10 Answers to Common Questions about Wisdom Teeth

10 answers to common questions about wisdom teeth

Is it safe to get the wisdom tooth removed?

Wisdom tooth removal is only complex when it is a surgical procedure. If wisdom teeth have not yet fully erupted and are buried under the gums at the back of the mouth then this is usually performed surgically by a specialist dentist or oral surgeon. If a wisdom tooth has erupted normally and is in line with no other complications then removing the wisdom tooth is as safe as removing any other tooth in your mouth.

How to treat a gum infection near my wisdom tooth?

The gum infection near wisdom tooth should be treated the same as any other form of gum infection, and that is to identify the cause. Gum infections go through a series of stages starting off with mild reddening and information of the gums through to bleeding. The infection can then progress to periodontal disease, a more serious form of gum disease where the information encompasses the whole tooth.

The treatment of any form of gum infection at home can be very difficult, the first thing to do would be to look at your oral health care routine to ensure your cleaning your teeth adequately. If the gum infection is at an early stage then cleaning more effectively to remove plaque buildup can help to treat the gum infection. If the infection has moved onto a more serious stage then it may be more difficult to treat at home, this is because the daily plaque has not been removed and has built up into tartar. This tartar adheres to the tooth causing the inflammation around the gum. Only dental professionals will be able to remove this built up layer and treat the gum infection.

How to tell if I have dislodged a wisdom tooth blood clot?

If you have dislodged a wisdom tooth blood clot then you will either see the clot in your mouth and/or the socket will begin to bleed again. If the socket begins to bleed again simply apply a piece of sterile gauze over the area and gently bite down on it, some people like to use an old teabag (the tanic acid in tea has been shown to help to reduce blood flow). If you see the clot in your mouth yet there is no additional bleeding AND this is in the first week after the extraction then you ought to contact your dentist as you may be at risk of developing a dry socket.

A dry socket occurs when the protective blood clot either does not form, is absorbed too early or is dislodged leaving the bone, tissue and nerve endings exposed. This can be extremely painful although thankfully is also extremely rare, occurring in only 5% of people.

Very often a dry socket will become apparent a couple of days after the surgical extraction and symptoms can include extreme pain covering the whole side of your face which is often accompanied by an odour in the mouth.

If you think you may have a dry socket then you should contact your dentist within 24 hours.

What happens if you have a decaying wisdom tooth?

If a wisdom tooth decays it is like any other tooth in your mouth, eventually the decay will eat down to the nerve and become extremely painful. This can result in tooth loss as well as other extremely uncomfortable problems such as access. This is when a fluid filled area built up extreme pressure around the outside of your tooth as a result of an infection.

What is the after care of wisdom teeth removal?

The general guidance after having the wisdom tooth removed is to:

  • Avoid rinsing or spitting forcibly for at least 24 hours to avoid dislodging any clot.
  • After this time you can rinse gently with warm water that has had half a teaspoon of salt dissolved into a tumbler.
  • Take any prescribed painkillers at the intervals given to you by your dentist. Any general pain or discomfort should easily be kept under control with these.
  • Use an ice bag immediately after the procedure to help keep the swelling down.
  • Do not smoke as this can inhibit your body’s natural healing process.
  • Keep your head slightly elevated when you lay down, this can help to control any slight bleeding.
  • Continue your regular oral health care routine on your other teeth, but do not rinse with mouthwash for at least 24 hours.

What is the medical term for wisdom teeth removal?

When you have any impacted wisdom tooth removed it is considered minor oral surgery ( MOS), tooth extraction is known scientifically as EXODONTIA.

Can I keep slightly impacted wisdom teeth?

Deciding if you want to remove wisdom teeth can be quite difficult. The problem with an impacted wisdom tooth is the way it affects the tooth in front. Impacted wisdom teeth usually lay flat in the mouth facing forwards, the have a tendency to drift towards the front of the mouth and can push each tooth. The result is that your teeth can move over time becoming more and more crowded and crooked, this can then affect the way your teeth bite together.

Sometimes the wisdom teeth partially erupt. If that partial eruption is in a vertical manner, in other words in the correct place then it should cause no problem at all. If however the tooth is partially erupted and impacted then it can be very difficult to clean around the tooth and a permanent tooth pocket may sue, this can then lead to further problems.

When can I drink out a straw after a wisdom tooth extraction?

drinking out of a straw has a tendency to squirt the liquid directly onto the tooth socket. This can dislodge any plot causing a dry socket as previously discussed. You should avoid drinking through a straw for at least 24 hours after your extraction.

Can wisdom teeth become loose?

Disease and decay are what cause teeth to become loose. More specifically teeth become loose if there is gingivitis and periodontitis around said tooth. Wisdom teeth are not immune to this and can also become loose if they are not looked after properly.

Can you get dry socket with stitches? How can it be prevented?

It is still possible to get a dry socket with stitches although it is less as the stitches close the wound making it less likely for the clot to dislodge. However Sometimes the body can still absorbed plot to quickly and dry socket can form underneath. If you notice any of the symptoms of a dry socket including extreme pain or a particularly bad odour then you should visit your dentist immediately.

To prevent a dry socket you should keep yourself well hydrated but be careful not to rinse the water around in your mouth too much. If you smoke you should also stop smoking as this can exacerbate dry socket formation. You should also avoid raising your heartbeat too much immediately after an extraction, this raised heart rate and blood pressure can also dislodge clots. If you engage in any contact sports which involve disruption to your mouth you should also avoid these immediately after having a tooth extracted.

 

 

Originally from Birmingham, Philip achieved his Bachelor of Dental Surgery, BDS with Merit from University of Wales Cardiff Dental School In 1997. Having worked in several practices, he has been dedicated to private practice since 2002.

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