Preserve Your Oral Health with Wisdom Teeth Removal
When a wisdom tooth fails to erupt, it can cause agonizing pain and lead to oral health problems like periodontitis and tooth decay. In these cases, removing the wisdom teeth is recommended to preserve your overall oral health. At North Meridian Dental Excellence in Indianapolis, IN, Dr. Benjamin D. Ahlbrecht performs wisdom tooth removal to eliminate discomfort and protect your neighboring teeth from damage and decay. To make your experience more comfortable, our office offers nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation options.
When is Wisdom Tooth Removal Necessary?
In some cases, wisdom teeth erupt normally and do not cause any issues. Unfortunately, this is not common. More often, these teeth grow in at an angle or become partially or fully trapped in the jawbone. When this occurs, the impacted teeth can place excessive pressure against the neighboring teeth and structures, causing shifting, discomfort, and cysts.
Although impacted wisdom teeth can only be confirmed with a comprehensive dental evaluation, there are some warning signs that could indicate that you need wisdom teeth removal. These include:
- Inflamed gum tissue
- Persistent bad breath
- Cavities in the molars
- Sinus problems
- Misaligned or crooked teeth
During a consultation at our practice, Dr. Ahlbrecht will perform a complete assessment of your teeth, gums, and jaw joints, paying close attention to the wisdom teeth. He may palpate the area to feel for any irregularities or abnormalities. Digital x-rays will also be taken to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and the health of the supporting jawbone. If the wisdom teeth are potentially problematic, Dr. Ahlbrecht may recommend removal.
Sedation Options for Your Comfort
Because wisdom teeth removal is a surgical procedure, many patients opt for sedation so they can stay comfortable during treatment. At North Meridian Dental Excellence, Dr. Ahlbrecht offers both nitrous oxide and oral conscious sedation. These options will be discussed with you in detail during your consultation.
Wisdom Tooth Removal Treatment Process
Wisdom tooth removal takes about one hour in our office. The general steps to this treatment include:
- Anesthesia: To begin your procedure, Dr. Ahlbrecht will administer local anesthesia to numb the treatment area and sedation, if desired.
- Incisions: Once you are comfortable, Dr. Ahlbrecht will make a small incision in the gums beside the affected tooth. This will allow him to access the tooth and surrounding bone structure.
- Wisdom tooth removal: Using gentle techniques, Dr. Ahlbrecht will loosen the tooth and remove it. In some cases, the tooth may be divided into segments for easier extraction.
- Stitches: Once the tooth has been removed, the surgical site is closed with sutures. These typically fall out on their own during the first few days of healing.
- Gauze pack: Finally, a small piece of gauze is placed over the surgical site to stop the bleeding. Generally, this can be removed after about 30 minutes.
Healing and Recovery
Following wisdom tooth extraction, patients can expect some degree of bleeding, swelling, and discomfort. However, these side effects can be mitigated with over-the-counter medications and the application of cold compresses. Additionally, patients should avoid any kind of strenuous activity or heavy lifting for approximately 48 to 72 hours. This will reduce the risk of increased bleeding, swelling, and discomfort.
Avoid drinking through straws for the first week to reduce the risk of the loosening the clot that will form over the surgical site.
Patients should eat a soft food diet for the first few days after wisdom teeth removal. This can include yogurt, applesauce, smoothies, pudding, soup, pasta, and other similar foods. You can begin to introduce solid foods as your comfort level allows. Avoid drinking through straws for the first week to reduce the risk of the loosening the clot that will form over the surgical site.
In most cases, individuals can comfortably return to work in about two to three days. Full recovery typically takes one to two weeks. This timeline can vary depending on your unique case and healing capacity.
Eliminate Discomfort Sooner Rather than Later
"North Meridian Dental Excellence is great! They've somehow cracked the code on making a trip to the dentist an enjoyable experience. Dr. Ahlbrecht and his team are all great to work with. Everyone is extremely friendly, nice and fun, while maintaining a professional, clean and private environment."Nick E.