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Shadle Smiles General Dentistry

The last teeth to erupt are the third molars, also known as wisdom teeth. These teeth usually begin to erupt when a person is in their late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth are known for causing pain as they try to come in. Many times, they are impacted, pushing on the adjacent tooth. They may partially erupt, leaving a flap of gum tissue on the occlusal surface of the tooth. This flap of soft tissue hides bacteria and acts as a food trap, making the tooth susceptible to decay. It can also cause pain or discomfort when chewing.

Wisdom teeth seldom grow in straight or without problems. They are often crooked or sideways as they try to erupt. Even when they erupt normally, the pain caused as they cut through the gum tissue is often unbearable. These teeth are usually extracted because of these issues.

Most problems with wisdom teeth can be detected early with regular dental checkups. In this way, the intense pain associated with wisdom teeth can be minimized or avoided altogether. If your dentist notices an impending problem with the development of your wisdom teeth, the situation can be addressed in its early stages.

Extraction of Impacted Teeth

An impacted tooth can cause a great deal of pain as it pushes against the adjacent tooth. Besides the discomfort they cause, an impacted tooth can also create other teeth to be thrown out of alignment. Inflammation can develop as soft tissues become irritated, and this can cause swelling. It can also affect the nerves of surrounding teeth if the impaction exerts pressure.

Careful planning goes into the extraction of wisdom teeth because they are often near or on the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the jaw and part of the face. In some instances, the roots of a wisdom tooth may be curled around the jawbone. When this is the case, the tooth is usually removed in sections. After thoroughly examining the teeth and their position, your dentist will determine the most effective method of removal.

All tooth extractions are considered oral surgery, and certain precautions need to be taken after the procedure. You will be given instructions for home care of the extraction site(s). Following these guidelines is important to speed healing and minimize the possibility of complications. It is also important to rest for the first 24 hours after the extractions and avoid strenuous activity.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about wisdom tooth extraction. Contact Shadle Smiles for information and to schedule an appointment.

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Spokane, WA 99205


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