The wisdom teeth are often extracted to ensure that enough room remains in the mouth to prevent dental crowding. Wisdom teeth are the third molars. They are the last teeth to erupt and are positioned in the back of the mouth.
Wisdom teeth are not necessary to properly chew your food. Thus, their removal does not prevent thorough mastication.
Nevertheless, the presence of wisdom teeth can cause tooth decay issues. Additionally, the teeth may cause significant discomfort during their eruption process. Some wisdom teeth have so little room to break through the gums that they grow laterally instead of vertically. The sideways growth can place pressure on the adjacent teeth, possibly forcing them into dental misalignment.
The dentist performs the extraction of the wisdom teeth one of two ways, depending on the positioning of the teeth.
Simple Extraction of the Wisdom Teeth
If the teeth have fully broken through the gums, the dentist may be able to perform simple extractions. During a simple extraction procedure, the dentist does not have to cut the gums. Instead, they simply grasp each designated tooth firmly and pull. The tooth releases from its socket. If the tooth breaks during the removal, a surgical extraction may be necessary.
Surgical Extraction of the Wisdom Teeth
A surgical extraction is required when the dentist has to cut the gums to extract a wisdom tooth. Thus, a wisdom tooth that has not fully erupted can only be extracted surgically.
What to Expect After the Removal of a Wisdom Tooth
After the tooth's removal, the gingival tissues heal, and a clot forms. Immediately following your procedure, your dentist may ask you to only consume soft foods. Additionally, you will likely be asked to refrain from sipping through a straw, since the suction may dislodge the clot, causing a painful condition called dry socket.
To help alleviate some of your discomfort, your dentist may suggest over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Also, they may suggest the use of an ice pack for swollen jaws.
A piece of gauze is usually placed over the extraction site. To help control the bleeding, you can bite down firmly on the gauze. Additionally, if you have trouble controlling the bleeding, a tea bag may be used in place of the gauze. The tea contains tannic acid that helps constrict blood vessels to reduce blood flow.
For more information about wisdom tooth extraction, schedule a consultation with a dentist in your local area.