Wisdom Teeth Removal in Belgrade, MT
One of the most important reasons your dentist captures x-rays during your regular visits is to search for signs of wisdom teeth. Also known as your third molars, wisdom teeth form in the back four corners of your mouth. Although some patients may not have them or experience any pain, in many cases, wisdom teeth will need to be removed. At River Rock Dental Group, our skilled dentist can extract the wisdom teeth that are causing issues. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Timothy R. Lund today.
What is Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
Put simply, wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure where the third molars are extracted. The wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to erupt (appear) in your mouth. If they do not have room to grow properly they are considered to be impacted. The impacted teeth may erupt partially or not at all, depending on the situation. The development becomes problematic when they:
- Grow facing the next tooth (second molar)
- Grow at a right angle to the other teeth, seemingly “laying down”
- Grow at an angle toward the back of the mouth
- Grow straight like other teeth but remain lodged in the jaw bone
Impacted wisdom teeth will most likely cause dental problems, such as:
- Tooth decay in a partially erupted tooth
- Trapped food and debris behind the wisdom teeth
- Infection or gum disease (periodontal disease)
- Development of a cyst around the wisdom teeth
- Damage to a nearby tooth or surrounding structures
- Complications with orthodontic treatment
It may also be recommended to remove your wisdom teeth even if they aren’t causing any issues. For instance, symptom-free wisdom teeth may still become infected in the future, due to their hard-to-reach location. Extractions are also simpler and less complex to perform on younger adults because their roots aren’t fully developed. As you age, the roots of your wisdom teeth will lengthen and become curved, making the procedure more difficult.
What to Expect During a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Depending on the suspected complexity of the procedure and your comfort level, your dentist will administer one or a combination of the following anesthetics:
- Local anesthesia. Your dentist will apply a numbing substance onto your gums before injecting the anesthetic into each area of extraction. You will be awake, but shouldn’t feel any pain.
- Sedative anesthesia. The medicine will be injected into your arm intravenously (through an IV), and will suppress your consciousness. You won’t feel any pain and will have limited memory of the procedure. Local anesthetics can be applied as well.
- General anesthesia. Whether you inhale the medication through your nose or via an IV line, you will not experience pain or have memory of the procedure. The surgical team will monitor you closely throughout the process, and local anesthesia may also be administered to increase postoperative comfort.
Once the anesthetic is administered, your dentist will create an incision in your gum tissue to expose the wisdom tooth and surrounding bone. If necessary, they will remove the bone that’s blocking access to your root. If it is easier to remove in pieces, they will divide the tooth into sections. After the tooth is removed, they will thoroughly clean the area, removing any debris or bone fragments.
Next, your dentist will insert stitches if necessary to promote healing. Finally, gauze will be placed over the exposed hole (called the socket) in order to control bleeding, as well as to form a blood clot. Depending on the anesthetic received, you will either recover in a dedicated room or briefly within the dentist chair. Most patients are able to return home the same day.
The Healing Process
Since wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure, it’s important that you follow your dentist’s instructions for recovery. During the healing process, you can expect the following:
- Intermittent bleeding. It’s normal to experience periodic bleeding within the first 24 hours following surgery. Be sure to replace the gauze according to your dentist’s instructions and avoid spitting so as to not dislodge the blood clot.
- Bruising and swelling. Any swelling in your cheeks is common and will most likely improve after two or three days. Although bruising may take several days to disappear, ice packs are helpful.
- Pain management. Once your anesthetic wears off, it’s likely you’ll experience some degree of pain. Depending on the complexity of your procedure, you can either manage your pain with over-the-counter medication or a prescription. Applying cold packs to your jaw will help as well, especially if bone was removed.
- Eating. For the first 24 hours, only consume soft foods, such as yogurt, applesauce, or pudding. Introduce semi-soft foods as you’re comfortable, but avoid hard, chewy, or spicy foods, as they can irritate the wound or get stuck in the socket.
- Drinking. Be sure to drink plenty of water after your wisdom tooth extraction. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, carbonation, and hot beverages during the first 24 hours. Additionally, don’t use straws for at least a week to avoid losing the blood clot.
- Activity levels. Expect to rest for the remainder of the day following your procedure. You may resume your regular day-to-day tasks after 24 hours, but avoid strenuous activity for at least a week.
- Cleaning your mouth. Don’t brush your teeth, spit, or use mouthwash in the first 24 hours. When cleaning, be extra gentle around the surgical wound and use a soft bristled toothbrush.
Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed? Contact Us Today
If you are experiencing pain, discomfort, or have an infection, it’s critical that you schedule an appointment at our dentist office in Belgrade. Whether or not your wisdom teeth are impacted, a consultation with our dentist will help you determine the next best steps. At River Rock Dental Group, we take pride in our dedication to ensuring patient comfort during each visit. It’s our goal to help you achieve and maintain optimal oral health for a lifetime. Contact us today to schedule your wisdom teeth removal consultation.