Anthropologists believe that our wisdom teeth were the evolutionary answer to our ancestor’s rough, coarse diets. Many theorize that this third set of molars has become vestigial with the advent of eating utensils and a softer diet. This may be why many patients experience problems when their wisdom teeth erupt. At Tigard Family Dental, we provide wisdom tooth extractions to help avoid future complications with your mouth.
Why You May Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Wisdom teeth typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 21, making them the last teeth to emerge. Since they are the last teeth to erupt, there is often not enough room left in the jaw to accommodate them. This can cause wisdom teeth to become impacted, or trapped beneath the gum tissue. Impacted teeth can cause swelling, tenderness, and pain.
Wisdom teeth are also prone to erupting in the wrong position. This is usually the result of a small ridge. If your wisdom teeth come in at an angle, they may be very difficult to properly brush and floss. They can also make it difficult to clean your other molars. This is known as crowding. Crowding can also lead to misalignments with your bite.
For these reasons and more, we may recommend extraction before they erupt. If they are allowed to erupt, they should be closely monitored, especially if there is evidence of:
|Damage to surrounding teeth
|Tumors or cysts
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Tooth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. Most wisdom teeth extractions involve a minor surgery because they have not yet erupted. Before the procedure, Dr. Travis Cochell will recommend some form of sedation, whether it be nitrous oxide, IV sedation, or general anesthesia. We will also numb the area using a local anesthetic such as Novocain. During the surgery, we will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the teeth. In some cases, the teeth must be broken into sections during the removal process. Once the removal is complete, we will suture your incisions. We then pack the extractions sites with gauze to limit the bleeding. Most extractions usually take about 45 minutes.
After Your Extraction
For the first 24 hours after surgery there are several things you can expect:
|Bleeding. To reduce bleeding, avoid rinsing, spitting, sucking motions, and hot or carbonated liquids. A small degree of bleeding is normal. If heaving bleed occurs, be sure to contact us as soon as possible.
|Swelling. After the extraction, you may notice some facial swelling. You can minimize swelling by applying an ice pack to the swollen area at 10-minute intervals.
|Pain medications and antibiotics. Depending on the difficulty of your extraction, we may prescribe pain medications. Most patients can relieve discomfort with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. We may also prescribe an antibiotic before the procedure to treat an active infection.
|Foods. Be sure to limit your diet to soft, cool foods and liquids.
After the first 24 hours, you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water to clean the area. Be sure to watch for signs of dry socket, a painful condition that occurs if a blood clot fails to form in the extraction site. Most people will be completely healed in a few weeks.
Schedule Your Consultation
Call (971) 762-1262 to schedule your consultation today!