Wisdom Tooth Removal in Suffolk County
Wisdom teeth are the final set of adult molars to form and erupt. For most people, they “come in” during their teen years or while they’re away at college. As a general rule of thumb, wisdom teeth are fully developed by the time a person reaches about 30 years of age.
Getting wisdom teeth is often seen as a rite of passage into adulthood. There are four in total, one at the furthest back on each side of your upper and lower arches of teeth. However, some people are lucky enough that they may be missing one or all of their wisdom teeth. Third molars are the most common tooth in the mouth to be congenitally missing (or have extra of,) and it’s a trait that’s usually passed down from a parent to child.
Why do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted?
Because of their location, wisdom teeth often lack the space they need to erupt properly. This situation can lead to a host of complications, such as:
- Tooth decay
- Crowding in other teeth
Impacted and Partially-Erupted Wisdom Teeth
When a wisdom tooth is impacted inside of the bone or against an adjacent tooth, it doesn’t stop growing. Rather, it continues to develop and push into everything else that’s around it. This can lead to complications like cysts within your bone, or physical damage to the neighboring tooth. Depending on the circumstances, the next tooth may become physically damaged or die as a result.
More often than not, erupting wisdom teeth only come in partially through the gums. A small area is visible, with the rest of the tooth tucked underneath your gingiva. This positioning leaves an opening in the tissue where food and plaque biofilm can settle under the gums and brushing or flossing won’t reach. Over time, serious infections (including periodontal disease and tooth decay) start to develop, leading to pain and jeopardizing the health of your adjacent teeth.
If our Long Island dentists see that your wisdom teeth don’t have enough space to erupt properly, we will likely recommend a proactive third molar extraction.
Overall Crowding Due to Lack of Space
Growing teeth are propelled upwards into the mouth by their developing roots. But if wisdom teeth don’t have room or are erupting at an angle, they’ll push into the next teeth instead of through the gums. When this happens, it leads to the next tooth being pushed into the one in front of it, and so on. A chain reaction develops, resulting in overall crowding when the teeth at the front of the mouth are pushed into one another.
For our Suffolk County orthodontic patients, or anyone who has completed treatment in braces, relapse is a serious concern. A full-mouth X-ray (panoramic) can show us if there’s enough room inside of your mouth for your developing wisdom teeth. If there isn’t, having them extracted can help you avoid the need for going through braces all over again.
Infections Around Wisdom Teeth
When you get a cavity or infection such as gum disease, our ultimate goal is to help you treat it and maintain the health of your teeth. But when it comes to third molars, our multi-specialty clinic takes a different approach.
Wisdom teeth often continue to become infected, even if the first infection is treated. This situation happens because of their location, difficulty to care for, and anomalies that occur during tooth development. So instead of filling them or cleaning them more frequently, the standard of care is to have problematic wisdom teeth extracted. Otherwise you would simply have to go through re-filling and re-treating the tooth, not to mention secondary infections on the teeth next to it.
The most proactive and preventative approach to care is to have your wisdom teeth extracted before chronic problems develop.
What to Expect During Oral Surgery
Wisdom teeth extraction appointments are a bit different than having another tooth removed. Usually, oral surgery is involved. Fortunately, Sachem Dental Group provides multi-specialty general dentistry, preventing our oral surgery patients from having to go elsewhere in Suffolk County for their third molar removal.
Depending on the size, position, and development of your wisdom tooth, it may be taken out in smaller pieces rather than wholly intact. This measure reduces trauma to the surrounding bone structure and nerve tissues.
After the extraction is complete, we may need to suture the surgical sites or place medication into the sockets. Most sutures are dissolvable and go away on their own. Traditional sutures will need to be removed several days later.
Sedation Options to Keep You Comfortable
Perhaps the biggest concern our patients have is their comfort during oral surgery. At Sachem Dental Group we provide in-house sedation options to help you relax or even feel as if you’re sleeping through your wisdom tooth extraction. The type of sedation that you choose (or is recommended) will depend on your previous experiences, anxiety level, and complexity of the procedure.
Recovering from a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
We recommend giving yourself up to two weeks to fully recover from your wisdom tooth extraction. More likely than not, you’ll need at least a week away from work or school.
During the first 24 hours, we recommend alternating a cold compress on and off the side of your mouth every 20 minutes to reduce swelling (which is one of the predominant causes of post-operative discomfort.)
For the first several days, you’ll need to stick to a soft diet to avoid damaging your extraction site. Keep foods on hand like pudding, ice cream, gelatin, or canned fruit.
If needed, we will recommend a prescription pain reliever. However, most people only need an over-the-counter inflammatory such as ibuprofen to manage any discomfort. Follow post-operative instructions closely to reduce your risk of painful dry sockets.
Wisdom Tooth Evaluations
Book a new patient or comprehensive exam at Sachem Dental Group today to find out if a wisdom tooth extraction is in your future. We’ve been serving the Long Island community for over three decades.