Wisdom teeth are commonly referred to as “third molars” but are more prone to problems during eruption (breaking through the gum tissue). Since wisdom teeth are the last to erupt—usually between the ages of 17 and 21—there is little room left in the mouth. As a result, wisdom teeth may erupt sideways, only partially, or become trapped (impacted), leading to pain, infection, and gum line and facial swelling. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves. Wisdom teeth that lean toward the second molars make those teeth more vulnerable to decay by entrapping plaque and debris. When any of these conditions arise, Dr. Philipp may determine that wisdom tooth extraction is necessary.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The relative ease at which Dr. Philipp can extract your wisdom teeth depends on their position. He will be able to give you an idea of what to expect during your pre-extraction exam. A wisdom tooth that is fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as easily as any other tooth. However, a wisdom tooth that is underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone will require an incision into the gums and then removal of the portion of bone that lies over the tooth. Oftentimes, for a tooth in this situation, the tooth will be extracted in small sections rather than removed in one piece to minimize the amount of bone that needs to be removed to get the tooth out.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery
Wisdom teeth extraction recovery takes approximately five to seven days, with the gum area being fully healed in approximately three to four weeks. Once you have undergone the surgical extraction procedure, there are several steps to take to ensure proper healing and recovery from the procedure.
During the first 24 hours after wisdom teeth removal, you can expect some bleeding. To control bleeding, a moist, clean piece of gauze can be placed over the extraction site. Biting pressure applied for 45 minutes should stop the bleeding. A teabag also is an effective alternative to gauze to prevent bleeding, with the added benefit of tannic acid, which assists in clot formation. If heavy bleeding occurs for an extended time, contact Dr. Philipp.
Stitches may be used during your procedure if the wisdom tooth is impacted and must be removed from under the surface of the gum line. If the stitches are not self-dissolving, they will need to be removed post-operatively. Dr. Philipp will discuss with you whether or not you need to return to the dental office to have them removed.