If you have a college-aged child, chances are good that they have had their wisdom teeth extracted or will have their wisdom teeth extracted in the near future. In fact, many college kids elect to have this oral surgery while they are home for Thanksgiving break. That way, they can get treated by their regular dentist or oral surgeon and get cared for by Mom and Dad.
Wisdom teeth extraction is a common oral surgery procedure used to remove the wisdom teeth, typically before they have fully erupted into the mouth. Your wisdom teeth are your third set of molars and the last teeth to erupt into your mouth. They usually come in somewhere between the age of 16 and 25. In the past when the diet was much rougher than it is now, many individuals had lost one or more teeth before the wisdom teeth came in. This left enough room in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt into the mouth. Today, most people simply do not have enough room in their mouths for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt and become fully functioning teeth. If the wisdom teeth cannot fully erupt into the mouth, they become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious dental health issues such as crowding, orthodontic relapse, tooth decay, gum disease and cyst or tumor formation. For this reason, they should be removed. Failure to remove impacted wisdom teeth can put the health of the remaining teeth at risk.
Although wisdom teeth extractions have a reputation of being very painful procedures, this does not have to be the case. This is an outpatient procedure and the recovery period is typically relatively short. To help with pain, you may be offered a local anesthetic that can be injected into your gum line near the area of the extraction. You may also receive intravenous sedative medications. In some cases, it is necessary to put patients under General Anesthesia for this procedure. Your dentist or oral surgeon can help you decide which form or forms of anesthesia are best suited for your particular case taking into consideration any other health problems or special circumstances you may have.
After the procedure, you may be given a prescription for pain medications that can be taken for the first few days following the extraction. You may even be able to get sufficient pain relief using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen. You will be given specific post-operative instructions by the dentist or oral surgeon who performs the surgery. It is vitally important that you follow these instructions carefully.
After wisdom teeth extraction, most people are back to normal and can return to work or school within a few days. However, in rare cases, complications can occur. If you experience any problems after a wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to communicate this information to your dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible.