Protect Your Oral Health with Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth – or third molars – are the last teeth to develop, and are usually fully formed by the time patients reach their early twenties. Most patients develop all four wisdom teeth, while others may not. In fact, some patients do not have wisdom teeth at all. While some patients may have room for their wisdom teeth to grow in, many others experience impaction, or a failure of the wisdom teeth to properly erupt, resulting in damage to surrounding teeth. At Greater Long Island Dental in Long Island, NY, Dr. Stephen Rogers and his team can perform safe, precise wisdom tooth removal. For more than 35 years, we have been providing unparalleled dental care to our community. Whether your wisdom teeth are causing you or your child complications, or you wish to remove developing wisdom teeth to avoid oral health issues, we are here to help.
Why is Wisdom Tooth Removal Sometimes Necessary?
If wisdom teeth erupt at an angle or become impacted, they can affect the adjacent teeth, mandibular nerves, or jawbone. For this reason, we may recommend removing the wisdom teeth as they are developing, when patients are in their late teens or early twenties.
A wisdom tooth may be partially or fully impacted by bone or soft tissue. This can cause a variety of issues:
- Food becoming trapped near the back teeth
- Pain or discomfort
- Active pus or infection
- Tooth decay
- Periodontal disease
- Damage to the surrounding bone or adjacent teeth
- A cyst at the roots of the wisdom tooth
We may recommend removing the wisdom teeth as they are developing, when patients are in their late teens or early twenties.
The Removal Procedure
We offer nitrous oxide during tooth extraction to help patients remain calm and comfortable. Though you are not required to undergo your procedure with nitrous oxide in addition to local anesthesia, most patients find it helps them to feel much more relaxed and comfortable during the process.
When you arrive at our office the day of your procedure, you will be escorted to one of our treatment rooms while our team prepares. Once you have been made comfortable, treatment will involve:
- Access: Tiny incisions will be made to provide access to the wisdom tooth. Any excess bone covering the tooth will also be removed during this step.
- Sectioning the Tooth: Sometimes, it is more effective to divide the tooth into sections before removing it. The doctor can do this safely with a special dental instrument.
- Tooth Removal: The wisdom tooth will be carefully lifted from the socket.
- Debridement: Once the tooth is removed, the socket will be thoroughly cleaned to remove any infection.
- Sutures: When necessary, sutures will be placed to encourage healing. We typically use sutures that dissolve within a few days.
Wisdom teeth removal is an extremely common procedure. Typically, recovery takes three to seven days. Because each patient is unique, healing times can vary. In general, patients can expect:
- Bleeding: Gauze packs will be placed over the surgical site following your procedure. Leave them in place for at least 30 minutes, then remove them. If necessary, place another gauze pack over the site, and bite down with firm, steady pressure for 15 minutes. If bleeding continues, you can moisten a tea bag and gently bite down on it for another 15 minutes. The tannic acid in the tea will help to slow bleeding.
- Swelling: Most patients will experience some degree of swelling after wisdom tooth removal. Swelling can be minimized with the use of ice packs and anti-inflammatory medications. For the first 24 hours, a cold compress can be applied to the jaw in 20-minute increments. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can be used to reduce swelling and discomfort.
- Activity Level: We recommend that you do not exercise or lift anything heavy for at least 48 hours after the procedure. Exercise will elevate the heart rate, which can result in increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.
- Diet: Avoid crunchy, hard, or spicy foods for the first few days. Instead, choose soft, nutritious foods, such as yogurt, eggs, and pasta.
- Hygiene: You must avoid brushing the surgical areas for the first week. Gentle rinses with warm salt water or an antibacterial mouthwash can soothe the tissues and help them heal. Vigorous swishing should be avoided.
- Medications: Any prescription medications should be taken exactly as directed.
Schedule a Consultation Today
To find out if wisdom teeth removal is necessary for your oral health, schedule an appointment with one of our doctors. Contact us online anytime, or call our office at (516) 468-7103.
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