow for healing. Talk to your surgeon to learn when you can resume normal eating patterns as dictated by your particular surgery.

What other tips do you have?

  • Stay hydrated and rest as much as possible to facilitate complete and quick healing. Call your surgeon if you have excessive bleeding or pain that doesn’t lessen with time. Be aware of signs of infection (swelling, redness, odorous or sour discharge) at the surgical site and seek professional care when needed.

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wisdom teeth dentist

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. Contact our dental office 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.

 

 

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.


We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

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 dentist

Wisdom Teeth: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

Wisdom teeth, your third set of molars, are named that because they are the final teeth to erupt. They usually come in between ages 17 to 25, and are located in the very back of your mouth on the top and bottom. Your dentist will examine you to find out if your wisdom teeth are properly positioned and healthy. If they aren’t, your dentist will recommend removal.

How do you know wisdom teeth should be removed?
Some of the signs there is a problem with your wisdom teeth include pain, infection, cysts, gum disease, damage to nearby teeth, and tooth decay. If you experience any of these symptoms, see your dentist for an examination.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Sometimes your teeth just don’t have room to grow in properly. They can erupt at angles within your jaw, sometimes even horizontally. If wisdom teeth aren’t able to erupt normally they can become trapped, or impacted, inside your jaw. Symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth are pain, infection, and swelling. When teeth are impacted, they can lead to serious problems. Many dentists want to avoid impacted teeth and therefore remove your wisdom teeth before they erupt or grow too big.

Are there less obvious reasons to remove wisdom teeth?
It’s not always clear when these teeth way in the back of your mouth are causing problems, or might in the future. Many dentists remove them in teens or young adults so they don’t cause problems later, or become too firmly planted in the jaw. Also, sometimes wisdom teeth are removed as part of orthodontic, periodontal, or restorative treatment plans.

What happens if I don’t have them removed?
Some dentists prefer to wait and see what happens with time to your wisdom teeth. Make sure you continue to have these teeth monitored, because the risk of problems doesn’t go away with age. Removing wisdom teeth isn’t always necessary, because if there’s room in your mouth and they come in properly, they work just like any other teeth. The key is to watch them to make sure problems don’t arise in the future.

Dental office for wisdom teeth removal

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

Oral Surgery FAQ

If you or a loved one is scheduled to have or has recently had oral surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions:

  • One of my stitches came out after my surgery, should I be worried? Losing a stitch isn’t a problem. In the majority of cases, stitches are put in place during surgery to assist in clot formation and bleeding control. If you have undergone a bone-graft procedure, however, contact your surgeon because you may need to be seen immediately.
  • What can I eat after surgery? Immediately following surgery, eat only soft foods of tepid temperature. Avoid very hot or very cold foods. Eat nothing that is crunchy or chewy so you won’t damage the surgical site.
  • I am having a lot of pain following my procedure, what should I do? If you have been prescribed pain medication, take it as recommended. If no prescription was given, use over-the-counter medicines containing natural anti-inflammatory properties such as ibuprofen. Stay hydrated by drinking room temperature water and get plenty of rest.
  • I had a tooth extracted, how can I tell if I have a dry socket? Dry socket is the result of the loss of the blood clot present in the extraction site. Smoking, using a straw, poor oral hygiene or failure to rest properly following the extraction procedure can lead to this condition. Typically dry socket will present within one week of extraction and is treated with sterile wash and pain-relieving, medicated gauze.
  • I had a procedure this morning and am still bleeding. Is that normal? Bleeding following extractions or other surgical procedures is common. If you are bleeding more than normal, bite down on some sterile gauze or a damp teabag for twenty or thirty minutes. Don’t keep removing the gauze to look for blood; that can make the bleeding worse. Call your surgeon if you feel your bleeding is excessive.

Your oral surgeon can answer these questions and more. Don’t hesitate to call the surgeon’s office to get the peace of mind you require to heal comfortably following your procedure.

We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Why Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

A wisdom tooth is often extracted to correct an existing dental problem or to prevent the possibility of problems that may arise in the future. Some problems associated with wisdom teeth are:

  • Your jaw may be too small to accommodate the eruption of your wisdom teeth, leading them to become impacted (stuck in the jaw, often under the edge of an adjacent tooth) and unable to erupt through your gums.
  • Your wisdom teeth may partially erupt, leaving a flap of soft gum tissue to grow over the tooth. Food, bacteria and germs can get trapped underneath this gum flap, leading to swelling, redness and pain, which are signs of infection.
  • Impacted teeth can lead to a more serious problem, such as acute infection, damage to the surrounding teeth, damage to the bone or the development of a cyst.
  • Wisdom teeth can present at an awkward angle, coming in with the top of the tooth facing sideways, forward or backward.

Removing your wisdom teeth can be a good method to prevent:

  • crowding at the back of the mouth
  • an impacted wisdom tooth stuck in the jaw and never erupting
  • painful gums or infection caused by a flap of gum skin
  • gum disease or tooth decay in the individual wisdom tooth or in the surrounding teeth and gums

You may want to have your wisdom teeth removed when you are younger because:

  • The younger you are, the less developed your wisdom teeth roots are, and the less dense your jawbone, allowing for an easier extraction of the tooth.
  • The majority of problems with wisdom teeth begin between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.
  • If you have a medical condition that is known to worsen with time, you may choose to have your wisdom teeth out early, while you are in your best health, to facilitate maximum healing.

Wisdom teeth extraction is rarely harmful, but there are risks associated with any surgery. Talk to your dentist today about any concerns you have regarding wisdom tooth extraction.

Schedule your appointment at our Clinton NJ dental office