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Facts on Wisdom Tooth Extractions

wisdom tooth A wisdom tooth extraction involves the surgical removal of wisdom teeth to prevent or treat dental problems. Wisdom teeth are the four teeth that grow at the back of the mouth on the top and bottom. Having them removed is a common procedure that carries only slight risks if it is done when patients are still fairly young. Most patients who experience problems caused by their wisdom teeth are between 15 and 25 years old. A dentist or an oral surgeon can perform an extraction.

Many extractions are done to treat impacted wisdom teeth. This condition occurs when there is not enough room for these teeth to grow. When this happens, the teeth might only partially break through the gums. In some cases, the impacted teeth grow at an angle. They might also be stuck inside the jawbone. Impacted teeth can cause problems such as infections, cysts and damage to the teeth next to them. Some dentists pull the wisdom teeth out even when they are not impacted. This is done to prevent possible problems in the future.

Wisdom tooth extractions are usually performed in a dentist’s office when the risk of complications during surgery is low. When all four teeth are being removed or when the patient is more at risk of suffering complications during surgery, the procedure is often performed in a hospital. Dentists and oral surgeons administer local or general anesthesia before starting the procedure. The surgery involves cutting into the gum, removing bone that covers the tooth and taking the tooth out. Afterwards, the site is thoroughly cleaned and covered with gauze. Stitches are sometimes used to help the incision heal.

Dentists instruct patients to avoid dislodging the blood clot that protects the extraction site. This means that patients should eat only soft foods and avoid using a straw for at least 24 hours after surgery. Patients should replace the gauze as often as their dentist recommends. Prescription or over-the-counter medications and cold packs can provide pain relief.

Wisdom tooth extractions are generally safe, but there are a few complications that can occur. These include nerve damage and infections. Patients should call their dentist if they have a fever, swelling that gets worse, severe pain, numbness, pus in the socket or a bad taste in the mouth that doesn’t go away. Complications occur more often in patients who are older or those who have weakened immune systems.

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