Wisdom Teeth Removal
Our oral surgeons are dental specialists. They have had years of experience and have been trained to perform surgical procedures on the mouth, jaw and teeth. Dentists are able to perform minor oral surgeries, however, our oral surgeons step in when more specialized procedures are required. We have the best oral surgeons you will find when it comes to qualifications. There is a lot of training and experience required to become an oral surgeon in the first place. These professionals have had to attend years of dental school and have had four to six years of surgical training. They are also highly skilled in administering the anesthesia required for oral surgeries.
Our oral surgeons are the professionals who specialize in wisdom teeth removal, as this is a surgical procedure. If you are unsure if you need your wisdom teeth removed, it is important you come in for an oral exam. There are several things we look for when determining if you need your wisdom teeth removed, whether it be one or all of them.
When you make an appointment for your wisdom teeth, you will meet Dr. R. Heath Hendrickson. We call him “Dr. Wisdom Teeth.” He has had over fourteen years of experience in the particular procedure of examining and removing wisdom teeth, making him quite the expert.
We consider your wisdom teeth to be “healthy” if they meet certain criteria. To start with, these teeth must be completely grown in and classified as fully erupted. They must also be positioned correctly and line up properly when your jaw opens and closes. All sides of them must be easy to clean when brushing and flossing daily. If your wisdom teeth meet all of these requirements, you may not need them removed at all.
If you have experienced any of the following symptoms, it is a sign that your wisdom teeth are the cause of your oral issues:
- Pain within your mouth or jaw
- Repeated infection of soft tissue behind the lower last tooth
- Fluid-filled sacs (cysts)
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Gum disease
- Extensive tooth decay
Most of our patients need their wisdom teeth removed for several reasons. Wisdom teeth commonly do not have room to grow properly and qualify as what we consider healthy. When these teeth do not come in correctly, they cause problems. Wisdom teeth can actually grow at various angles within the jaw, sometimes even horizontally. We can detect this growth during an oral exam and by taking simple x-rays that show the teeth below the gum line. If these teeth remain completely hidden beneath the gum line and do not emerge normally, infections of the mouth occur. These infections can damage both the roots of your teeth as well bone support in your jaw. When your wisdom teeth only partially emerge, they become a doorway for bacteria and gum disease. They also crowd the healthy teeth in your mouth causing damage to those teeth.
We suggest that if you do need your wisdom teeth removed, it is better to do it sooner rather than later. Ideally, wisdom teeth should be removed during your teenage years or younger. During this time, the roots in your teeth have not fully formed, making the procedure and recovery time much faster. We also suggest you have them removed when you can take a least a few days off to fully recover, since you will experience normal discomfort and swelling.
What to expect the day of surgery
Our wisdom teeth extraction is an outpatient procedure. This means that you arrive early on the day of your surgery to be prepped and once the procedure is complete, you get to return home the same day. You are given a few different choices for anesthesia, all of which can cause you to feel a little foggy. You may not even remember getting home, and this is perfectly normal. We also require you to have someone to drive you home for this reason. We will go over the anesthesia process in detail before your surgery so you know what to expert.
After your surgery is complete, some pain and swelling is a normal side effect as you regain the feeling in your mouth. You will be given medication to manage the pain and swelling to make recovery as comfortable as possible. Ice packs should be used directly on your face for swelling as well. We are able to both prescribe you medication and advise you on over-the-counter options.
What to eat during recovery
After the surgery, when you feel like eating, there are important things to remember to ensure your mouth heals properly and no infections occur. You can eat foods that are soft and do not require a lot of chewing. Cottage cheese, pudding, smoothies (eaten with a spoon), and soup are all safe foods to consume. It is also very important that you do not use a straw to drink any beverages, as this will cause complications. You must also completely avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking.
The recovery time differs for each person. This is determined by the condition of your wisdom teeth the day of surgery. The majority of patients fully recover from surgery in three to four day. If your teeth were impacted or were growing in at severe angles, you can expect a full week of recovery time. You will need to come in to get the area of surgery cleaned in order to avoid infections and remove food that may become stuck around the area.
How to keep your mouth clean after surgery
Rinsing your mouth with salt water is an effective way to keep your wounds clean. Instead of spitting out the salt water, you need to lean over the sink and let it fall out of your mouth so that you don’t dislodge your stitches. You can also use the gauze we will give you to help control any small amounts of blood around the area. It is also important to avoid any activity that can cause injury to your mouth while it is healing.