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Guide to Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Provo, UT

January 15, 202414 min read

Wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that involves the removal of the third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. These teeth often cause problems such as impaction, infection, and crowding, and therefore need to be extracted. In this complete guide to wisdom tooth extraction in Provo, UT, we will discuss the anatomy of wisdom teeth, when they erupt, signs of impacted wisdom teeth, preparing for the extraction procedure, the procedure itself, recovery and aftercare, potential complications and risks, and frequently asked questions. Here are the key takeaways from this guide:

Key Takeaways

  • Wisdom teeth are the third molars that often cause problems and need to be extracted.

  • Signs of impacted wisdom teeth include pain, swelling, and difficulty opening the mouth.

  • Consultation with an oral surgeon is necessary to determine the best course of action for extraction.

  • The extraction procedure can be done under local anesthesia or with sedation options.

  • Recovery and aftercare involve managing pain and swelling, following a soft diet, and maintaining good oral hygiene.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Anatomy of Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to develop in the mouth. They typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. These teeth can cause various dental problems, including overcrowding, impaction, and infection. In some cases, wisdom teeth may not fully erupt and remain trapped beneath the gum line. This can lead to pain, swelling, and difficulty in cleaning the area. It is important to monitor the development of wisdom teeth and consult with an oral surgeon if any issues arise.

When do Wisdom Teeth Erupt?

Wisdom teeth typically erupt between the ages of 17 and 25, although the timing can vary for each individual. It is common for wisdom teeth to cause discomfort and pain as they emerge. If there is not enough space in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to fully erupt, they may become impacted and require extraction. It is important to consult with an oral surgeon to determine if your wisdom teeth need to be removed.

Signs of Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Some swelling, especially after extraction of impacted wisdom teeth. Ice bag application and medication prescribed for you will help to minimize your discomfort. Please take all the medication you have received based on the provided instructions. During the first 2-3 days after surgery, a diet of soft food and liquids is recommended (soup, yogurt, milkshakes, and juice). Avoid eating small hard foods such as nuts, chips, sesame seeds, etc. for 1 week following the surgery. Call our office if you experience excessive bleeding, severe pain or swelling, or if you have any questions or concerns.

Preparing to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Consultation with Dentist or Oral Surgeon

During the consultation with the oral surgeon, you will have the opportunity to discuss your concerns and ask any questions you may have. The oral surgeon will evaluate your wisdom teeth and determine the best course of action for extraction. They will explain the procedure in detail, including the anesthesia options and any potential risks or complications. It is important to provide the oral surgeon with your complete medical history and inform them of any medications you are currently taking. This will help ensure a safe and successful extraction process.

Pre-Extraction Instructions

Before your wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to follow these instructions to ensure a smooth procedure and recovery:

  1. Avoid eating or drinking anything hot on the day of your extraction.

  2. Do not rinse your mouth and do not use a straw for drinking.

  3. Do not spit and do not drink carbonated beverages.

  4. Do not brush on the day of the surgery; you can gently resume your brushing and flossing the day after.

  5. Take any prescribed medications as directed by your oral surgeon.

  6. If you are supervising children who have had an extraction done, make sure they don’t bite on their numb lips or tongue (it can cause serious injury to their soft tissue).

Remember to follow these instructions closely to promote proper healing and minimize complications.

Sedation Options

When undergoing wisdom tooth extraction, patients have several sedation options to choose from. These options include:

  1. Local Anesthesia: This is the most common type of sedation used for wisdom tooth extraction. It involves numbing the area around the tooth to be extracted.

  2. Nitrous Oxide: Also known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a mild sedative that helps patients relax during the procedure.

  3. IV Sedation: Intravenous sedation is a stronger form of sedation that is administered through a vein. It induces a state of deep relaxation and can make the patient feel drowsy or even fall asleep.

It is important to discuss these options with your oral surgeon to determine which one is best for you.

The Wisdom Tooth Removal Procedure

Local Anesthesia Administration

During the wisdom tooth extraction procedure, local anesthesia is administered to numb the area around the tooth. This ensures that the patient does not feel any pain during the extraction. The type and amount of anesthesia used will depend on various factors, including the complexity of the extraction and the patient's medical history. The dentist or oral surgeon will carefully determine the appropriate dosage to ensure the patient's comfort and safety.

Surgical Extraction

During a surgical extraction, the oral surgeon makes an incision in the gum tissue to access the impacted wisdom tooth. The tooth may need to be divided into smaller pieces for easier removal. After the tooth is extracted, the incision is closed with stitches. The oral surgeon will provide post-extraction care instructions to promote healing and minimize discomfort.

Stitches and Post-Extraction Care

After the wisdom tooth extraction procedure, stitches may be placed to help with healing and to close the incision. It is important to follow the post-extraction care instructions provided by your oral surgeon to ensure proper healing. Here are some tips for caring for your stitches:

  • Avoid touching or disturbing the stitches with your tongue or fingers.

  • Be gentle when brushing and flossing near the extraction site.

  • Rinse your mouth with saltwater solution as directed by your oral surgeon.

  • Avoid eating hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that may dislodge the stitches.

Remember, proper care of your stitches is crucial for a smooth recovery.

Recovery and Aftercare

Immediate Post-Extraction Care

After the wisdom tooth extraction procedure, it is important to follow these care instructions:

  1. Bleeding: Pressure should be placed on the gauze pad that has been put over the extraction site for one hour. If the bleeding continues, new gauze should be placed and pressure applied for another 45 minutes.

  2. Avoid biting on numb lips or tongue: If supervising children who have had an extraction done, make sure they don’t bite on their numb lips or tongue as it can cause serious injury to their soft tissue.

  3. Diet: For the first 2-3 days after surgery, a diet of soft food and liquids is recommended. This includes soup, yogurt, milkshakes, and juice. Avoid eating small hard foods such as nuts, chips, and sesame seeds for 1 week following the surgery.

  4. Medication: Take all the prescribed medication based on the provided instructions.

  5. Swelling: Some swelling is normal, especially after the extraction of impacted wisdom teeth. Applying an ice bag and taking prescribed medication will help minimize discomfort.

If you experience excessive bleeding, severe pain or swelling, or have any questions or concerns, contact our office. In case of serious emergencies, call 911.

Managing Pain and Swelling

After the wisdom tooth extraction procedure, it is common to experience pain and swelling in the affected area. Pain can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It is important to follow the recommended dosage and consult with your oral surgeon if the pain persists or worsens. Swelling can be reduced by applying an ice pack to the outside of your cheek for 20 minutes at a time. This can help alleviate discomfort and promote healing. Additionally, avoiding strenuous activities and sticking to a soft food diet can aid in the recovery process.

Diet and Oral Hygiene

Maintaining a proper diet and practicing good oral hygiene are crucial for a smooth recovery after wisdom tooth extraction. Here are some important tips to follow:

  1. Stick to soft foods: In the first few days after the extraction, it is recommended to consume soft foods that are easy to chew and swallow, such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, and smoothies.

  2. Avoid hard and crunchy foods: Hard and crunchy foods can irritate the extraction site and potentially dislodge the blood clot, leading to complications. Stay away from nuts, chips, and popcorn.

  3. Keep the mouth clean: Gently rinse your mouth with warm saltwater after meals to keep the extraction site clean and promote healing. Avoid using mouthwash or brushing the extraction site for the first 24 hours.

  4. Take prescribed medications: Follow your oral surgeon's instructions regarding pain medications and antibiotics. Take them as prescribed to manage pain and prevent infection.

Remember, proper diet and oral hygiene practices are essential for a successful recovery. If you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to contact your oral surgeon.

Potential Complications and Risks

Dry Socket

Dry socket is a common complication that can occur after wisdom tooth extraction. It happens when the blood clot that forms in the socket where the tooth was removed becomes dislodged or dissolves before the wound has fully healed. This can cause severe pain and delay the healing process. To prevent dry socket, it is important to follow your dentist's post-extraction instructions, which may include avoiding smoking, using a straw, or eating hard or sticky foods. If you experience symptoms of dry socket, such as intense pain or a bad taste in your mouth, contact your dentist immediately for further evaluation and treatment.

Here are some tips to help prevent dry socket:

  • Avoid smoking or using tobacco products, as they can interfere with the healing process.

  • Be gentle when brushing and flossing around the extraction site to avoid dislodging the blood clot.

  • Stick to a soft food diet for the first few days after the extraction.

  • Rinse your mouth gently with warm saltwater to keep the area clean.

Remember, if you have any concerns or questions about your recovery after wisdom tooth extraction, don't hesitate to reach out to your dentist for guidance and support.

Infection

Infection is a common complication that can occur after wisdom tooth extraction. It is important to follow proper oral hygiene practices to reduce the risk of infection. This includes gently rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater and avoiding touching the extraction site with your fingers or tongue. If you notice any signs of infection, such as increased pain, swelling, or discharge, it is important to contact your oral surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.

Nerve Damage

Nerve damage is a potential complication of wisdom tooth extraction. Although rare, it can occur if the nerves in the jaw are affected during the procedure. Symptoms of nerve damage may include numbness or tingling in the lips, tongue, or chin. In most cases, nerve damage is temporary and resolves on its own within a few weeks or months. However, in rare cases, it may be permanent. If you experience any symptoms of nerve damage after wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to contact your oral surgeon for further evaluation and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does the extraction procedure take?

The duration of a wisdom tooth extraction procedure can vary depending on several factors. On average, the procedure takes about 45 minutes to an hour per tooth. However, the actual time may be shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the case, such as the position and condition of the tooth, the presence of impaction, and the need for surgical extraction. It is important to note that the time mentioned here is the actual surgical time and does not include the preparation and recovery periods.

Will I be able to eat normally after the extraction?

After the extraction, it is recommended to follow a soft food and liquid diet for 2-3 days. This includes foods like soup, yogurt, milkshakes, and juice. It is important to avoid eating small hard foods such as nuts, chips, and sesame seeds for at least 1 week following the surgery. If you experience excessive bleeding, severe pain or swelling, or if you have any questions or concerns, please call our office. Remember to apply pressure on the gauze pad placed over the extraction site for one hour, and if bleeding continues, replace the gauze and apply pressure for another 45 minutes.

When can I resume physical activities?

After wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to allow your body enough time to heal before resuming physical activities. The exact timeline for resuming physical activities may vary depending on the complexity of the extraction and your individual healing process. It is generally recommended to wait at least 24 to 48 hours before engaging in any strenuous activities. During this time, it is important to rest and avoid any activities that may increase blood flow to the extraction site. It is also important to follow your oral surgeon's instructions and recommendations for a smooth recovery.

If you have any concerns or questions about when you can safely resume physical activities, it is best to consult with your oral surgeon for personalized guidance.

Please note that the information provided here is general in nature and may not apply to everyone. Your oral surgeon will provide you with specific instructions based on your unique situation.

Welcome to the Frequently Asked Questions section of Dr. Wisdom Teeth - Wisdom Teeth, It's All We Do. If you have any questions or concerns about wisdom teeth, you've come to the right place. Our team of experts is here to provide you with the information you need. Whether you're wondering about the extraction process, recovery time, or potential complications, we've got you covered. Don't hesitate to reach out to us for any wisdom teeth-related queries. Visit our website for more details and to schedule a consultation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, wisdom tooth extraction is a common dental procedure that may be necessary to maintain oral health. It is important to consult with a qualified dentist in Provo, UT to determine if extraction is needed. The procedure itself is typically performed under local anesthesia and can provide relief from pain and discomfort caused by impacted or overcrowded wisdom teeth. Recovery time varies, but following post-operative instructions and taking proper care of the extraction site can help ensure a smooth recovery. If you are experiencing any pain or discomfort related to your wisdom teeth, it is recommended to contact our office and schedule an appointment with our experienced dental team.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the recovery time after wisdom tooth extraction?

The recovery time after wisdom tooth extraction can vary depending on the individual. In general, it takes about 1-2 weeks for the gums to heal completely. However, most people are able to resume their normal activities within a few days.

Is wisdom tooth extraction painful?

During the procedure, you will be given anesthesia to numb the area, so you should not feel any pain. However, you may experience some discomfort and swelling after the extraction. Your oral surgeon will provide you with pain medication to manage any discomfort.

How long does the wisdom tooth extraction procedure take?

The duration of the wisdom tooth extraction procedure can vary depending on the complexity of the case. On average, it takes about 45 minutes to an hour to remove all four wisdom teeth.

What are the possible complications of wisdom tooth extraction?

While rare, complications can occur after wisdom tooth extraction. These can include dry socket, infection, and nerve damage. Your oral surgeon will discuss these risks with you and provide you with instructions on how to minimize the chances of complications.

Can I eat normally after wisdom tooth extraction?

It is recommended to stick to a soft food diet for the first few days after the extraction. This includes foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, soups, and smoothies. As the gums heal, you can gradually reintroduce solid foods into your diet.

When can I resume physical activities after wisdom tooth extraction?

It is best to avoid strenuous physical activities for at least 24-48 hours after the extraction. This will help prevent excessive bleeding and promote faster healing. After that, you can gradually resume your normal activities.

What is a wisdom tooth
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Frequently Asked Questions

What are wisdom teeth, and why do they need to be removed?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of teeth to erupt in the mouth, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. They often cause problems because there is insufficient space for them to fully emerge or they may grow in an improper position. This can lead to various issues like pain, infection, tooth decay, gum disease, and damage to adjacent teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure to address these concerns.

How do I know if my wisdom teeth need to be removed?

If you are experiencing pain, swelling, infection, damage to neighboring teeth, or overcrowding, it is advisable to consult with a dental professional who can examine your mouth and take X-rays to determine the position and condition of your wisdom teeth. Based on their assessment, they can recommend the need for wisdom teeth removal. If you do not have a dentist, please call us and set up a FREE consultation and x-ray to determine a plan that is right for you.

Why are the third molars referred to as wisdom teeth?

According to the Oxford Dictionary, third molars are referred to as wisdom teeth because their common age of eruption is between 17 and 25. Aristotle explained it this way 2500 years ago!

"The last teeth to come in man are molars called ‘wisdom-teeth’, which come at the age of twenty years, in the case of both sexes. Cases have been known in women upwards of eighty years old where at the very close of life the wisdom-teeth have come up, causing great pain in their coming; and cases have been known of the like phenomenon in men too. This happens, when it does happen, in the case of people where the wisdom-teeth have not come up in early years."

— Aristotle, The History of Animals.

Why do we have third molars if we just remove them?

Third molars helped our human ancestors to grind plant tissue during a time when leafy greens were a more important part of our diet. It is thought that the skulls of our ancestors had larger jaws with more room to accommodate more teeth which helped them to chew foliage more efficiently. This was important because humans lack the ability to efficiently digest cellulose, an important part of plant cell walls. Since the advent of agriculture, almost 10,000 years ago, our diets have become softer and include a larger amount of sugar and high energy foods. These diets have resulted in smaller jaws and not enough room for the wisdom teeth. So when they begin to erupt, they are often painful or crooked and do not fit properly in the mouth. Their removal becomes mandatory for a healthy mouth.

What is the process for removing wisdom teeth?

The process for wisdom teeth removal involves a surgical procedure performed by a dentist or oral surgeon. It typically includes making an incision in the gum tissue, removing any bone that blocks access to the tooth, cutting the tooth into smaller pieces and then removing the pieces and suturing the incision. This procedure ensures the complete removal of the impacted or problematic wisdom tooth.

Does everyone have 4 wisdom teeth?

No, although 4 is the most common number (one in each corner of the mouth); some people have 1, 2 or 3 wisdom teeth and some people don’t have any at all! In rare cases people develop additional teeth in the area of the wisdom teeth call ‘para-molars’ and may have 5 or more!

Does wisdom teeth removal require anesthesia or sedation?

Wisdom teeth removal usually requires some form of anesthesia or sedation to ensure patient comfort during the procedure. Your dentist will discuss the options with you, which may include local anesthesia to numb the area around the tooth or general anesthesia to render you unconscious during the surgery. We provide an IV sedation for each patient we see. This guarantees you maximum comfort, no memory of the procedure and a faster recovery.

How long does it take to recover from wisdom teeth removal?

The recovery period after wisdom teeth removal varies from person to person, but it generally takes about a week to fully recover. During this time, you may experience some swelling and discomfort. Following the post-operative instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon, such as taking prescribed pain medications and applying ice packs, can aid in a smoother recovery process.

What are the potential risks and complications of wisdom teeth removal?

Like any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with wisdom teeth removal. These include infection, dry socket, nerve damage, sinus problems, and temporary or permanent jaw stiffness. However, these complications are relatively rare, and your dental professional will take necessary precautions to minimize the risks.

Can I eat normally after wisdom teeth removal?

Initially, you’ll need to stick to a soft or liquid diet for the first few days after the surgery to facilitate healing. As you progress in your recovery, you can gradually reintroduce solid foods into your diet. It’s important to avoid straws and hard, crunchy, or spicy foods that could irritate the extraction sites. Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide specific dietary guidelines to follow.

Are there any specific instructions or precautions I should follow before and after the procedure?

Prior to wisdom teeth removal, your dental professional will provide you with detailed instructions tailored to your specific situation. These instructions include: fasting 5-6 hours before the surgery, avoid smoking or using a straw post-surgery, take regularly prescribed medications, apply ice packs, maintain proper oral hygiene, and call us if you encounter any problems on our 24/7 after care nurse line. Adhering to these instructions is crucial for a successful recovery.

Will I experience pain during or after the removal?

The procedure itself is usually painless due to anesthesia or sedation. However, it is common to experience some discomfort and swelling after the surgery. Your dentist may prescribe pain medications to manage any post-operative pain. Additionally, using home remedies such as applying ice packs and rinsing with warm saltwater can help alleviate discomfort during the recovery period.

What are the alternatives to wisdom teeth removal?

In certain cases where the wisdom teeth are fully erupted, positioned correctly, and not causing any problems, they may not need to be removed. Regular monitoring and good oral hygiene practices are essential to ensure they do not cause complications in the future. However, if extraction is recommended, it is typically the most effective solution to prevent potential issues associated with impacted or problematic wisdom teeth.

What does it mean that a wisdom tooth is ‘impacted’?

Your dentist will classify a tooth by the degree to which it has been able to grow out of your jaw bone. If a tooth remains trapped in the bone, usually by a lack of space or close proximity to other teeth, the tooth is considered to be ‘impacted’. If your wisdom teeth are impacted and need to be removed, you will experience some degree of swelling around the lower wisdom teeth. Sometimes patient’s refer to this as the “chipmunk effect” because after surgery you look like you are packing nuts in your cheeks like a chipmunk!

When is the best time to remove the wisdom teeth?

This is always a hard question to answer, simply because we can’t see into the future. However, if an X-ray indicates that there is inadequate room for the wisdom teeth to develop then a few criteria may indicate the ideal time to remove the wisdom teeth. Your doctor will help you decide when the time is right - They are best removed before the roots have fully developed. Ideally, when root development is between 25% and 50%. Undeveloped roots increase the chances that your surgery will be successful and you will not suffer any long term negative effects.- If possible, allowing the tooth to erupt as much as possible before it gets ‘stuck’ is also favorable. The closer the tooth gets to erupting, the simpler the surgery to remove it will be.- Age is a consideration and patients in their late teens are ideal candidates for removal. However, in some instances patients as young as 10 years old or as old as 90 may require wisdom tooth removal.- Oftentimes patients will remove the wisdom teeth to prepare for braces at the request of their Orthodontist.- …And, if your wisdom teeth are hurting…this is a great time to remove them!

What could happen if I don’t remove my wisdom teeth when my doctor recommends that I do?

If you wait until your adult years to remove your wisdom teeth several things become more complicated about your surgery.- First, at some point in your late-late teens or early twenties, your lower wisdom teeth will grow root tips and finish developing. Once this happens, the risk of the root tips interfering with the nerve in your mandible raises the risk of temporary or permanent numbness in your lower lip and chin.- The older you become, generally the more dense your bone becomes. Increased bone density will increase the difficulty of removing the wisdom teeth and could cause additional swelling and healing time.- Younger patients heal faster and with less complications overall than older patients. Younger patients generally experience less dry socket, pain and swelling than older patients.

What is a dry socket?

A dry socket (local alveolar osteitis) occurs when the blood clot is lost from the hole left in the jaw after a wisdom tooth is extracted. It generally results in a dull, uncomfortable ache. It is easily treated in the office where you had your wisdom teeth removed.

What can be done to prevent a dry socket?

We see very few dry sockets in our practice! We are excited to provide you with a state of the art procedure called Platelet Rich Fibrin (PRF) to reduce your chances of dry socket from 1 in 10 to 1 in 100! We offer this procedure at no charge to you! After placing your IV, we will draw a small amount of blood. That blood will be put into a centrifuge and spun very fast until it separates into distinct layers. One of the layers, the Platelet Rich layer contains numerous white blood cells, neutrophils and other key components of healing. This portion of your blood will be put back into the socket to stimulate bone growth and healing, reduce pain and inflammation and dramatically reduce your chance of dry socket. Dr. Hendrickson believes PRF is so beneficial that he provides this service to all of his patients at no cost. Thanks to PRF treatment we see a very small number of dry socket.

Where are you located?

We have 2 locations. Our Provo & Murray offices are located...

Provo Location:

2230 N University Pkwy #8A

Provo, Utah

84604

(801) 370-0050

Murray Location:

5888 S 900 E #101

Murray, UT

84121

(801) 370-0050

What are your hours?

We are open Monday - Friday 8:00 am -5:00 pm MST.

Surgeries are scheduled on Thursdays (Provo) and Fridays (Murray).

Provo Location:

2230 N University Pkwy #8A

Provo, Utah

84604

(801) 370-0050

Murray Location:

5888 S 900 E #101

Murray, UT

84121

(801) 370-0050

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