Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that typically develop when you’re in your late teens. When these teeth come in straight and aligned, they take their place as part of your full set of healthy teeth. However, they often don’t emerge as they should. Dr. Mojgan Hashemi of Los Robles Dental Plaza in Thousand Oaks, California, evaluates the position and condition of your wisdom teeth so that you have the best information to make a treatment decision. Call her office or book an appointment online today.
These molars are so-named because they are the last teeth to emerge, presumably when you’re older and wiser. Often, there’s not sufficient room in your mouth for wisdom teeth, and they may crowd your other teeth, causing alignment issues. When wisdom teeth partially emerge through the gums, they may create places where food and bacteria collect and that are difficult to clean through brushing.
There are instances where wisdom teeth, even when they’re impacted, have no effect on you at all. However, this is an assessment that Dr. Hashemi makes in conjunction with diagnostic X-rays to prevent future problems, since wisdom teeth are generally easier to extract earlier in your life.
Much depends on the position of your teeth and their development at the time of extraction. If your wisdom teeth that have fully emerged, Dr. Hashemi may pull them the same way as any other tooth. Surgery becomes more complex when a tooth is under the gums and still embedded in the jawbone. In this case, Dr. Hashemi may have to cut your gum and remove portions of your jawbone. She may extract the tooth itself in sections to reduce the damage to surrounding bone.
Depending on the condition of your wisdom teeth, they may be extracted together, separately, or in pairs. Local anesthetics, such as those used for routine dental work, may be adequate for simple extractions. Sedating medications may be necessary for more complex extractions.
For the first day after the procedure, you may have bleeding, and it’s important to encourage blood clot formation to accelerate the healing process. Place clean gauze over the extraction site. A dampened tea bag also works, since the tannic acid from the tea helps clots form. Keep either the gauze or the tea bag firmly in place for about 45 minutes. Blood flow should be greatly reduced at this point, and you can repeat the process.
Avoid hot liquids, drinking through a straw, or smoking for the first 24 hours. Likewise, don’t rinse or spit. These activities can dislodge or slow blood clot formation. Facial swelling is likely, and you can manage the pain with over-the-counter analgesics or, at Dr. Hashemi’s advice, prescription pain relievers.