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Wheaton Oral Surgery and Implant Center

Can You Live With Your Wisdom Teeth?

3D rendered xray of an impacted wisdom tooth (highlighted in red) butting against the tooth next to it.Many people wonder if they can live comfortably with their wisdom teeth. While some manage without issues, others face complications. Knowing your unique dental needs is crucial. We welcome you to explore your options and seek expert advice at Wheaton Oral Surgery, where personalized care meets dental excellence.

Understanding Wisdom Teeth

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the four teeth that emerge at the back of your mouth. What distinguishes wisdom teeth is that they are typically the strongest and broadest, specifically designed for grinding food.

When Do Wisdom Teeth Typically Erupt?

Wisdom teeth usually emerge in adulthood, typically between the ages of 17 and 25. However, some people may experience their eruption a bit later or not at all. These teeth are also known as the third molars.

Why Do Wisdom Teeth Often Cause Problems?

Many people face a range of issues with their wisdom teeth, while others experience no problems at all. If your wisdom teeth emerge correctly through the gums without displacing adjacent teeth, you can retain them for an extended period without extraction. Proper eruption allows for regular brushing and flossing like other teeth.

Problems with wisdom teeth often begin when they erupt at an angle, impacting the adjacent tooth. This condition, known as impaction, can lead to complications. Impacted wisdom teeth can be challenging to clean, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum infections like pericoronitis.

Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Common Symptoms to Look Out For

Common symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth include difficulty in fully opening your mouth, such as when yawning. You may notice red, swollen, or bleeding gums near the wisdom tooth, along with tenderness in the gums. Swelling around the jaw, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, bad breath, or halitosis are also indicative signs. Additionally, the presence of pus coming from the wisdom tooth area signals an infection.

Potential Complications of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth can be fully, partially, or non-impacted. A partially impacted wisdom tooth is slightly visible, with only a small part of the tooth erupted, while a non-impacted wisdom tooth has erupted fully and is visible above your gum line. Fully impacted wisdom teeth are not visible as they are hidden below your gum line.

Partially and fully impacted wisdom teeth can cause several potential complications. These include the formation of cysts, where a small sac filled with fluid may develop around the jawbone, potentially causing damage to nerves, the jawbone, and other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can also grow at an angle toward the second molar, leading to crowding problems and an increased risk of infection in that area. This pressure can misalign other teeth, necessitating dental procedures like clear aligners or traditional braces.

Diagnosis and Evaluation

How Does an Oral Surgeon Assess Wisdom Teeth Issues?

Oral surgeons typically assess wisdom teeth issues both clinically and radiographically. This means our surgeon will first examine the wisdom teeth directly in your mouth and then study an X-ray image to identify the problem in detail. During the assessment, the oral surgeon looks for several key factors, including the level of eruption of the wisdom tooth to determine if it is fully or partially erupted, the angle at which the wisdom tooth is positioned, and whether it traps food particles, signs of decay and infection, and the presence of an opposing tooth.

Imaging and Diagnostic Tools

To effectively assess problems affecting your wisdom teeth, our surgeon requires the aid of imaging and diagnostic tools. Typically, we will ask you to undergo a digital X-ray, which provides images of the internal structure of the wisdom tooth and gum. This method uses low-level radiation and is safe, presenting no significant side effects. Imaging and diagnostic tools play a crucial role in detecting dental issues that are not visible to the naked eye, such as dental caries, decay, and impacted wisdom teeth.

Treatment Options for Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Non-Surgical Management

Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause severe problems, and some remain asymptomatic. In cases where gum tissue develops over a partially erupted wisdom tooth, our surgeon may suggest its removal. This tissue can harbor bacteria and food debris, making it necessary to remove. Known as an operculectomy, this procedure can reduce the risk of decay and gum disease, potentially eliminating the need for extraction.

Surgical Extraction Procedures

When an impacted wisdom tooth causes excessive pain or other dental issues, our practice often advises surgical extraction. This is a straightforward outpatient procedure, not requiring hospitalization.

The tooth removal process involves making an incision into the gums for impacted teeth, which may include removing any bone blocking access to the tooth root. For a wisdom tooth that has erupted from the gum, no incision is made.

The extraction process, lasting only a few minutes, often involves feeling pressure just before the tooth is completely removed. Our surgeon may rock the tooth back and forth to ease it out. The area will be numb due to the anesthesia, ensuring you do not feel pain during and immediately after the extraction.

Recovery and Aftercare

What to Expect After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Following the surgical extraction of your wisdom tooth, the healing process begins once the tooth is removed from the gums. If an incision has been made, our surgeon will likely use dissolving stitches to seal the gum, which typically dissolve within seven to 10 days.

After the procedure, our surgeon will give you a gauze pad to place over the extraction site. You will be required to bite down and maintain pressure on the gauze for at least an hour. This pressure helps in forming a blood clot over the now-empty tooth socket, which is crucial for proper healing.

Tips for a Smooth Recovery

After your wisdom teeth are removed in an outpatient procedure, much of the aftercare responsibility will be yours. During the first few days after the procedure, avoid strenuous activities. Furthermore, for the first 24 hours, refrain from rinsing, spitting, or consuming hot drinks, as these actions could dislodge the blood clot in the empty socket and prolong healing.

Schedule an Appointment Today!

For an assessment of the condition of your wisdom teeth, come see our dental surgeon at Wheaton Oral Surgery. Call us at (331) 204-0314 to arrange an appointment.
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Can You Live With Your Wisdom Teeth? - Wheaton Oral Surgery
Knowing your unique dental needs is crucial. We welcome you to explore your options and seek expert advice at Wheaton Oral Surgery, where personalized care meets dental excellence.
Wheaton Oral Surgery and Implant Center, 2323 Naperville Rd, STE 160, Naperville, IL 60563; (331) 204-0314;; 5/20/2024; Related Terms: dental implants Naperville IL;