Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted? Ask an Apex Oral Surgeon

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We have found that while many of our patients with wisdom teeth know that they should be extracted, very few of them understand why.

So here you go…A Little Wisdom about Wisdom Teeth.

There are several reasons your Apex Dentist might recommend having your third molars, also known as Wisdom teeth, extracted.   Very few people have adequate space in their dental arch for wisdom teeth.  If you are one of the lucky ones that does have enough room, be sure your toothbrush is reaching all the way back to those teeth, as they are often very difficult to keep clean.  If/when 3rd molars develop cavities (as they often do), it is usually better to put financial resources towards having these teeth extracted rather than filled as they usually only cause more problems down the road.

dental-arch

For patients who do not have enough room in their dental arch, the 3rd molars are often unable to properly erupt, making it difficult or even impossible to keep clean.  The improper eruption can cause a variety of problems including but not limited to, periodontal infections, dental decay, and dental abcesses.

The first radiograph was of a patient for whom Dr. Hansen had to perform an extraction not only the partially erupted  wisdom tooth but the 2nd (more important) molar as well due to the decay caused by the wisdom tooth.

radiograph

The second radiograph demonstrates another reason that 3rd molars often need to be extracted:  dental abcesses.  This particular abcess was so large that this patient was a risk of her lower jaw breaking. The radiograph also demonstrates the importance of routine dental check ups, as this patient did not have any pain associated with the dental abcess.   She literally would not have ever known that it was there except that she was consistent with her dental examinations, including dental radiographs.

Understanding dental problems that can arise from  wisdom teeth is important so patients are able to take necessary steps to seek treatment. Typically, your Apex dentist will recommend having wisdom extracted between ages 15 and 25 because healing and recovery is much easier for younger patients.

If only our wisdom teeth made us all-knowing and wise…that would make for a good case in keeping them!

Our Apex Dentist Shares Tips on Preparing for Oral Surgery

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At some point, most people will need to undergo standard oral surgery, like wisdom teeth removal. The more you know and prepare for the oral surgery, the less anxiety you will experience, and the better you will be able to recover. Below are some tips to follow when preparing for oral surgery in Apex NC.

Talk to Your Dentist

Your dentist will usually be happy to answer any questions you might have about the upcoming procedure. Common questions you might want to ask include:

  • How many teeth will you remove?
  • Will you use general or local anesthesia?
  • How long will the oral surgery take?
  • How long will my recovery take?

It also never hurts to research the procedure in advance. Researching will help you identify more questions you’d like to ask.

Make Arrangements for the Day of Surgery

Most oral surgeries occur when the patient is under general anesthesia. This means that you will not be able to work or drive during the day of the surgery. Make sure you have scheduled the day off (if applicable), arranged for childcare (if applicable), and have arranged for someone to drive you to and from the appointment. Note that you will likely be too uncomfortable to perform normal activities on the day after surgery, too.

Stock Up on Supplies

After your procedure, you will do well to have the house stocked with soft foods, NSAID pain medications, and cold packs. Your dentist will most likely give you gauze and cold packs to take home with you, but it always helps to have backups (and may help calm your nerves before surgery, too.) If your dentist plans to prescribe a pain reliever, ask him or her to let you fill the prescription a day early so you can avoid a trip to the pharmacy when you are still groggy. We also recommend having favorite movies and a comfortable recovery area set up and ready to go!

Avoid Eating Before Surgery  

General anesthesia can make patients experience nausea and vomiting, so your dentist may recommend that you stop eating at midnight on the night before the procedure, and skip breakfast and/or lunch the next morning. Ask your dentist or oral surgeon if you need to avoid eating or drinking before the surgery.

Need Oral Surgery or Wisdom Teeth Removal in Apex?

If you need wisdom teeth removal, dental implants, or another restorative dentistry service in Apex, we can help. Our skilled dentists and dental hygienists will make sure your experience is as relaxing and comfortable as possible. If you would like to schedule an appointment with our Apex dentist office, please contact us here!