What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars. Most people see these teeth erupt in their late teens or early twenties – perhaps just as an individual has gained some wisdom.
Why Might They Need to be Removed?
Sometimes wisdom teeth grow and cause no problems. However, oftentimes the development of wisdom teeth can present a series of complications.
When wisdom teeth begin to erupt, the flap of gum tissue that grows over the tooth is raised, creating a space for food to become trapped inside and causing an infection.
Another common complication is misalignment of the wisdom teeth. Misaligned wisdom teeth can be angled towards or away from the second molars. This can cause the tooth to become 'impacted.' Impacted teeth cannot erupt or only erupt partially.This improper alignment can cause crowding and potentially damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves.
Early detection through dental x-rays allows us to predict future problems and take preventative measures, often through removing the misaligned or impacted wisdom teeth. Our dental team at Burnhamthorpe Dental in Etobicoke keeps a close eye on the development of your wisdom teeth during your regularly scheduled visits.
If you feel or notice any of the following symptoms contact your dentist immediately:
Pain or stiffness near the back of your mouth
Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing against your cheek, tongue, or top or bottom of the mouth
An infected swelling in the flap of gum tissue that has formed on top of an impacted tooth
These symptoms usually develop between the ages of 15 and 25 and can be signs of other problems, so make sure to schedule regular visits to your dentist.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
The removal of wisdom teeth has become quite common, especially to avoid complications stemming from overcrowding. Before your tooth is extracted, the tooth and surrounding gums will be numbed with a local anesthetic. This anesthetic can be complimented with our relaxation options such as nitrous oxide or an oral sedative if needed.
The tooth is removed just like any other tooth if it has completely erupted through the gums. If it is still sitting under the gums, we will make a small incision to remove the tooth. We will be more than happy to explain this in more detail before your procedure.
Recovery from a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Immediately after the extraction we will monitor you in a recovery room. Depending on the type of sedative chosen, you may need someone to drive you home after the procedure.
For the first 24 hours you may experience the following:
Bleeding will occur for several hours after the removal of the tooth. We recommend placing a piece of gauze over the area and bite down to apply pressure. Avoid rinsing, sucking, or spitting for the first 24 hours as it will inhibit the growth of clots to stop the bleeding.
Facial swelling in the tooth removal area is common. You can place an icepack over the swelling for 10 minutes, then remove for 20 minutes and repeat as necessary.
More Recovery Tips:
Over-the counter medication can provide temporary pain relief but make sure to inform us before you take any medication. You can also ask your dentist to prescribe a potent medication to help with discomfort.
Avoid drinking hot liquids or alcohol for at least 24 hours. Chew food away from the site of extraction and stick with a liquid or soft food diet if possible.
Continue to brush your teeth but avoid applying pressure to the teeth nearby the site of extraction. Avoid mouthwash as it can irritate the extraction site.
Allowing your mouth to heal takes time, but we will provide you with detailed care instructions you can follow after the procedure. within the first week or two, your mouth should be comfortable enough to use normally again.
If you are concerned that your recovery is progressing too slowly or are experiencing complications, call your dentist immediately.