Understanding the Preventive Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Removal

X-ray of the jaw.

Many patients are plagued with anxiety at the thought of wisdom tooth extraction. But untreated wisdom teeth can be very painful, and can lead to negative oral health consequences. Our highly experienced dentists offers wisdom tooth removal at his Long Island, New York, practice. Contact us to receive the care you need for your wisdom teeth. 

Why Wisdom Teeth are Removed

Wisdom teeth are the third set of permanent molars that typically emerge in your late teens or early twenties. There is often not enough room for them in your mouth. Consequently, many wisdom teeth are fully or partially impacted, unable to completely break through the gums. Wisdom teeth that do erupt are often forced into awkward angles, such as outward, toward your cheek, backward, or toward your throat.

Impaction and angled teeth can cause a number of complications:

  • Damage to other teeth: The pressure of wisdom teeth pushing against your other molars can result in a misaligned bite, trauma to your teeth, and increased risk of infection.
  • Cysts: Wisdom teeth develop while enclosed in a small sac in the jaw bone. If fluid begins to build up in this sac, a cyst can form, and potentially cause damage to the bone tissue, nerves, or surrounding teeth.
  • Tooth decay or periodontitis: Since impacted wisdom teeth can cause structural issues, it can be more difficult to clean your teeth, and much easier for debris to collect in the crevices. These structural issues can leave you more vulnerable to cavities and infection of the teeth, tooth roots, and surrounding tissue.

While wisdom teeth do not always cause problems, the potential complications are common enough that most dentists recommend removing them. If problems develop, wisdom teeth are much easier to treat as a young adult than later on.

Your Procedure

While wisdom tooth removal is an outpatient procedure, patients cannot return to their normal routine immediately. You should arrange for someone to drive you home from your surgery, and plan for several days of recovery.

Before your procedure begins, we will administer an anesthetic to help minimize discomfort. Typically, you will receive both a local anesthetic to numb the surgical site, and either oral sedation or general anesthesia to relax you.

Next, we will make an incision in the gums at the treatment site. Any tissue blocking the tooth and its root must be removed before the tooth itself can be extracted. Depending on the angle and how tightly the tooth is connected, we may need to break the tooth and remove it in several parts.

Once the tooth and root are completely removed, the incision is closed with self-dissolving stitches. We will also place gauze over the empty socket to stop bleeding. 

Your Recovery

For the first two to three days after the procedure, patients typically report aches, bleeding, and swelling at the treatment site. Swollen jaw muscles can make it difficult to open your mouth wide. Pain medication and cold compresses can help manage both symptoms.

Patients should be particularly careful not to dislodge the blood clot over the empty socket. This can delay healing and may cause serious pain in the socket. You should avoid using straws or touching the socket during the first few days after your surgery. This ensures that the clot has time to heal securely.

Contact Us Today

At Smiles on Broadway Dental Care, we strive to provide consistent, thorough service so that we are able to build the foundation for long-term patient-provider relationships. If you are suffering from the discomfort caused by an impacted wisdom tooth, reach out today to schedule your appointment