Why You May Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
In the past, human jaws were broader and the third set of molars known as wisdom teeth were used for mastication. Food was much coarser, as our diets consisted of plants and uncooked meat.
However, once our diets became focused on softer foods thanks to the advent of cooking, the human face structure adapted to fit our modern diets. Since humans no longer needed these third molars to break down our food, our jaws shrank.
Our teeth, however, still erupt as if we had these broader jaws. This often results in a lack of space to accommodate this extra set of teeth, which is why most people need to have them removed.
If you have a large enough jaw that your wisdom teeth erupted completely and straight, without causing you any problems, then you do not need to have them removed. Many people, however, have impacted or partially impacted teeth because there wasn’t enough space for the teeth to come through.
This can also cause these teeth to press on surrounding teeth, causing damage or orthodontic problems. When these teeth are impacted, it can result in repeated infections, tooth decay, and gum disease because it’s difficult to clean them or they are not accessible at all.
Signs That You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
If you experience symptoms such as tooth and jaw pain, sinus problems, bad breath, cysts, damage to the surrounding teeth, tooth decay, tooth infections, headaches, or gum disease, then you should have your wisdom teeth removed.
Other problems that impacted wisdom teeth can cause include difficulty chewing, tender and swollen gums, having a bad taste in the mouth, and difficulty opening the jaw. These are signs that your wisdom teeth are impacted and are causing a significant amount of discomfort or oral health problems.
Impacted wisdom teeth will not get better on their own, so the only solution is to have them removed. We may also recommend removal before they cause you any problems if we notice that they are in a problematic position in the jaw according to x-rays and are likely to cause problems in the future.
The Process & Procedure
Dr. Vane will first call you in for a consultation so she can examine your teeth and take x-rays to see if they are impacted. This will help her determine if you require a basic or surgical extraction. Impacted teeth need to be surgically removed while fully erupted teeth require a basic removal.
Pain Relief & Sedation
Before using any invasive tools, we will administer a local anesthetic to numb your mouth so you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. If you prefer to be sedated, we also offer conscious and IV sedation for those with dental anxiety or special needs.
Once you’re fully numbed and/or sedated, we will make an incision into the gums to reveal access to the impacted wisdom teeth. In some cases, additional bone may need to be removed if it is blocking access to the tooth. The wisdom teeth are then sectioned, which means cutting them into smaller fragments, so they are easier to remove.
Loosening & Removal
After we’ve sectioned the teeth, we will use a dental elevator to loosen them in the socket and then grab them with forceps to remove them. This is the same process done in a basic extraction.
Sutures & Aftercare
After the teeth have been removed, we will file away any left-behind bone fragments and suture the extraction site closed. Dr. Vane will provide you with aftercare instructions and gauze will be placed in the socket for you to bite down on to stop the bleeding.