If your wisdom teeth are uncomfortable, partially erupted, or fully impacted, getting your wisdom teeth evaluated as a teenager or adult can minimize the risks and complications. Wisdom teeth removal is a standard procedure to relieve symptoms of impacted wisdom teeth or prevent concerns that the teeth can provoke. In San Antonio, Dr. Karina Acuña has advanced dental surgery training to give you safe, comfortable wisdom teeth removal.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are third molars that usually emerge between ages 17 and 25. They are the last permanent teeth to erupt, one on each side of your upper and lower jaw, behind your second molars. Although wisdom teeth fully emerge without complications for some people, most jawbones lack enough space for the teeth. According to statistics, nine out of ten people have at least one impacted, or trapped, wisdom tooth in their gum tissue or jawbone. Therefore, wisdom teeth removal is a common outpatient procedure.
When Is the Best Time to Get Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The best time to get wisdom teeth removed is when you are a teenager or young adult. Complications begin increasing after age 25. Dr. Acuña recommends prompt removal for these reasons:
- The root systems in teenagers and young adults are shorter and incomplete, and the jawbone is less dense, making tooth removal easier.
- Tooth roots lengthen and thicken as we age and may get embedded in bone or entangled in sensory nerves.
- The healing process is faster for younger adults.
A wisdom teeth evaluation can protect your oral health even if you are past your 30s or do not have symptoms.
Why Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If there is enough room in your jaw for your wisdom teeth, you don’t need them removed. But if there isn’t, you should consider having them removed as soon as you know that. Here are some of the common problems of impacted wisdom teeth:
- They will usually become infected at some point, and may then need to be removed at a time that is very inconvenient for you.
- By the time they cause you trouble, you may be older and the risks of complications will be greatly increased.
- Problem wisdom teeth left in place can damage adjacent teeth.
- Cysts or other complications can develop around impacted teeth.
What Is the Wisdom Teeth Removal Process?
The process begins with a consultation and evaluation with Dr. Acuña. She will do the following during your evaluation:
- Answer your questions
- Examine your teeth and gums and take x-rays to see their condition and position
- Determine whether you need your wisdom teeth removed
- Review sedation options for a painless procedure
- Explain what to expect before, during, and after your oral surgery
- Give you instructions to prepare for your surgery date
Dr. Acuña will give you sedation to help you relax before the surgery. Her technique depends on the condition and position of your wisdom teeth.
Fully erupted teeth
Dr. Acuña can often extract fully erupted wisdom teeth with a simple, quick procedure. Usually no incisions or sutures will be needed. She may section lower wisdom teeth to make the extraction less traumatic for you.
For impacted teeth, an incision and sutures will be needed. Removal of some bone is usually required, as well as sectioning the tooth.
Throughout the procedure, Dr. Acuña will prioritize your safety and comfort. Her advanced training in oral surgery and years of experience will give you a positive outcome.
How Long Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Take?
A fully erupted wisdom tooth will probably take less than 5 minutes to remove. An impacted tooth may take 10 to 20 minutes to remove, depending on the complications. Factors that affect the length of your procedure include:
- Tooth position
- Tooth roots’ length and curvature
- Thickness of the bone around each tooth
- Whether teeth are entangled in sensory nerves
Recovering from Wisdom Teeth Removal
When you are alert, we will remind you of the post-operative instructions and discharge you. The anesthesia will last a few hours after surgery, but you should begin taking medication for discomfort as Dr. Acuña instructs. You can increase your comfort at home with these steps:
- Rest while elevating your head to minimize bleeding and swelling.
- Apply cold packs to the sides of your face for the first couple of days.
- Avoid sucking through a straw, spitting, and vigorous mouth rinsing right after the surgery.
- Follow instructions for drinking plenty of liquids and eating soft foods that do not disturb the surgical sites.
- Expect to have blood-tinged saliva for the first couple of days. However, if you end up with dark clumps of blood, apply pressure for about 45 minutes with gauze packs that Dr. Acuña will give you. If you aren’t able to control the bleeding, please contact us for help.
Most people can return to work or school in two to three days unless their activities require heavy lifting or strenuous activity. Dr. Acuña wants you to have a smooth, comfortable recovery and will communicate with you to monitor the progress.
Request a Wisdom Teeth Evaluation
Wisdom teeth removal is a safe, common procedure, but Dr. Acuña will not minimize your concerns during your evaluation. She welcomes your questions and will compassionately address them. Call us today to schedule an appointment or complete our appointment request form.