It’s usually smart to have so-called wisdom teeth removed before they cause trouble. This is the nickname for the third molars at the very back of each side of the upper and lower arches (there are two in front of each of them that usually do not cause problems).
Molars are the grinders when you chew and the wisdom teeth typically emerge last at ages 17-21, when teens are supposedly wiser than earlier when their other permanent teeth emerged for a total of 32.
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The Evolution of Human Jaws and Wisdom Teeth
The theory is that since early humans were hunter-gatherers, followed by thousands of years of farming and well-cooked grains and vegetables, our diets have gradually become dominated by softer foods.
Our jaws became smaller because we no longer needed to chew lots of hard foods, but that caused our teeth to become crowded.
Wisdom teeth often don’t have room to grow properly and not emerge through the gums at all, partially, or at an angle.
Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
This area often becomes a trap for periodontal bacteria that repeatedly needs cleaning by a dental hygienist, sacs of fluid may form that can cause bone loss (cysts), cavities occur, and wisdom teeth can damage other teeth, all of which can cause pain.
It is often wise to have them removed when the first signs of problems occur and before roots and bone are fully formed, according to Mayo Clinic.
Prevalence of Wisdom Teeth Extraction
WebMD reports that 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted each year in the U.S. It is best in most cases to have this done by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS), who specializes in complex oral surgeries and difficult-to-reach areas of the mouth.
Wilshire Smile Studio’s is Dr. Nariman Saadat, who not only has a degree in general dentistry, but an OMS which included years of training in a hospital, and he is one of the few oral surgeons who also earned a Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree.
The Process of Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The process of extracting wisdom teeth is like all surgical procedures, from root canal cleaning to placing dental implants.
We offer a full range of anesthetics that can start with a topical solution and then a local injection where the surgery will take place.
If the patient is nervous, she or he can breathe in nitrous oxide, a gas mixed with oxygen that will help anyone relax and be less anxious.
Pain Management During Extraction
There are also two types of pain medication in pill form, one mild that will cause drowsiness and the other strong enough to cause many patients to fall asleep during surgery (both require that someone provide a ride home).
We can even provide IV (intravenous) drip sedation, that will definitely cause the patient to fall asleep and then need to be driven home.
Afterwards, the patient should plan to put a cold compress (even a bag of frozen vegetables) for 15 minutes on the outside of the face where the tooth was removed, then take it off for 15 minutes and put it on again, for at least two hours to keep down swelling.
He or she will be given an antimicrobial mouthwash to use several times a day (but do not swish it in the mouth vigorously).
After until the sedation wears off completely in a few hours, the individual should chew only soft foods on the other side of the mouth.
He or she should also not use a straw for beverages or smoke, since the sucking effect can disturb the blood clot that needs to form.
We advise that post-surgery patient should not eat or drink anything hot for the same reason.
This diet should continue for a few days and can include yogurt, scrambled eggs, smoothies without ice, cooked vegetables, soups, applesauce, and similar items.
Advice for Post-Surgery Lifestyle
Any individual who has teeth extracted should also plan to take off work or school for a couple of days and not engage in vigorous physical activity, like sports.
Wisdom teeth are not the only ones that can become impacted, so if you are concerned about your teens’ developing bites, bring them into Wilshire Smile Studio for a complete dental exam as soon as possible.
If you are looking for an experienced oral surgeon in Los Angeles, trust the expertise of Dr. Nariman Saadat and the competent team at Wilshire Smile Studio.