Wisdom teeth are normally the last teeth to erupt in the human mouth. However, sometimes the jaw may not be large enough to accommodate the upcoming teeth, and this can lead to a situation of impacted wisdom teeth.
The abnormal development of the third molars (wisdom teeth) can impact the function of the second molar set. As a result, an oral surgeon may recommend the removal of the impacted teeth to prevent further dental issues and complex oral surgeries.
They are teeth that erupt partially or do not appear at all. In a partial eruption, half of the tooth structure remains concealed in the jawbone. Its medically referred to as a partial bony impaction. On the other hand, when the entire tooth fails to erupt, it is called a bony impaction, and in this case, the tooth stays covered by the jawbone.
Although there is a potential for four wisdom teeth (two in the upper jaw and two on the lower jaw), some people have all of them while others develop just one or two. It is estimated that around 25% of people lack at least one wisdom tooth.
Some researchers blame the impaction problem on dietary changes in the modern world. The stone-age mans diet necessitated more muscle activity in chewing, and this is believed to have enabled better jawbone development, thus providing enough space for wisdom teeth to grow as they should.
There is also an assumption that since the early man consumed coarse food that could potentially generate extensive tooth damage or loss; the teeth shifted forward, thus leaving adequate space for the eruption of wisdom teeth.
If your dentist recommends oral surgery to remove your impacted teeth, you should consider it because of possible infections and other dental problems that might arise. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and discomfort, and if they are partially or fully erupted, it might be challenging to keep them clean. As a result, plaque may accumulate in the area over time and lead to cavities, oral pain, and infections.
Such a situation is especially real for persons with misaligned teeth, partially erupted teeth or poor oral hygiene habits. If a difficult-to-remove mass of plaque develops, it can ultimately cause tooth decay and gum disease. Moreover, the teeth adjacent to the impacted teeth can be in imminent danger too. They can decay and require immediate removal.
The best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is complete removal at the earliest time recommended by your dentist. The ease of removal depends on the tooths position. Vertical impactions are the easiest to remove while distal impactions are the most difficult. That is why it is essential to consult a qualified dentist or oral surgeon to know if your wisdom teeth are harder or easier to remove.
Your dentist/oral surgeon will perform an oral examination to find out the extent of the damage and then give you pre-surgery guidelines like not eating or drinking anything before the surgery. You should also inform your doctor if you are currently taking any medication as it might interfere with the procedure.
Before the surgery, brush your teeth properly, floss, and also scrape your tongue. After the surgery, you wont be able to do those things for several days. You should also prepare a recovery room for yourself with a comfortable pillow and other essential items. Stock up on soft foods that will last you for a while after the surgery like broth or yogurt.
Without a doubt, oral surgery can cause a lot of anxiety. Other than asking your dentist to recommend some calming medication such as valium, you can also wear headphones that isolate any exterior noise. Listening to soothing music or a podcast can help to lower your anxiety. You can also ask a family member or friend to accompany you to the location of the surgery.
Anyone with a weak jaw requires bone grafting before dental surgery. Most people below 25 years do not need to undergo the process. The dentist will determine if you need one or not as they make a diagnosis.
Patients can choose sedation, nitrous and local, general anesthesia, or local anesthesia. Sedation is administered via an IV, and you will feel no pain. Nitrous and local is affordable, fast, efficient, wears off fast, and leaves the patient feeling bubbly and happy.
General anesthesia knocks the patient off entirely and works best for complicated tooth extraction procedures. Lastly, local anesthesia numbs the surgery site only, and one stays awake and feels some pressure, but no pain.
As you recover, please avoid: blowing or drinking out of a straw, smoking, spitting, brushing teeth for 2-3 days, taking too many painkillers, drinking cold water (warm is better), taking solid food for about one day, doing heavy activities, and rinsing your mouth.
If you experience symptoms such as excessive bleeding, problems in breathing or swallowing, pus/blood discharge from the nose, unbearable pain, excessive swelling, loss of sensation, or fever, please call your dentist right away.
Dr. Christopher T. Johnson completed dental school in 1998 graduating from the University of Florida, Gainesville. He has six years of post-graduate training in head and neck surgery where his Oral and Maxillofacial residency at the University of Florida, Jacksonville was heavily influenced with head and neck trauma, facial reconstruction, dentoalveolar and facial cosmetic surgery. In 2006 he became board certified by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.If you are seeing a dental practice that recommends you consult with an Oral Surgeon, we highly encourage you to contactDr. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson and his wife Lisa first met during his trauma and general surgery rotation. She worked as a trauma ICU nurse. They moved to Orlando where Dr. Johnson joined a group practice. After two years he and Lisa decided to start their own practice and selected Clermont as their primary location. Dr. Johnson and Lisa currently reside in Montverde with their two children, Isabella and Nicholas.
In 2012 Dr. Johnson decided to expand the practice to the Leesburg area. This gave him the opportunity to also serve the growing surrounding areas of The Villages, Tavares, Eustis, and Mt. Dora. As the practice continues to expand Dr. Johnson looks forward to many years of providing the best care possible in Lake County.