The third molars, more commonly known as the wisdom teeth because they erupt at the “age of wisdom,” are the largest teeth in the mouth. In fact, they are so large that many patients do not have enough room in their jaws for these teeth to erupt normally and they become impacted. When this occurs, the patient must have those teeth removed surgically to prevent issues that can arise due to impacted wisdom teeth.
A consultation for a wisdom tooth extraction may be the patient’s first experience with an oral surgeon. As such, the patient may have a number of questions about the procedure. Here are some of the questions that patients ask most frequently during the treatment planning process for wisdom tooth extraction:
Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
Most people will have impacted wisdom teeth, which are more prone to developing problems like cysts, abscesses and tumors. Furthermore, impacted wisdom teeth can push surrounding teeth out of alignment and/or damage nearby teeth as they continue to try to push through the gums. Although a very small number of patients will not have impacted wisdom teeth, it’s impossible to predict exactly when impacted wisdom teeth will develop issues. Therefore, we recommend that all patients at least be evaluated by an oral surgeon to determine if this treatment is recommended.
Why do I need oral surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth must be removed surgically because it is usually necessary to remove some of the surrounding bone in order to extract the tooth itself.
How long will it take to recover from my wisdom tooth extraction?
That varies from patient to patient, but most patients can resume most of their normal routines within a few days, assuming that they do not experience any post-operative complications. You may need to refrain from vigorous exercise, avoid drinking straws and smoking or adjust your diet until you have healed completely from the procedure.
What are dry sockets? How can I prevent them?
Dry sockets are the most common complication after wisdom tooth extraction. This painful condition develops when the blood clot that protects the sensitive nerves under the extraction site either fails to form or is dislodged completely. You can reduce your risk of dry sockets by avoiding drinking straws (the sucking motion can knock the clot loose) and smoking during the first several days after the procedure. Your surgeon will give you more detailed instructions about preventing dry sockets.
Of course, this is not intended to be a comprehensive list of the questions a patient may have when planning to have the wisdom teeth removed. If you have any other questions or would like any other information about this procedure, call our office and speak to a member of our caring and professional team.