Trusted Wisdom Teeth Removal for Norwalk, Stamford, CT & the Nearby Areas
From babyhood to adolescence, teeth erupt in stages. By the age of eighteen the average adult has 32 teeth; 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth, (incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back teeth, also known as molar teeth, are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing. There are also four other teeth, or “third molars” we know as wisdom teeth.
Since the average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth, wisdom teeth can often cause problems such as pain and crowding and may require removal in order maintain optimal oral health. Serving patients throughout Norwalk, Westport, and Stamford, CT, at Premier Oral Surgery, we can perform an examination to determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary.
Why Do Some Patients Need Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Since wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth, most dentists usually perform examinations during the patient’s mid-teenage years. When the teeth align properly, and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. However, wisdom teeth typically do not have room to grow in properly which results in discomfort, infection, and other complications that make wisdom teeth removal necessary. When you visit Premier Oral Surgery, we will conduct an exam of the wisdom teeth to detect current or future problems.
Wisdom teeth can grow sideways in the jaw, partially emerge from the gum, and can even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. When the teeth partially erupt, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection, along with swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth can move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. Wisdom teeth can also become impacted in the jawbone, as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt. The most serious problem that can occur, is when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and nearby healthy teeth. When the teeth are impacted or otherwise poorly positioned, wisdom teeth removal is often the best solution.
With a wide range of possibilities and complications unique to each individual, our oral surgeon will discuss your options and recommend a course of treatment that is right for you. In most cases, the earlier the problem is detected, lowers the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Once it has been found that a patient will benefit from wisdom teeth removal, our oral surgeon will schedule the procedure. While every patient heals differently, removal of the wisdom teeth due to crowding or impaction should not affect your bite or oral health in the future. During recovery, swelling and tenderness in the face and neck are common, as is bruising and bleeding. If stitches were required during the procedure, the oral surgeon will remove them after a few days. Typically, ice packs and prescribed pain medications will help with discomfort in the days following surgery. While healing time may vary, soreness should subside within 7 to 10 days after surgery. If you have any questions or are concerned about what you are experiencing, contact our office and let our staff help you.
Complications after wisdom teeth removal are not common but can include dry socket (alveolar osteitis), infection, and numbness. After a tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the tooth socket and seals the area so that it can heal effectively. A dry socket can occur during the first five days after the extraction when the blood clot breaks down or is dislodged and exposes the bone and nerves of the tooth, which causes pain. To ease the pain caused by a dry socket, a dentist will rinse out the empty socket, remove any debris and apply medicated dressings to protect the area and decrease the pain. They will prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection and a painkiller to decrease discomfort. With proper care and rest, a dry socket should heal in an additional 7 to 10 days.
While only 2 to 5% of people who undergo wisdom teeth removal will experience a dry socket, our oral surgeon will discuss behaviors to avoid and proper care tips prior to the procedure.
- Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood.
- While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
- Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
- Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. Apply for 15 to 20 minutes at a time every hour for the first 24-48 hours. You can use moist heat such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out for the following 2 or 3 days.
- Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
- Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
- Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
- After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water.
- Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. Also, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgical area and greatly increases chance of infection at the surgical site/s.
- Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
- Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
If you need to discuss wisdom teeth removal or have questions about our other services, give us a call. Our office provides quality dental care services for Norwalk, Stamford, CT and the surrounding communities.