A wisdom tooth is the last tooth which grows and this typically occurs between the age of 17 and 21. Majority of the adults have all four wisdom teeth, which is normal. However, some people have less than four and there are even cases when there are more than four wisdom teeth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction - the Procedure
Wisdom teeth grow last and they may cause certain complications such as impaction of other teeth, infection, damage to other teeth or surrounding bone etc. If previously mentioned or some other complication occur wisdom teeth are surgically extracted.
The extraction is performed by an oral or maxillofacial surgeon or even a dentist. The extraction of only one wisdom tooth is performed at the dentist's or surgeon's office, while extraction of all four teeth needs to be performed in a hospital due to high risks of potential complications.
The procedure is performed in case there are no signs of infection. The operated area is numbed with local anesthesia and general anesthesia is only administered if one undergoes extraction of several or all four wisdom teeth. Patients are advised not to eat or drink certain period of time prior the surgery.
The doctor who performs the operation cuts open the gum tissue over the wisdom tooth and takes out the bone lying over the tooth. What follows is separation of the tissue connecting the tooth and the bone and removal of the tooth. In some cases the tooth is cut in smaller pieces which makes it easier to be removed. After the extraction the wound is usually stitched. These stitches may dissolve over time and in some cases they need to be removed. The bleeding is usually stopped with a folded cotton gauze pad.
Recovery Time after Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The recovery time after wisdom tooth extraction lasts approximately a few days. The pain, which normally occurs after the surgery, is relieved by pain killers and patients also need to take antibiotics to prevent possible postoperative infection. The patients are due to follow doctor's instructions in order to accelerate the healing and avoid potential complications.
Patients are supposed to bite gently the gauze pad from time to time and change pads once they become soaked with blood. Cold compresses may be held on the outside of the cheeks to reduce the pain and swelling. One is supposed to eat soft food and gradually introduce solid food in the diet. It is essential to be careful since there is increased chance of biting the inside of the cheeks, lips or the tongue which results form the numbness of the mouth. Lying flat is forbidden since it may prolong bleeding. And finally, it is highly forbidden to rub the operated area with the tongue or even touch it with fingers.