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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars to erupt, generally between the ages of 14-17. When they have enough room, align properly and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not need to be removed. Wisdom teeth extraction is necessary when they are growing improperly. They may grow sideways, partially emerge or even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. The impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway to successfully erupt. 

When a wisdom tooth partially erupts and is untreated, the opening allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection, resulting in swelling and pain. The infection can spread to the heart and brain and cause severe septicemia. 

The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may also cause other teeth to move and possibly disrupt the natural or orthodontic alignment. If continually untreated tumors or cysts may form around the wisdom teeth, impacting jawbone bone structure and healthy teeth. 

To avoid future complications and to decrease the surgical risk involved, we encourage young patients to get thorough dental exams with digital x-rays at early ages to monitor the development of wisdom teeth. And if extraction is needed, removing them early will minimize pain, reduce complications and have a faster recovery period.

At BDC Dental, However we offer all levels of sedation services for wisdom teeth extractions and any other dental procedures. Dr. Albert Tung is one of a few dentists in Calgary with general anesthetic privileges to perform longer dental procedures at the Riverview Surgical Center.

Most common dental problems associated with untreated wisdom teeth include:

  • Periodontal disease (gum disease)

  • Pericoronitis (gum infection from partially erupted tooth)

  • Recommendation to avoid smoking and alcohol consumption for 24 hours.

  • Abscess, cellulitis or osteomyelitis (infection spread from wisdom tooth into surrounding tissues)

  • Disease of follicles (formation of cyst or tumor)

  • Damage to adjacent teeth and crowding

Some signs of problematic wisdom teeth:

  • Pain or tenderness in the gums or jawbone

  • Redness or swelling in the gums

  • Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in the mouth

  • Jaw pains

  • Headaches

What to expect:

Follow your specific instructions from your dentist during your pre-op consultation and post-procedure as they will be more specific to your needs based on your medical history and lifestyle.

Post-extraction tips:

  • Patients should bite on the provided gauze over the surgical site for an hour and replace as needed with gentle rinsing in between. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened tea bag for thirty minutes.

  • Avoid vigorous mouth rinsing and touching of the surgical area. 

  • Swelling and bruising may occur. 

  • Apply ice packs, 20 minutes on and off to minimize swelling for the next 24 hours as needed.

  • Consume food with prescribed medication before local anesthetic has worn off. 

  • Moderate pain or discomfort following surgery is expected to last 4-5 days.

  • Keep all physical activity to a minimum for 6-12 hours following surgery.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink at least 5-6 glasses of water the first day and don’t use a straw. The sucking motion will dislodge the blood clot that naturally forms in the wound and delay the healing process.

  • Do not smoke for at least 48 hours following surgery

Contact us for more information.

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