Usually early on in one’s adulthood or late in their teen years, they may feel pain or discomfort in the back of their mouths. That’s because one or several teeth are trying to push their way in. These teeth are known as wisdom teeth – and they almost always need to be removed. Palm Harbor residents want to go to their dentist for this.
The first thing to learn is exactly what wisdom teeth are. They have nothing to do with one’s intelligence or ability to figure things out. These teeth usually emerge when people are older and have some life lessons behind them, hence the “wisdom” part. There was an ancient Latin phrase, “dens sapientiae” which means wisdom tooth. It was thought that these teeth helped ancient man eat their diet of meat and other rough foods which could wear down the other ones fast.
People have had trouble with these teeth for thousands of years, with even Aristotle making note of it. It was only when the Industrial Age and the change in people’s diets became quite different that it became very problematic, since their teeth changed and jaws became smaller. There are a variety of ways that it can affect people – from impacted teeth to having cavities from not being able to reach the back tooth. So, the wisdom tooth or teeth has to go.
An oral surgeon will likely be the one doing this – they have studied the human jaw extensively and have been trained in the proper way to do it. It’s always good to talk with the surgeon beforehand and let them know of any allergies or medical conditions so that they can determine if there will be any possible adverse side effects from any anesthesia or post-removal medication.
After that, it’s just a matter of getting ready. It depends on if it was determined that local or general anesthesia will be used. The medication may applied orally, intravenously, or via a mask. If it’s local, the patient should be OK to drive home themselves. People who have the general anesthetic and are asleep throughout the procedure will be too groggy and have impaired reflexes, so after the wisdom tooth removal is over and they wake up, someone will have to drive them home.
The wisdom-tooth extraction is usually not a long procedure, lasting roughly 45 minutes. It depends on the state of the tooth and where it is located. Sometimes it takes a fairly straightforward yank with plier-like instruments while other times it may take a bit of digging or the tooth may have to come out in pieces. In either case, the surgeon will ensure that the whole tooth has been removed and then will close up the area. They will extract however many wisdom teeth they deem are needed – though some people are born without one or more.
This is the most crucial part of the whole thing. The dentist will have used stitches to close up the area and probably also put gauze in to clean up any blood. The patient will likely feel some pain and see cheek swelling for a few days. One thing that can lessen the swelling is applying ice to the area for 20 minutes at a time. Painkillers like Tylenol are OK, along with Motrin or Advil.
It’s important to keep the area clean, so gently swish with warm salt water. Do not drink from a straw, since that can dislodge the blood clot that is aiding healing… and it can open the door to a painful condition called dry socket. Smoking is out, too, since that can keep the area from healing. It’s generally a good idea to rest for the entire day of the procedure, since that will help the recovery process. Eat pasta, rice, or soup and avoid crunchy foods.
People usually are back to total normal a day or two later. The stitches usually dissolve, but it’s a good idea to have a follow-up appointment with one’s regular dentist to ensure that everything has gone smoothly. Of course, they should seek help if they feel pain days later or if they have a fever.
Medicine and dental technology has made this a largely simple matter. Patients are able to resume their lives very quickly. It’s important to have this done though, since the alternative of a crowded or impacted mouth can be far more uncomfortable for a lot longer than a few days of post-extraction discomfort.
VIP Dental Center is an excellent choice for this if you live in the Palm Harbor area. Their staff is well-equipped to handle the entire process and can guide you through the recovery. Give them a call at 727-787-2424.