Here at Smiles by JB we offer several oral surgery services in order to provide well-rounded, high-quality dental care options for our patients. Learn more about the services we provide and how we can help you with your dental and oral surgery needs. If you have any questions or would like to learn more, please call (919) 484-0880 to speak with our kind and courteous staff. We’re always happy to hear from you!
The third and final set of molars that emerge in your late teens to early twenties are your wisdom teeth. For some people, these teeth push up through the gums and grow in naturally. However, for others, wisdom teeth may cause problems.
When these teeth come in at an angle and are not aligned through the gum line they are impacted. This typically causes pain or discomfort. In addition, the tooth may only partially erupt. These impacted teeth can actually cause damage to the surrounding teeth and even the jaw itself. In addition, since they are difficult to reach and clean properly, especially when only partially erupted, they are a breeding ground for bacteria. This is also because a partially erupted wisdom tooth often creates a flap of skin called an operculum. This flap makes it difficult to clean the tooth and also catches food and other debris between the operculum and the tooth. Over time, this can lead to an infection known as pericoronitis.
It’s often necessary to surgically remove these teeth to prevent larger problems. During your routine dental exams and x-rays, your dentist will be able to keep an eye on your wisdom teeth and advise if you need wisdom teeth removal or not.
Impacted wisdom teeth are a significant number of cases regarding tooth extractions. However, they’re not the only case. Any time a tooth can potentially cause problems such as infection, it needs to be removed. Teeth extractions can range from a single tooth to multiple teeth at once. A local anesthetic is used to numb the area, but some patients and doctors prefer to also use intravenous sedation or even general anesthesia for these oral surgery procedures.
When it comes to wisdom teeth, once the patient is sedated, the gum tissue around the tooth is cut open. This reveals the tooth and provides easy access. The oral surgeon then grips the tooth and wiggles it back and forth until it’s able to be removed. In some cases, the tooth may be impacted so much that it cannot be easily removed. When this happens, the tooth is broken into pieces prior to removal.
After teeth extractions, depending on the extraction site and incision, you may need sutures to close the area. Typically, these are soluble sutures that will dissolve on their own over time.
After oral surgery, you need to rest and follow instructions set by your oral surgeons. You can’t drive yourself due to the sedation or anesthesia so you will need a friend or family member to drive you. It’s common for the extraction site to bleed for a little while post-surgery. Your oral surgeon will provide you with gauze to apply to the surgical site. If your bleeding continues for more than 24 hours, then call your oral surgeon.
Once you get home it’s important to rest. However, you shouldn’t lie flat. Doing so may prolong bleeding. Instead, prop your head up on a pillow. You may want to use an ice pack to help manage pain and swelling. Your dentist will also prescribe pain medication which you can take as directed. Your dentist may also provide you with a cleaning solution to use to clean the extraction site.
For the first few days after oral surgery, it’s recommended that you limit your diet to soft foods that don’t require chewing including:
- Broths and other thin soups
- Ice cream or Sorbet
- Mashed potatoes
When drinking, it’s important to avoid using a straw. The sucking motion of using a straw, smoking, or vaping can actually loosen your sutures. This slows the clotting process and can increase the risk of a painful condition called dry socket.
If you experience prolonged bleeding, irritation, or pain or if you don’t think that the extraction site is properly healing then call your dentist to make a follow-up appointment.
Extraction Site Preservation
After tooth extraction, it’s important to think about what will happen with the extraction site. Where wisdom teeth are in the back of the mouth, the site normally heals on its own without complication. However, if you have a different tooth extracted then you’ll want to talk to your general dentist and oral surgeon about what will happen to the extraction site.
If nothing is done, then the jawbone will begin to degenerate over time which can cause your other teeth to shift. This then leads to an imbalance in your bite, making it difficult to chew since your teeth no longer line up properly. In addition, some people experience changes in speech.
The best option is to fill the space with a dental implant. However, your jawbone in the area must be sturdy to do so. Others choose to go with a dental bridge. The bridge must be molded and placed before your teeth have a chance to shift.
Talk with your dentist about what you would like to do with the extraction site. They will provide recommendations and develop a treatment plan. It’s important to stay current with regular appointments to continue to care for your extraction site.
In some situations, your dentist may recommend bone grafting. This involves building up the jawbone to accommodate a dental implant or alternative restorative device. This is a common procedure most often used for dental implants and other periodontal procedures. Bone grafts are generally done using either bone fragments suctioned up during drilling, or cadaver bone fragments that have been harvested by bone banks and are safe for use.
Oral Surgery at Smiles by JB
The team at Smiles by JB has the qualifications, training, and years of experience to provide you with excellent dentistry options for patients of all ages. Our practice believes in the importance of dental medicine, and we want to use our clinical skills and surgical specialties to help improve and maintain the health of your mouth. We strive to work with our patients to help them decide on the best treatment for them. We can help you with everything from regular cleanings to select surgical procedures and we always strive to provide outstanding care.
Call Smiles by JB to schedule your next dental appointment with our amazing staff at (919) 484-0880.