Wisdom Tooth Extraction
What is a wisdom tooth?
Called "love teeth" in Korea, "20-year-old teeth" in Turkey, "teeth that parents do not know" in Japan and "wisdom teeth" in French and English-speaking communities, these third molars, located in the very back of your mouth, are the last permanent teeth to appear. Most people have 4 wisdom teeth (two on the top, two on the bottom) but some may have only 2, 3, or even none. They usually appear around adulthood. Their position or the lack of space may even mean that they cannot erupt at all or in part. This is why their extraction is often necessary. The extraction of wisdom teeth is a common operation that is performed on both upper and lower teeth. It is up to the practitioner to determine how many teeth should be removed based on the different symptoms.
There are many reasons for the extraction of wisdom teeth. Indeed, this operation may be prescribed first in the event that the teeth are badly positioned and threaten the correct alignment of the other teeth.
Furthermore, the operation may also be recommended if the teeth are embedded in the bone, or if they are a source of discomfort or pain for the patient.
Finally, it may also be decided to extract them if the wisdom teeth are decayed or damaged and can no longer be treated conventionally.
Before the operation: appointment and precautions
Prior to the surgical operation, the patient must consult his surgeon with an X-ray examination (dental panoramic). If the nerves in the lower jaw are close to the roots of the wisdom teeth, you may need to be prescribed a cone beam (3D x-ray exam focused on the wisdom teeth). In the event that general anesthesia is prescribed, the patient will need to have a consultation with the anesthesiologist.
Wisdom teeth extraction: intervention
The patient may be prescribed antibiotics by the surgeon to take before the operation to avoid complications. In addition, a sedative may be prescribed to the patient in order to control his anxiety. Wearing comfortable clothes and being accompanied by a loved one is strongly recommended.
The operation can be performed either under local anesthesia externally (without falling asleep and without hospitalization) or under general anesthesia. The choice of the type of anesthesia is determined by the surgeon during the postoperative consultation.
General anesthesia is most often prescribed for multiple extractions, and requires one day in hospital. With local anesthesia, wisdom teeth can be extracted in 1 or 2 sessions.
Once anesthetized, the surgery takes about 30 minutes and requires an incision in the gum tissue to free the wisdom tooth. Most often, the surgeon must mill out the bone in order to free the tooth. In some cases, the tooth is first sectioned or fragmented before extraction. After the operation is completed, the surgeon heals the wounds with absorbable sutures, which will usually go away on their own in about 2 to 3 weeks.
Wisdom teeth extraction: after the operation
After the operation, it is common to see small bleeding, pain in the areas operated on, as well as swelling of the cheeks and difficulty opening your mouth for a few days. The doctor usually prescribes analgesics to reduce the pain, and in some cases antibiotics to reduce the risk of complications.
In addition, the patient is advised to use ice cubes coated in a cloth to reduce the size of swelling and associated pain. A few days off (2 to 5) may be prescribed to the patient by the doctor depending on the pain, regardless of the anesthesia performed during the operation.
In order to obtain good healing of the operated areas and therefore a good result, it is important for the patient to respect certain rules. The food should be predominantly soft, warm or cold, not spicy or acidic, for at least 48 hours.
The patient should carefully and gently take care of his oral hygiene with brushing and mouthwashes in order to avoid the evacuation of the blood clot in the socket, as well as any complications during the healing of the operated areas. Alcohol, tobacco and foods that irritate the gums will also be strictly prohibited. Finally, the patient will also be asked to avoid spitting and biting into compresses to limit bleeding limiting healing.
After about 1 month and if there are no complications, healing will be complete and the patient can resume a normal lifestyle. In the event of complications, the patient must consult his doctor without delay.