Do I Need Wisdom Teeth Removal in Houston, TX?
Not all wisdom teeth need to be extracted, but we make sure you’re prepared and ready if yours does.
Photography by Pete
Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, usually appear between the ages of 17 to 21 years. However, sometimes they can come in with complications and require extraction—if they come in at all. While not everyone needs to remove their third molars, they can create massive issues for some patients if these teeth are left alone. At Nu Dentistry, we encourage our young patients to come in for a consultation when they’re 16-years-old to determine if dental extraction is necessary.
When Should A Tooth Be Extracted?
Just as with any other tooth, wisdom teeth should only be removed when they present a considerable problem for your smile’s health. While most emergency tooth extraction situations are dire, many wisdom teeth are removed before your teeth can erupt as a preventive measure. Our dentists at Nu Dentistry may recommend a wisdom tooth extraction in the following cases:
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
As the third and last set of molars, your mouth might not have enough room for your wisdom teeth to emerge from the gums. They become impacted or trapped beneath the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth symptoms include radiating jaw and wisdom tooth pain, jaw swelling and tenderness, chronic bad bread, and pus formation. Some of our patients also have difficulty in chewing and opening their mouths.
Partially Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Even partially impacted wisdom teeth can be troublesome for your smile. While they can somewhat come out from the gums, it can be incredibly challenging to give these teeth the proper care and attention they need. They also leave a channel wide open for bacteria and plaque to slip under the gums and cause gum disease and wisdom tooth infection.
Even if your wisdom tooth can erupt, it still might not have enough room to fit in neatly with the rest of your teeth. While they might not have the amount of force necessary to move neighboring teeth out of alignment, these wisdom teeth can crowd your mouth and cause damage to other teeth and bone.
Wisdom Teeth Erupted In The Wrong Direction
At times, wisdom teeth grow in at a crooked and unhealthy angle, creating huge problems for adjacent teeth. Like with crowded wisdom teeth, brushing and flossing is difficult. There is an especially high chance that your mouth may develop cavities, swelling, infection, and gum disease. To prevent these almost inevitable issues from occurring, your dentist may suggest having the troublesome tooth removed.
In some instances, a fluid-filled sac called a cyst forms in the jawbone around the wisdom tooth. This is most common with impacted wisdom teeth, but any tooth that creates a cyst must be removed. Cysts can be excruciatingly painful as they damage your mouth’s nerves, jaw bone, gums, and teeth. As soon as a cyst forms, we will want to perform an emergency tooth extraction to save the surrounding soft and hard tissues. By waiting too long for treatment, severe complications may require having part of your jaw removed through major surgery.
The Dental Extraction Process
We understand at Nu Dentistry that being told you need a tooth extraction may sound scary, but you have nothing to worry about. Our friendly, gentle dentists make sure the whole process goes smoothly and painlessly. There are two ways we may remove your tricky wisdom tooth:
Simple Extraction We will perform a simple extraction for wisdom teeth that can fully emerge and are completely visible above the gum. First, we will numb your tooth with either a local anesthetic or dental sedative. Our dentist will then use a dental tool called an elevator to loosen your tooth from the gums. With forceps, we’ll be able to pull your teeth free without any pain or discomfort. This procedure is easy for our expert professionals, and each tooth takes no more than 15 minutes to remove.
Surgical Extraction For impacted wisdom teeth, we will need to perform a surgical extraction instead as we won’t be able to access the tooth. Your dentist or oral surgeon will need to make a small incision to allow us to extract your tooth directly from your gums. With more complex cases, we may need to cut your tooth into smaller pieces to remove it more comfortably. Since this method is more intensive, we can use dental sedation to keep you completely calm throughout your procedure. Please be aware that if you choose to be dentally sedated, you should plan to have someone drop you off at home after your procedure. You will not be able to drive for the next 24 hours.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I make my tooth extraction heal faster?
To ensure your wisdom teeth removal recovery goes quickly without any complications, our dentists at Nu Dentistry will prepare you with aftercare instructions. Here are some common post-operative guidelines:
- Take a day or two off of work or school after wisdom teeth removal to rest and recover. Keep your head elevated whenever possible, and avoid any heavy or strenuous activity for the next few days to let the blood clot.
- During the first two days, don’t be shy when using ice packs on the treatment site’s cheek. The best way to relieve swelling and post wisdom teeth removal pain is to take the pack on and off in 15-minute intervals.
- Don’t brush your teeth near the extraction site during the 24 hours after your extraction.
- Stay on a rigid liquid and soft food for those initial few days. Some recommended foods to eat after wisdom teeth removal include smoothies, mashed bananas and pumpkin, oatmeal, soups and broths, salmon, avocados, and Greek yogurt. Make sure not to eat anything hotter than lukewarm.
- Avoid spicy, crunchy, and chewy foods for at least a week, though it’s best to wait until the socket closes. If these foods become trapped in the socket, they can irritate, injure, or infect the socket.
- Avoid spitting, rinsing your mouth, or drinking with a straw during the immediate 24 hours after your procedure. These actions can disrupt blood from clotting and lead to painful dry socket.
- After the first 24 hours following your wisdom tooth extraction, be sure to rinse your mouth with a saltwater solution regularly. This removes any food and bacteria from the extraction site and prevents infection.
- Avoid smoking, tobacco use, and alcohol.
- If your dentist prescribes you any medications for wisdom tooth pain relief, always take them as instructed.
After two weeks, you’ll find that new bone and gum tissue will have filled the socket left behind, allowing for the rest of your recovery to be smooth sailing. Be present for your follow-up appointment to ensure your mouth is healing as it should. Your dentist will also remove any non-absorbable sutures and advise you on any future care of the socket.
What does tooth extraction cost?
Your extraction cost depends on both the number of teeth to be pulled and the type of removal. Quite a few dentists lower your individual procedures’ price if you choose to have all four of your wisdom teeth removed in a single appointment, rather than separate ones for each tooth. Additionally, many of our patients choose to be dentally sedated* instead of using a local anesthetic to keep them fully relaxed both in mind and body throughout the procedure. Your wisdom teeth removal cost will increase if you choose to be sedated during your treatment.
Is it necessary to replace missing teeth?
With your regular front teeth, canines, and molars, we would tell you that it is absolutely necessary to replace your extracted teeth with either a dental implant*, bridge, or denture. Wisdom teeth, however, are not the same as the rest of your teeth. In most cases, they are pulled because your mouth doesn’t have room for them. Your mouth won’t have space for a replacement, either.
How long does wisdom teeth removal take?
On average, wisdom teeth removal surgery requires about 45 minutes to complete. It might take longer for more complex cases or if you need to have more than one wisdom tooth removed at a time. If you need a simple extraction, pulling the tooth free only takes 3 to 15 minutes. The entire procedure is often 20 to 30 minutes total, including the time it takes for our Houston dentists to numb your tooth with a local anesthetic.
In most cases, the numbing agent we use only takes 5 to 10 minutes to take full effect. However, if you’re going to be using oral sedatives, your body needs more time to digest the pills. This can extend your expected appointment time by an additional 30 minutes to an hour.
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Houston, TX 77057