Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Gulfport, MS
Unlike humans from centuries ago, people today no longer need their wisdom teeth for chewing their food. Instead, these teeth can become impacted and negatively impact your oral health. As a result, approximately ten million wisdom teeth are extracted each year.
Many people come to Centre for Smile Design for wisdom tooth removal because there isn’t enough space for the teeth to grow correctly. However, we recommend wisdom tooth extraction to prevent future oral health problems even if you aren’t currently experiencing any discomfort.
Dr. John Hopkins, DDS, can perform a wisdom tooth extraction to help you maintain your smile and protect your long-term oral health.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars in your mouth. They are formally known as the third molars but referred to as your wisdom teeth because they erupt during your late teens or early adult years when you have gained more wisdom.
These teeth were a crucial part of the body for early humans, who primarily ate raw meat, roots, nuts, and leaves that required grinding and crushing for digestion. These teeth have become unnecessary since we can now cook foods to make them softer.
Many people have impacted wisdom teeth, meaning there isn’t enough room for them to develop normally. These teeth can partially erupt or not at all.
The Trouble with Impacted Wisdom Teeth
You should have a wisdom tooth extraction if yours are impacted. Otherwise, you can experience many oral health problems, like:
- Trouble flossing
- Overcrowded teeth
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Swollen gums
- Potential damage to the surrounding nerves and jawbone
- Complications during orthodontic treatment
Because wisdom teeth are located far back in the mouth, they are challenging to clean. Food can quickly become trapped in these areas.
At What Age Should Wisdom Teeth Come Out?
Dr. Hopkins performs wisdom teeth extractions on adults and teenagers. However, treatment is ideally suited for when you are in your early 20s. This is when the teeth begin breaking through the gumline and are still forming, making them easier to remove.
If you wait until you’re older, the roots will be longer and the jawbone more dense. This makes removal more challenging and can prolong the healing process. It also increases your chances of complications.
Preparing for a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Dr. Hopkins performs his wisdom tooth extractions as outpatient procedures, meaning it happens in the dental office, and you’ll go home the same day. You’ll receive detailed instructions on what to do before your scheduled appointment, but some general things to consider include whether:
- You will need a driver after the extraction
- You should fast before treatment
- You can take your regular prescription medication
You’ll have the answer to these questions and more before the day of your appointment.
The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure
A wisdom tooth extraction is a routine outpatient surgical procedure. Dr. Hopkins will use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth. After the numbing solution takes effect, an incision gets made into your gum. Any bone that restricts access to the tooth gets removed. The wisdom tooth extraction is completed, and the area is cleaned.
Dr. Hopkins may close the wound using sutures to promote healing, but it is not always a necessary step. A gauze square is placed over the sutured site to control bleeding and help form a blood clot.
What Happens After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Many patients rest for several days following their wisdom tooth extraction. Everyone reacts differently to the procedure; however, you may experience slight discomfort and bleeding. You should expect some swelling that peaks on day two and resolves shortly after.
If you exercise regularly, you must wait a few days before returning to normal activity. You should avoid strenuous activities for at least 72 hours. Placing an ice pack on your cheeks can minimize swelling and bruising.
It’s important to keep your surgical sites clean to prevent an infection from developing. You can brush your teeth, but use caution around sutures.
Following Dr. Hopkins’s directions will minimize your discomfort and expedite healing. Most patients return to their regular routine within three to five days.
The Importance of Proper Aftercare
Most wisdom tooth extraction procedures do not have significant complications. However, it is important to follow any aftercare instructions Dr. Hopkins provides you following the procedure.
Proper aftercare can help you avoid potential complications such as:
- Dry socket due to a lost blood clot
- Infected socket due to trapped food particles or bacteria
- Excessive bleeding
If you do experience any of these symptoms after your wisdom tooth extraction, make sure to contact the Center for Smile Design right away.
Eating After Your Procedure
Immediately following your procedure, you likely won’t feel like eating much. You should eat soft or liquid foods for the first 24 hours after your wisdom tooth extraction. Some examples of recommended foods include:
- Cottage cheese
- Mashed potatoes
Avoid using a straw with any of your drinks because it could dislodge the clot forming in the socket. Smoothies and milkshakes are great post-surgery snacks, but make sure to eat them with a spoon. Cold foods may help with the discomfort.
Foods to Avoid After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Avoiding certain foods for the first few days following treatment is best. They can irritate your surgical site, tear stitches, or get stuck in the socket.
Foods and beverages to avoid include:
- Carbonated beverages
- Spicy or acidic foods
- Hot drinks
- Pretzels or chips
- Chewy candy
- Nuts or seeds
You can add more solid foods to your routine by the third day after surgery. However, if your mouth is still sore, maintain a soft diet until it feels comfortable to eat more challenging foods.
Schedule Your Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Dr. Hopkins has decades of experience providing comprehensive dental care to kids, teenagers, and adults. His state-of-the-art facility uses high-end technology to make treating oral health conditions more comfortable for patients.
Let us help you create a healthier, more beautiful smile that will last a lifetime. Contact Centre for Smile Design for more information on wisdom teeth extraction or to schedule a consultation.