Wisdom Teeth Removal in Edmonton
Wisdom teeth removal prevents future dental problems from developing and gives your remaining teeth the room they need to grow into a beautiful, healthy smile.
What is Tooth Extraction?
Tooth extraction is commonly known by the term “getting your teeth pulled.” In this procedure, the dentist removes one or more teeth from the patient’s mouth for good. Most of these procedures are performed while the patient is awake but under the influence of a local anesthetic so that they do not feel any pain.
Why Is Tooth Extraction Used?
There are several reasons why a tooth might need to be extracted, such as:
- To remove problematic wisdom teeth that are currently damaging adjacent teeth or could potentially damage them in the future.
- To make room in the mouth for orthodontic treatments like braces to do their work and move the patient’s teeth around.
- To get rid of teeth that are so badly damaged from tooth decay or fracture that they cannot be repaired using fillings or crowns.
- To remove baby teeth to make room for a permanent teeth to come in.
- To rid a cancer or organ transplant patient of teeth that have become infected or at high risk of infection as a result of a weakened immune system.
What Happens When You Need A Tooth Extraction?
If the tooth that needs to be extracted has already passed the stage of partial eruption (where part of it has emerged from the gum line), the extraction process is relatively easy. First, the dentist will use a tool called an elevator to loosen the tooth from its position, and then forceps will be used to pull the tooth out of the mouth.
In cases where the tooth in question either has not yet erupted and become fully visible or has been broken off while still lodged inside the gum, the dentist must cut into the patient’s gums in to remove the tooth.
In most cases, the patient is fully awake for the tooth extraction procedure, though they are usually numbed using a local anesthetic. Some patients experience extreme anxiety when undergoing dental procedures or have very strong gag reflexes. These patients are sometimes fully sedated (“put to sleep”) using general anesthesia.
We'll review your situation and talk to you about what you would be most comfortable with before the procedure. From there, we'll recommend the best way to complete the tooth removal.
What Is the Tooth Extraction Recovery Process?
Here are the basics of recovering from a tooth extraction:
- After the procedure, you should bite down on a piece of gauze for 20-30 minutes to encourage the wound to clot and stop bleeding. Bleeding should stop within 24 hours of the procedure.
- You should never smoke, spit, or use a straw immediately after the procedure.
- If you are experiencing pain, over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen (Motrin/Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) lessen your symptoms.
- To reduce swelling and pain, try holding an ice pack on your face for 20 minutes, then keeping it off of your face for 20 minutes, repeating as necessary until the swelling has gone down.
- You may need to rinse your mouth with a mixture of warm salt water (one half-teaspoon of salt to one cup water) to help keep the surgical site clean.
- Eating soft, cool foods such as applesauce and ice cream will probably be the most comfortable way for you to eat for the first few days after your extraction.
- The healing process can take up to two weeks, but you should call us immediately if you experience unusual symptoms like continued bleeding after the first 24 hours or so, difficulty swallowing or breathing, fever, redness, chills, numbness, worsening pain, etc.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
What Exactly Are “Wisdom Teeth?”
"Wisdom teeth” are third molars, and they are typically the final four teeth to emerge from the gums. For most people, their wisdom teeth erupt when they are somewhere between the ages of 17 to 25 years old, typically in their early twenties. This stage in life, the end of adolescence and the beginning of young adulthood, often brings a new level of maturity, which is where the name “wisdom teeth” comes from!
Why Do So Many People Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Not everyone has to have their wisdom teeth taken out, but it’s true that this is a very common procedure.
For many people, there is simply not enough space in the mouth to fit their wisdom teeth once they begin to come in. If the tooth has nowhere to go, it can get stuck in the gums in a potentially harmful way. This phenomenon is called an “impacted tooth,” and it can lead to problems such as infection, cysts or tumors, or damage to other nearby teeth.
Depending on how the impacted tooth is situated within the jaw, it can be “stuck” in one of the following ways:
- Soft tissue impaction – the top of the wisdom tooth (the crown) has come up through the bone, but it is partially or even totally blocked by the gum tissue. In these cases, the patient often has a very hard time keeping the area clean, leaving them vulnerable to food getting stuck below the gum. That can lead to tooth decay and/or infections, both of which are quite painful.
- Partial bony impaction – another type of impaction that is particularly susceptible to infection. In these cases, the tooth has begun to make its way out from below the surface of the bone, but part of the crown is still located underneath the gum tissue.
- Complete bony impaction – this means that the wisdom tooth has not erupted at all from the jawbone. In these cases, removing the wisdom teeth is much more complicated and requires a different approach.
Our dentists here at Oliver Park Dental recommend removal of problem wisdom teeth. Those are cases where the patient is experiencing active discomfort, pain, decay, infection, and/or swelling, as well as cases where it may be possible to prevent such symptoms from occurring in the first place.
I Have at Least One Impacted Wisdom Tooth. Why Not Just Leave It Be?
When left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can create several problems, including but not limited to:
- Tooth crowding – some people think that impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on the other teeth that have already erupted to the point that they become misaligned or “crooked.” There is no universally accepted dental opinion on this theory, and no scientific studies have ever proven it to be true. However, since many people do believe this, we find it worth mentioning here.
- Infection – when food and bacteria get stuck underneath the gums, infection can occur. Infections are, of course, usually painful and sometimes dangerous.
- Disease – in rare cases, the parts of the mouth near the impacted wisdom tooth can develop tumors or cysts.
- Damage to neighboring teeth – this is a fairly common issue where the second molars, which are located next to the wisdom teeth, are damaged through their proximity to the impacted tooth. Some of the ways that the second molars could be damaged include gum disease, cavities, and even bone loss.
How do I Know if I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Before your Oliver Park Dental dentist makes a diagnosis and treatment recommendation, a comprehensive examination of your mouth is necessary. We'll look at your wisdom teeth and the surrounding teeth to determine whether removal is needed to solve an existing problem or prevent a future one.
To fully understand the situation, we'll take digital or panoramic X-rays to check out the positioning of the teeth as well as any other underlying issues that would not be immediately apparent in a visual examination, such as tooth decay or degradation.
At Oliver Park Dental we typically recommend that our patients be evaluated early on for wisdom teeth issues – ideally, in their mid-teenage years. Catching problems before they become serious is the best way to prevent more widespread damage and achieve the optimal results from treatment. Keep in mind that a comprehensive exam is the only way for patients of any age to know the full extent of their situation and for the dentist to make appropriate treatment recommendations.
How Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Work?
Except for very complicated cases, the procedure is usually performed in a typical dental office local anesthesia as well as partial or full sedation.
Also good to know:
- All of our Oliver Park Dental dentists who perform wisdom teeth removal surgeries have been specifically trained to do so and have plenty of experience in the field.
- No overnight stay is necessary.
- Once the procedure is over, we will send you home with instructions on how to best care for yourself during your recovery. If you require any medication for discomfort/pain or swelling, we will provide that as well.