If you are experiencing pain in your back molars and are concerned its your wisdom teeth, or if your dentist told you at a recent dental checkup that your wisdom teeth should be removed, it’s normal to feel worried. You may not know why they need to come out or what the procedure is like. To help you feel more comfortable, our dentist in Fuquay Varina is sharing what to expect during wisdom teeth removal.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the farthest back teeth in your mouth with two on the top and two on the bottom. They are generally the last teeth to erupt through the gum, appearing between the ages of 17 and 25, though some people never have them erupt through the gum line.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Around five million people each year have to have their wisdom teeth removed. While dentists in the past used to recommend having them removed “just in case,” today, they’re only removed or extracted if they are either causing problems or it’s likely they will in the future.
The most common issue people have with their wisdom teeth is that they are impacted. This means there isn’t enough room in the mouth for it to break through the gum line or develop properly. Instead, it can stay in the jaw or will grow at an angle, causing pain and in more extreme cases, damaging the roots of neighboring teeth. Other issues that lead to needing wisdom teeth removed include:
- Cavities or decay
- Damage to neighboring teeth
- Bone loss around the roots
- Not enough room around the tooth to effectively brush or floss
Your dentist should discuss the reasons behind the procedure with you to ensure you’re comfortable and also what could happen if you don’t have your teeth removed.
What to Expect During the Procedure?
There are two ways to remove the wisdom teeth, depending on the severity of the impaction or other factors. If the tooth has erupted through the gums, a simple extraction is performed. The dentist will use a strong local anesthetic to ensure the area is totally numb. Then, they will loosen the tooth from the periodontal ligaments using an elevator and extract it with special dental forceps. While you may feel some pressure during the extraction, there shouldn’t be pain at all.
For impacted wisdom teeth or teeth that have broken below the gum line, a surgical extraction may be necessary. Your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon, but many dentists can perform the procedure themselves. You may be given sedation, or it may be performed under a local anesthetic in combination with an oral sedative. They will cut open the gum, removing the tooth from within the tissue. You may be sleepy or groggy after the procedure if you were under sedation.
Healing from Wisdom Tooth Extraction
It’s normal to feel some pain or discomfort after the numbness wears off from your procedure. Your dentist may recommend over the counter pain medicine or write a prescription for stronger pain medication to help you manage discomfort for a few days. For the first 24 hours, you want to avoid the following:
- Flossing around the area
- Swishing liquid in your mouth
- Drinking through a straw
After 24 hours, rinse with warm salt water every two to three hours to keep the area clean. There may be swelling and soreness that can be relieved with an ice pack as well as pain medication.
Your dentist will provide you with detailed post-procedure care, but it’s important to call if you experience the following:
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing.
- Swelling that lasts longer than a few days.
- You develop a fever.
- Extreme throbbing pain in the jaw that radiates to your eye, ear, or neck (possible dry socket).
- Foul odor or taste in your mouth.
- You experience numbness.
These are generally rare but be sure to let your dentist know if you have concerns.
Schedule an Appointment with Our Fuquay-Varina Dentist
If you are experiencing pain in your jaw or are concerned you may need your wisdom teeth removed, we can help. Schedule an appointment for a checkup today at 919-552-2431 or fill out the form below to contact our staff.