Many people don't know about wisdom tooth removal, despite its prevalence among Americans. About 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted every year, proving that this is a standard dental procedure. So, what are the reasons for a wisdom tooth extraction? How is the procedure carried out? And how much does it cost? This article will tell you everything that you need to know about wisdom tooth extraction in La Puente, CA. Keep reading to learn more.

Overview of Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Wisdom teeth or third molars are teeth that typically erupt between the age of 17 and 21. Sometimes, wisdom teeth can be valuable to your mouth if they are healthy or adequately aligned. Unfortunately, they are usually misaligned and require removal. 

Reasons Why You Should Remove Your Wisdom Tooth

It's recommendable to understand the benefits of wisdom teeth removal to be sure of what you are about to do. For most people, wisdom teeth are painless and usually ignore them. However, even an asymptomatic molar can wreak havoc on your gum and lead to periodontal disease.

One of the main reasons why you should remove your wisdom teeth is misalignment. A misaligned wisdom tooth positions itself at an angle, horizontally, or towards or away from the second molar. It can also angle itself inward or outwards. Poorly aligned wisdom teeth cause crowding of your teeth, damage to the adjacent teeth, nerves, or the jaw.

You can also decide to remove your wisdom tooth when it is impacted. An impacted tooth is usually enclosed with the jaw bone, soft tissue,  or partially broken when erupting from the gum. A partially erupted wisdom tooth allows an opening for bacteria opening around the tooth and can cause an infection. The following are some of the common complications associated with an impacted wisdom tooth.

  • Bleeding gums
  • Swelling in your jaw
  • Pain in your jaw
  • Foul-smelling breath
  • Inflamed and irritated gums
  • Loss of gums or bone
  • Damage to the tooth surrounding structure

Apart from the above-stated complications, an impacted tooth can lead to severe problems and diseases. Below are other reasons why you should remove your wisdom tooth.

Prevents Inflammation and Infection

When there is a combination of limited space and partial impaction on the wisdom teeth, this often leads to gum inflammation. An inflamed gum can be painful and a health hazard. Once the inflammation sets in, it can be challenging to alleviate it. It usually spreads to the surrounding areas. As stated above, a partially impacted tooth creates a breeding ground for bacteria, dramatically increasing the risk of infection.

Prevents Overcrowding of Your Teeth

When a wisdom tooth erupts, it tries to enter the already crowded jaw space. When there is little room to move into, the neighboring teeth are usually pushed, resulting in misalignment. This can undo a beautiful smile and unravel years of dental work. 

Reduces the Possibility of Damaging your Nearby Teeth

Wisdom teeth can do more damage to their neighboring teeth than invading their space. They can damage the adjacent second molars by contributing to cavities and bone loss. 

Reduces the Possibility of Tumors or Cysts

An impacted tooth can cause tiny cysts or tumors to form in your jawbone. Therefore, it’s recommendable to remove it as early as possible before it extends to the point of needing a TMJ specialist. Therefore, opting for wisdom tooth removal will reduce your expenses.

Guarantees A Better Cleaning Experience

If you experience pain and other obvious complications when a wisdom tooth erupts, your dental hygiene might be at risk. For example, it can be challenging to brush and floss around a wisdom tooth when there's not enough space. A hard-to-reach location or limited space makes wisdom teeth a prime target for plaque and cavity build-up. 

Reduces the Possibility of Different Diseases Associated with Inflammation

When an impacted wisdom tooth causes inflammation, it might allow bacteria to enter your bloodstream and advance to other parts of your body, causing a wide range of diseases such as stroke, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Therefore, removal of the wisdom tooth will help you prevent these diseases or infections.

Guarantees a Smooth Recovery

If wisdom teeth cannot erupt and cannot be maintained in a healthy state, it's best to remove them early. Early removal is associated with a smooth and timely recovery than when the tooth has already been impacted.

Prevents Sinus Problems

The nose and the mouth are intricately connected. Therefore, if an impacted tooth is inflamed, it can cause sinus pressure, congestion, and pain. Your overall health matters a lot. That's why you should pay attention to any ailment or symptoms associated with your wisdom teeth. 

Gives You the Peace of Mind

When you remove your wisdom tooth early, you don't have to worry about the long-term effects of a third molar.

The Procedure for Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Your dentist will remove or extract your wisdom teeth from their office. However, the dentist might decide to undertake this procedure from a hospital if there are risks of complications. If you have any infection, it will delay the removal process until it clears up. Your dentist will recommend antibiotics to help you heal the infection. 

Preparing for Wisdom Tooth Extraction

It's normal to be nervous when you're having your first wisdom tooth removed. You've probably heard different stories of other people's experiences, but you should know that everyone's experience is different. Below are a few tips to prepare for your wisdom tooth removal:

Take Some Time Off School or Work

After your wisdom tooth has been removed, it might take about 24 hours for the anesthesia to wear off. Therefore, it's advisable to schedule at least two days off school or work.

After the two-day recovery, it takes about one or two weeks to heal completely. Some people might take longer to recover. That's why you shouldn't plan for intense activities right after returning to school or work. 

  1. Find a Ride

Anesthesia can make you feel disoriented and dizzy. Therefore, it's not safe to drive yourself home once your wisdom tooth has been removed. You want to find a friend or relative who can take you home. It's also crucial to have a backup in case the first person of your choice fails you.

  1. Get Your Medication

Your dentist will recommend a prescription for pain relievers. However, ask them for their prescription before the surgery. Pick the medication from the pharmacy before the surgery to be better prepared. You should also purchase some over-the-counter medication; in case you stop taking the prescribed medicine.

  1. Have Soft Foods in Place

Your mouth will feel sore after the surgery, meaning that you'll have to eat soft foods. Therefore, stock your cupboard with the following foods:

  • Soup
  • Yogurt
  • Fruit smoothie
  • Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Fish
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rice
  • Applesauce

As you recover, you can slowly add harder foods into your diet. However, avoid hard foods like pretzels or popcorn for six or eight weeks after the surgery.

  1. Prepare Different Questions to Pose to Dentist

Everyone has a different experience in wisdom tooth removal. That's why you should seek all information you need by asking the following questions:

  • How many teeth will be removed?
  • Are there any impacted teeth?
  • For how long will the surgery take?
  • Do you need to fast before the surgery?
  • Do I need to take any medications before the surgery?

Other preparations that you should consider are as follows:

  • Avoid smoking for at least 12 hours before the surgery. If possible, quit smoking
  • Remain honest about your recreational drug and alcohol use. Remember, your body is better accustomed to drugs and alcohol, which it's used to taking. Therefore, remaining honest about your recreational drug use will help the dentist prepare you adequately for the procedure
  • If you are a lady, pull your hair back, remove your nail polish, jewelry and leave your lipstick at home
  • Do not eat or drink after midnight before the surgery. Eating puts you at serious risk of obstructing your airways when you regurgitate while on anesthesia
  • Wear comfortable clothing like t-shirts and sweatpants. Avoid wearing contact and opt for glasses instead

What to Expect During the Surgery

Once you arrive at the dentist's office, they might perform dental X-rays again when deemed necessary. The surgery should take about forty-five minutes. The dentist will administer anesthesia to avoid any pain or discomfort. You might be asleep or conscious during the surgery, depending on the type of sedation used.

There following are steps for a typical procedure:

  • Sedation: If the dentist intends to use nitrous oxide or laughing gas, the assistant fits a small mask over your nose to inhale the sedative. This sedative will keep you awake but will remain relaxed. If the dentist chooses Intravenous Sedation, their assistant will place a needle through your arm to administer the sedative throughout the surgery. Intravenous sedation is considered safe and comfortable since the patient drifts in and out of consciousness and would most likely not remember the procedure afterward.
  • Numbing: Your dentist will numb the wisdom teeth and their surrounding tissues using a local anesthetic after the sedation
  • Removal of the Surrounding Tissue: Your dentist will remove the surrounding gum tissues covering the location of your wisdom tooth to access the tooth
  • Removal of the Bone: An impacted wisdom tooth can be surrounded by the jaw bone, either fully or partially. If this happens, the dentist will use a high-speed drill to remove the bone.
  • Loosening and Sectioning of the Wisdom Tooth: Once the dentist identifies the wisdom tooth, they will use several surgical instruments to gently loosen it from the connective tissues inside the tooth's socket. The dentist might also cut into a section of the tissue to allow easier removal.
  • Removal of the Wisdom Tooth: After the wisdom tooth has loosened or is completely sectioned, it will be ready for removal. The dentist will use special surgical instruments designed to remove the tooth fully.
  • Stitching to Close the Gap: since the wisdom tooth is gone, the dentist will stitch up the gap that has been left to close it. stitching is usually necessary when the wisdom teeth have been removed, and the dentist feels that it will heal better when it's stitched

What to Expect After the Surgery

Once the dentist completes the surgery, the assistant will stop the Intravenous Injection or nitrous oxide gas. The dentist will also provide gauze to bite down to help in blood clots around the extraction area. You may feel mild anesthesia effects, including shivering, dizziness, and nausea.

The assistant will bring you to the recovery room for close monitoring. If the dentist confirms that you're stable and breathing, you'll be cleared to go home. The monitoring process will take less than an hour.

Please note, you'll feel swollen and dizzy after the surgery. You may not feel much of the pain immediately, but it will probably increase once the local anesthesia starts to wear off after several hours have passed. 

Potential Risks Associated with Wisdom Tooth Extraction and their Remedies

Although wisdom removal is a straightforward surgical experience, you might experience some complications like numbness, swelling, and bleeding. Fortunately, you can prevent or reduce these complications if you follow your dentist's care instructions and notify them when you experience them. Below are five of the most common wisdom teeth extraction complications that you might experience.

Alveolar Osteitis

After your wisdom teeth removal, blood will clot on the extraction site to help in the healing. You might experience alveolar osteitis or dry socket when the blood clot dislodges, leaving the nerve and your gum exposed to food or air debris. Patients who are regular smokers will most likely experience a dry socket than those who don't.

A dry socket usually happens three to five days after the extraction. Some of the signs include sharp pain at the extraction site and throbbing.

Pain and Swelling

It's common to experience pain and swell after the tooth extraction, especially after one to three days. That's why your dentist will recommend some over-the-counter pain medications. However, if you're experiencing severe pains days after the removal, contact your dentist for further examination.

Opening your Mouth for a Limited Period

After a lengthy wisdom tooth extraction, you might experience temporary trismus, discomfort, or restriction when opening your mouth. If this problem persists, your dentist will most likely prescribe medications, muscle relaxants, use of a jaw opening device, or heat therapy.

Excessive Bleeding

It's normal for your wisdom extraction area to bleed eight to twelve hours after the extraction. Your dentist should give you instructions on how to minimize the bleeding. These instructions include rinsing your mouth using salt water and avoiding smoking.

Lip Numbness

It's rare to experience lip numbness. Since your wisdom tooth is close to the inferior alveolar nerve, the nerve might be damaged during the surgery, leading to numbness in the jaw or lip. The numbness doesn't last for long, but if the nerves are damaged, the complications might be worse. 

Mitigating Measures to Possible Risks Associated with Wisdom Tooth Extraction

As you recover from the surgery, you should follow the dentist's instructions to mitigate the risks that come along. The following are some of the mitigating measures that you should consider.

Controlling Excessive Bleeding

Since you'll be experiencing some oozing on your first days after the wisdom tooth removal, you must use different measures to reduce this. Try to avoid excessive spitting since it might dislodge the blood clot from the socket.

Mitigating Swelling and Bruising

Use an ice pack as directed by the dentist or surgeon to reduce the chances of swelling or bruising. Swelling on your cheek will improve after two or three days, but bruising might take several days to resolve.

Engage in Less Straining Activities

When possible, spend the rest of your day resting once your wisdom tooth has been extracted. You can resume less straining activities the next day. However, don't engage in strenuous activities that might break the blood clot on the socket for a few weeks.

Use Proper Cleaning Method

Don't brush your mouth. Use a mouthwash to wash and rinse your mouth. You can resume brushing your teeth after twenty-four hours, but be gentle with the area near the surgical wound. You should also gently rinse your mouth with salt water every two hours after every meal for at least a week. 

The Cost of Wisdom Tooth Removal

It costs between $75 to $250 to remove a wisdom tooth. An impacted wisdom tooth costs between $200 - $600 per wisdom tooth. The removal of all four teeth would cost around $600-$1100. The cost varies according to the complexity of the procedure. Misaligned and mature wisdom teeth might take longer to extract than newly erupted teeth.

Find the Best Wisdom Tooth Extraction Service Near Me

The wisdom tooth removal process may sound simple, but it requires a lot of care and professionalism. At La Puente Advanced Dentistry, we are committed to offering the best services to our clients seeking wisdom tooth extraction in La Puente, CA, and its surrounding areas. We would like to deliver the best results to you. For more information, contact us at 626-626-7075, and let's discuss your treatment option.