You may need a wisdom teeth extraction at some point in your life. It is rare for a person to have enough room for all of their wisdom teeth, and as a result, they tend to grow in impacted. This can be uncomfortable, push your other teeth forward, and create a space for food to become trapped; it can also increase your risk of infection and decay. This is why we often recommend that our patients have their wisdom teeth removed. When you schedule an appointment with Portola Dental Group, we can examine you, take X-rays, and let you know if and when you should schedule an extraction procedure. You can reach us by calling (760) 201-4085.
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars and generally will be the last four of the 32 teeth that erupt in the mouth. Wisdom teeth will usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25, and are located in the back of the mouth on the top and bottom. They are referred to as “wisdom” teeth due to the fact that they will usually appear around the same time that a person is becoming an adult or gaining wisdom.
Due to the typical spacing of the mouth, the lack of room will usually make wisdom teeth not erupt properly and therefore not become functional. When this happens, it potentially can cause the tooth to become impacted in a harmful position causing cysts, pain, and tumors. These impacts must be removed in order to maintain good oral health, and the severity of the removal will usually fall into one of three types of impacts:
Soft Tissue Impaction:This happens when the upper portion of the tooth (crown) has made it through the bone, but the gingiva (gum) is covering part of the crown, causing infections as a result of improper ability to clean the area.
Partial Bony Impaction:The tooth has made it partially out, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. This is a common producer of infections due to an inability to keep the area clean.
Complete Bony Impaction:The most difficult impaction, where the tooth is completely encased by the jawbone.
Reasons to remove wisdom teeth
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed, but they are commonly taken out in order to prevent future problems with pain or impaction.
- Damage to nearby teeth:The second molars can be damaged if the wisdom teeth are impacted. Infection and jaw problems can occur.
- Disease:Cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
- Infection:Bacteria and food can cause infections if not properly removed. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to keep clean and are prone to infection.
- Tooth Crowding:There are theories that crowding as a result of wisdom teeth being allowed to remain cause misalignment of teeth, leading to jaw pain and potential issues.
Wisdom teeth examination
A thorough examination of the mouth as the wisdom teeth begin to come in, combined with extensive x-rays will allow the dentist to make an accurate determination if the wisdom teeth can pose a potential danger to oral health or the surrounding teeth. Many wisdom teeth are removed as a precaution if it is determined that the risk of jaw bone loss exists, or that they are coming in with potential issues surrounding them.
What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?
Local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist is typically all that is necessary in order to have a removal process be completely painless. The wisdom teeth are removed using specialized instruments, and generally, there will be no need for any type of overnight stay. Post-surgical instructions will be provided, and pain medication will be prescribed based on the severity of the extraction.
What is an extraction?
This is a dental procedure where your wisdom teeth are removed. How they are removed will be based on their current location and whether or not they are impacted.
What is the procedure like?
First, you will receive anesthesia in order to numb the area being worked on. Some dentists and oral surgeons may also offer nitrous oxide to help you relax or put you to sleep so you do not remember anything about the actual procedure.
If your wisdom teeth have grown in straight, removing them is fairly easy. In this case, you would visit a dentist to have them pulled out using dental tools. Most likely, no surgery would be required. However, if your teeth are impacted, the procedure requires oral surgery. In order to access the actual tooth, the gum tissue covering it will need to be cut open. After numbing the area, a flap will be created in the gum tissue. This allows the dentist or oral surgeon to view the tooth. If muscle or bone is covering it, that will also need to be cut away to provide clear access to the actual tooth. At this point, your dentist may be able to grab the tooth and simply lift it out of the socket. If, however, it does not budge when being wiggled, then the actual tooth will need to be broken into several pieces that can be extracted individually.
Once the tooth has been entirely removed, the area will need to be carefully cleaned. Afterward, the flap of gum tissue can lay flat and be sutured back in place. In order to stop the bleeding, the dentist will place gauze on the area.
Check out what others are saying about our wisdom teeth extraction services on Yelp: Wisdom Teeth Extraction Palm Desert.
What are the aftercare steps following wisdom teeth extraction?
Immediately following a wisdom teeth extraction, you will remain at the dentist office until the effects of the anesthesia have worn off. During this time, you will be monitored to ensure that any bleeding has slowed and that the gauze is working sufficiently. So long as it is, you will be sent home to finish your recovery. Just make sure you have someone pick you up so you do not need to drive home on your own.
At Portola Dental Group, we tell patients who are planning for an extraction to prepare ahead of time. You will need to rest when you get home, so have your bed ready with plenty of pillows to prop up your head. Fill your nightstand with water bottles, additional gauze, ibuprofen, and some good books or movies. Plan on taking it easy for the next 48 hours. During that time, you may want to eat a lot of popsicles, ice cream, yogurt, warm soup, Jell-O, and other foods that are soft and do not require chewing. You will be too sore to try and eat anything else.
To help control the swelling, you should ice your face for 15 minutes at a time and take ibuprofen around the clock. This should be done for 24 to 48 hours. Afterward, you may still need some ibuprofen, but icing may no longer be necessary.
Gradually, you will be able to add in solid foods and begin to eat like normal. The key is to take it easy and not rush the process. Slowly add soft foods that are easy to chew and work your way up to dining at your favorite Palm Desert restaurant. It may take up to two weeks to be 100 percent back to normal, so during this time, be sure to avoid any nuts, chips, or foods that could crunch and scratch your gum tissue.
You will need to schedule a follow-up visit with the dentist who performed the procedure to ensure that you are healing properly. During this visit, you will get the sign off to return to normal eating habits.
How long is wisdom teeth extraction recovery time?
The first 48 hours are critical since this is when you may experience bleeding, pressure, and swelling. After this, it can take a week or two to recover fully. Your actual recovery time will be based on the procedure and whether or not your wisdom teeth extraction was completed with surgery.
How to prevent an infection after removal?
As a dentist, we are always concerned about infections post-surgery. Whether you have a wisdom teeth extraction or need to have another tooth removed, there is always the risk that the area will become exposed to bacteria. To prevent this, you should rinse your mouth periodically with warm saltwater. Brushing your teeth is also important, even though you need to carefully avoid the surgical site. In some cases, an antibiotic mouth rinse may also be prescribed.
Is a wisdom teeth extraction really necessary?
At Portola Dental Group, we understand that each of our patients is unique and so are their teeth. Whether or not you need to have your wisdom teeth removed by a dentist, will really depend on the size of your palate. If you have plenty of room for all of your teeth and your third molars, they can stay in place. There is no point in removing something that grows in straight and is healthy. However, any tooth that grows in impacted needs to be removed because it is posing a direct threat to your other teeth and roots in addition to being a target for infections. The best way to find out if your wisdom teeth should be removed is to call 760-201-4085 and schedule an appointment with our Palm Desert dentist office. We can make a recommendation and answer any other questions you have about the procedure itself.
If you live in the Palm Desert area, call (760) 201-4085 to schedule your dental exam so that you can remain in good dental health or receive treatment for a current condition.
Helpful Related Links
- American Dental Association (ADA). Glossary of Dental Terms. 2015
- American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry® (AACD). Home Page. 2015
- WebMD. WebMD’s Oral Care Guide. 2015
About our business, license, and website security
- Portola Dental Group was established in 1988
- We accept the following payment methods: American Express, Cash, Check, Discover, MasterCard, and Visa
- We serve patients from the following counties: Riverside County
- We serve patients from the following cities: Palm Desert, Rancho Mirage, La Quinta, Cathedral City, Indio
- Website Safety Ratings and Reputation – AVG Threat Labs. View Details
- Norton Safe Web. View Details
- Trend Micro Site Safety Center. View Details
Back to top of Wisdom Teeth Extraction