Wisdom Tooth Extraction: What to Expect
Scientists and researchers believe that the wisdom tooth, the third vestigial molar that emerges around the ages of 18-25 is proof of the theory of evolution.
It is believed that our ancestors required their wisdom teeth in order to survive. This goes back to a time before man discovered fire. During that time, their diet consisted of coarse, chewy and uncooked food and nuts. Thus, early man needed his third molar to efficiently crush and breakdown his food.
According to the theory of evolution, after man got wiser, he discovered fire and learnt how to make tools and cooking utensils. As a result, man had the ability to soften food and make it edible.
Due to this, the use of the third molar lessened and soon was not a requirement at all. This was when the head and the jaw structure began to change due to the cultural shift and became smaller.
The problem with wisdom teeth in the present population arises when it starts teething. For some people, the tooth will emerge with no problems except teething pain but for many, the jaw is unable to accommodate this tooth.
When this happens, the wisdom tooth is known as the impacted tooth and causes great discomfort.
Impacted Wisdom Tooth: When Extraction Is Necessary
When the person is teething and the jaw does not have sufficient space, the tooth will start to grow at an abnormal angle.
This can be harmful to oral health and hygiene as it traps and accumulates food which causes bacterial growth, infection, plaque and eventually leads to swelling, tenderness and other gum problems.
When a tooth grows at the wrong angle it could possibly disrupt the alignment of your teeth or even result in the removal of the second molar.
In addition, a partially emerged tooth can also rub the adjacent gums and inner cheek continuously, preventing the area to heal. Once the tooth becomes impacted, the person will have no choice but to surgically remove it.
However, when the wisdom is teething, the person will experience symptoms that are similar to when a baby is teething. These include diarrhea, low grade fever and eruption pain. It is worth pointing out that these symptoms should not be confused for an impacted tooth as long as they grow in the correct angle.
Credit: pexel Caption : Extraction procedure
Wisdom Tooth Extraction: Types and Procedure
According to the type and nature eruption, tooth extraction can be classified into the following:
⦁ General extraction
This is when the crown of the impacted tooth has emerged above the gum. Here the tooth can be easily removed by simply pulling it out under local anaesthesia.
⦁ “Flap” method extraction
In this method the gum has to be used out like a flap in order to expose the tooth that is covered by gum tissues. After the tooth has been extracted, the flap is switched back into place.
Credit: pexel Caption: Bone Removal method
⦁ Bone removal method
This extraction is carried out when the partial exposed or completely encased in the jawbone. In order to completely expose the tooth for extraction, a “flap” is cut and the jaw bone is shaved away. Then the tooth will be cut into pieces and then removed.
Generally for flap and bone removal methods, oral surgeons will put the patient under general anesthesia to induce sleep during the procedure and local anesthesia that only numbs that particular place during general extraction.
The trickiest and least desired part of wisdom extraction is the post-surgery care. It takes people anywhere from 3-10 days to recover from the surgery.
Firstly, it is highly advisable to be accompanied by a friend or a family after your tooth extraction. This is because the effects of general anesthesia takes a long time to wear off. The person will not be conscious enough to drive or perform any activity that requires concentration.
Speaking of anesthesia, your mouth will feel numb for about 2-5 hours but after that the person will really start to feel the post-surgery pain. Typically, the oral surgeon will prescribe pain killers in the first few days.
Incase of general extraction, no stitches are usually required and the bleeding will last for about 24-48 hours which can be controlled by inserting a damped gauze pads and biting it firmly. Eventually a blood clot will be formed.
The formation of this blood clot on the removal site is extremely important as it serves as a cushion and protects the exposed bone and underlying nerve and promotes the healing process.
Care must be taken to avoid the dislodge of this clot which could lead to a condition known as dry socket. Here, the underlying nerves get exposed and it causes excruciating pain and infections.
Credit: public domain pictures Caption : Use ice to reduce swelling
Other Precautions and care include: ⦁ Place an ice-pack to reduce swelling. ⦁ Use a dental syringe to flush out food in our around the extraction site. ⦁ The area out the extraction site must be avoided when you brush your teeth. ⦁ Straws or any suction movement must be avoided in order to protect the stitches disruption of the blood clot
Where diet is concerned, soft foods with no species are recommended. These include: ⦁ Broths ⦁ Soups ⦁ Mashed potatoes ⦁ Pudding ⦁ Yogurt ⦁ Icecream
Avoid food items that include: ⦁ Alcohol ⦁ Nuts ⦁ Rice and quinoa ⦁ Beans ⦁ Beverages like caffeine that will affect your pain medications ⦁ All Spicy food
Depending on the impact and method of extraction, patients will face different types of experience post-surgery. A lot of people get alarmed when bleeding does stop after 48 hours or when the blood clot does not form but that could be due to the impact of their surgery.
This is why it is very important for patients to trust their oral surgeons and follow their instructions in order to avoid any risk or cause of alarm.
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