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WISDOM TEETH
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Your third molars are the last teeth to emerge from your gums during the late teen or "age of wisdom", thus the name wisdom teeth (you usually have four).  In most, people, the jaws are too small and do not allow enough room for them to emerge straight like your other teeth.  They often become trapped or impacted in the gums or jawbone, and in most cases, are nonfunctional.  This lack of space and failure of the tooth to erupt can cause acute infection between the gum and the tooth, crowding of the teeth, cyst formation, tooth decay, and gum disease. The third molars in many can compromise your overall dentition.  Since in most cases these teeth are nonfunctional, yet can cause potential problems, it is usually recommended that they be removed.

The best time for removal is usually at a young age (usually between 16 and 25) before the above problems can develop.  At this age, the bone surrounding the teeth is still soft the root tips have not completely formed, the patient is usually in better general health, and will heal faster with fewer complications.

Remember that the objective is to prevent future problems and help maintain your overall dental health.  The removal of wisdom teeth at an early age can truly be considered preventive dentistry.


WHAT CAN BE EXPECTED AFTER SURGERY?                  

 

Discomfort:  Since this is an operation, pain after surgery is to be expected.  The first day and evening is usually the most uncomfortable and pain medication will be prescribed to keep you comfortable as possible.

Swelling: A variable amount of swelling can be expected in one or both cheeks from stretching the mouth at the time of surgery.  Swelling will normally take about two days to reach its worst and will take about one week to resolve.

Trismus: The jaw muscles may tighten up after surgery causing difficulty in opening the jaws.  The amount of muscle tightness will determine what may be eaten after surgery.

Bleeding: Some bleeding is to be expected for several hours after surgery. This should be minimal and rarely causes problems.

Infection: The surgical site can become infected up to four weeks after surgery.  Any unusual increase in swelling after the first few days should be reported to the dentist.

Dry Socket: The blood clot may break down approximately 24 days after surgery.  An increase in pain or pain referred from the chin, neck, ear or forehead should be reported to the dentist.  Packing the area with medicated gauze usually easily treats this condition.

Paresthesia: The main nerve of the lower jaw or nerve of the tongue may be damaged at the time of surgery.  This is a rare condition that can lead to numbing of the tongue, teeth, lips and chin.  This usually is temporary but permanent damage may occur.

Sinus: The roots of the upper teeth lie very close to the sinus. Manipulation of the teeth during surgery may make a hole into the sinus.  Small holes usually repair themselves.  Larger holes may require another procedure to close the hole.



GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING COMPLICATIONS RESULTING FROM REMOVAL OF TEETH

 

Any operation carries some risk.  This is reduced by pre-operative appraisal of your physical condition, by careful preparation of instruments and facilities, and by the skill of the operator.

The wound remaining after a tooth is removed may be large, and healing may be delayed because the body is unable to build normal tissue as with a small wound.  Fortunately, in the upper jaw, healing usually proceeds uneventfully.  In the lower jaw, however, 80-90% of the tooth sockets will heal promptly while 10-20% will take longer and might need some type of dressing every few days.  For this reason, it is not wise for patients to leave at once on a long trip or go where they could not secure good care by a dentist.

There is often some bleeding afterward, but this will usually be slight.  Instructions will be given to tell you what to do if more serious bleeding should occur.

Swelling is also a complication that may occur.  Instruction will also be given that explains how to reduce swelling.

Lower teeth, especially molars, often rest on the sensory nerve on the lower jaw.  Sometimes, in spite of all precautions, this nerve is bruised, slightly tom, or even cut in two.  The result will be numbness of the lower lip, chin and all the teeth on that side.  This effect does not last more than a few weeks in most cases, improving as the nerve repairs itself and regenerates.  Very rarely it may last as long as two years or longer.

Upper molars lie against the wall of the maxillary sinus.  Occasionally during surgery, the thin wall of bone cracks creating a hole into the sinus.  As a rule this requires little treatment for correct healing.

Sometimes adjacent teeth are weakened or damaged as a result of tooth removal; therefore, they must be considered on probation for a period of three to six months.

Small root tips and/or bone chips might remain after tooth removal in spite of every effort to fully remove them.  They will either remain in place with no complications or gradually work their way to the gum surface at which time they can easily be removed.

An extreme rare complication of tooth removal is jaw fracture.  If a fracture should occur during tooth removal, all necessary procedures will be accomplished in order to repair the fracture.

If you have any questions feel free to call our office at (405) 455-2553.

 

I have carefully read and understood this information sheet as well as verbal instructions explained to me _____________________________________________ Date: _____________
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