Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last to emerge in the back of your mouth. They typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25.
For some people, wisdom teeth can become a source of discomfort and potential oral health problems. These people lack sufficient space for the teeth to emerge, which can lead to impacted or partially erupted teeth.
At SPA Dental Group, with locations in New York City and Washington, DC, wisdom teeth removal is a common oral surgery performed by our expert dental team. Here, we’ll help you understand why the procedure might be necessary and what to expect during and after.
Reasons for wisdom teeth removal
Reasons you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed include:
When your wisdom teeth don't have enough space to emerge or grow properly, they can become impacted, which can cause pain, swelling, infection, and potentially damage your nearby teeth.
Your wisdom teeth can push adjacent teeth out of alignment, leading to crowding and bite problems. Removing your wisdom teeth can help preserve the alignment of your teeth.
Decay and gum disease
Your wisdom teeth are located at the back of your mouth, making them difficult to clean. This can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
If you don’t have issues with your wisdom teeth, they may not need to be removed. We can evaluate the condition of your oral health to determine if you can benefit from the procedure.
The removal process
The procedure may involve local anesthesia, sedation, or general anesthesia, depending on the complexity of your extraction and comfort level. Bottom line — you won’t feel anything during the process. You can rely on our team to keep you comfortable and at ease.
First, we make an incision in your gum tissue if necessary, remove any bone that blocks access to your tooth, and extract the tooth. In some cases, we may need to divide the tooth into smaller pieces for easier removal. Again, you won’t feel any pain, so don’t worry.
Then, we suture your incision and place gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding. The surgery usually takes about 45 minutes or less.
After your procedure, your recovery process begins. Be sure to do the following:
Follow post-operative instructions
We provide specific instructions for you to follow after we remove your wisdom teeth. These may include recommendations for pain management, diet restrictions, and proper oral hygiene techniques. These instructions promote faster healing and minimize the risk of complications.
Some swelling, discomfort, and mild bleeding are normal after wisdom teeth removal. Recommended over-the-counter pain medications can help alleviate pain, and applying an ice pack to the affected area for the first 24 hours can reduce swelling.
Eat soft foods
Stick to a soft-food diet for a few days following the extraction. Opt for foods like soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, smoothies, and scrambled eggs. Avoid hard, crunchy, or chewy foods that may irritate your extraction site.
Maintain oral hygiene
Proper oral hygiene is crucial during your recovery period. Gently brush your teeth, avoid the extraction site, and rinse your mouth with warm saltwater several times daily to keep the area clean. Avoid vigorous rinsing or using mouthwash during the initial healing phase.
Attend follow-up appointments
Don’t miss your scheduled follow-up appointments. They allow us to monitor your healing progress, remove stitches if necessary, and address any concerns.
By following these guidelines and giving yourself ample time to rest and heal, you can ensure a smoother recovery after wisdom teeth removal.
If you're experiencing discomfort or suspect problems with your wisdom teeth, call our office in New York City or Washington, DC, to schedule a consultation. Or book an appointment online today.