Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that emerge, usually during your late teens to early twenties. For some people the wisdom teeth emerge through the gums and have enough room to grow in naturally. For others, wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is impacted the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause structural damage to the jaw and other teeth. They can also provide a place for bacteria to gather since they are hard to reach and clean. These potential problems make it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth so that larger problems do not arise. Using X-rays, Dr. Furniss will determine if your wisdom teeth need to be removed.
Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common procedure. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. This often results in pain, headaches, or difficulty opening your mouth.
When a wisdom tooth only emerges partially a flap of skin, called an operculum, may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the skin. This makes it easy for inflammation called pericoronitis to develop. It will usually go away on its own, but it causes swelling and pain in the area.
Dr. Furniss may remove this tissue with his CO2 laser to help you avoid experiencing pain or infections.
Impacted teeth and wisdom teeth that can potentially cause problems like infections, may need to be removed. Extractions can range from a single tooth to removing all four wisdom teeth at once. Based on the preference of Dr. Furniss and/or the patient, a local anesthetic could be used to numb the areas where the teeth will be extracted. Others will prefer to go under a general anesthetic so that they will be completely asleep during the procedure.
After tooth removal, you will need to rest. You may need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked, or after approximately 1 hour. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call Dr. Furniss. Avoid smoking, drinking through a straw, and spitting forcefully. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Dr. Furniss will prescribe you pain medication to minimize pain. You may also use an ice pack for the pain.
You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:
When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures or disrupt the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or don’t feel that the extraction site is healing properly call Dr. Furniss for a follow-up.
Oral Pathology is the specialty that identifies and treats diseases of the mouth and maxillofacial region. Diagnosis is completed through radiographic, microscopic, biochemical and other in-office examinations. Oral pathologists provide biopsy services for dentists and offer clinical diagnoses based on their findings. Some of the diseases that Oral pathologists diagnose include mouth and throat cancer, mumps, salivary gland disorders, ulcers, Odontogenic Infection, and others.
Bone grafting is where the jawbone is built up to accommodate a dental implant or other restoration. Bone grafting is a common procedure that is used frequently for dental implants and other periodontal procedures. The bone used to graft is typically sterilized bone harvested by bone banks and is completely safe to use. The graft acts as a temporary placeholder for your body to fill in the space with your own natural bone.
Sometimes a tooth is not restorable and needs to be pulled. When a tooth is extracted, studies show that 40-60% of bone is lost at the extraction site by the time the wound heals. This becomes a problem when we plan to replace the tooth. Bone loss severely limits our options to replace the tooth and also makes it much harder to create an esthetic, natural-looking tooth replacement.
However, there is a way to prevent this bone loss from happening. At the extraction appointment, Dr. Furniss can place a bone graft in the socket to preserve the ridge and create a much more ideal space for replacing the tooth. This will preserve the height as well as the width of the bony ridge, allowing for the very best environment to place a bridge or implant.
Placement of the bone graft only adds about 10 minutes to the extraction procedure. Preserving the bone at the time of extraction is also far less expensive and more effective than trying to graft later after everything has healed and bone has been lost.
Bone is very precious! When bone is lost it is sometimes impossible to replace, and if too much bone is lost then implant placement is not possible. If you find yourself in need of an extraction, it is wise to consider socket preservation.