Wisdom Teeth | Reston, VA

The age when you do adults often first appear between the ages of 17 to 21. They are also called third molars. Because most mouths are too small for 4 more teeth, wisdom teeth often need to be removed if they pose a problem. 

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause structural damage to the jaw and other teeth. They can also provide a place for bacteria to gather since they are hard to reach and clean. These potential problems make it necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth so that larger problems do not arise. Routine x-rays during a dental exam can reveal if you will need to have your wisdom teeth removed.

These symptoms may mean that the wisdom teeth have erupted, and should be removed before they cause more serious problems:

  • Pain
  • Infection in the mouth
  • Facial swelling
  • Swelling of the gumline in the back of the mouth around the wisdom tooth. The wisdom teeth may be partly erupted. That means the teeth have partly surfaced and have no room in the mouth to come in completely. 
  • If a wisdom tooth is causing damage to the adjacent tooth, for example decay or gum disease, then Dr. Hanah Pham will recommend to have it taken out. 

Completely impacted teeth have not come through the gum and may never erupt into the mouth. If they are not causing problems or seen as a possible problem, then Dr. Hanah Pham will choose to watch them over time.

What problems are often linked to impacted wisdom teeth?

  • Bacteria and plaque buildup if the molars are partly erupted
  • A cyst or fluid-filled sac
  • A tumor Infection
  • Jaw and gum disease 
  •  Decay or root resorption of the nearby tooth

Wisdom teeth extractions are a fairly common dental surgery. It can take a couple of weeks to fully recover after wisdom teeth removal. Wisdom teeth often cause problems as they are trying to protrude through the gums. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it means the tooth is coming in at an angle and not straight through the gum line. This can cause pain, the tooth can come in unevenly, or the tooth may only emerge partially.

When a wisdom tooth only emerges partially a flap of skin, called an operculum, may form over the tooth. This can make the tooth hard to clean, and pieces of food may be caught under the skin. This makes it easy for an infection, called pericoronitis, to develop. It will usually go away on its own, but it causes swelling and pain in the area.

Impacted teeth and wisdom teeth that can potentially cause problems, like infections, need to be removed. Extractions can range from a single tooth, to removing all four wisdom teeth at once. Based on the preference of Dr. Hanah Pham and/or the patient, a local anesthetic could be used to numb the areas where the teeth will be extracted. Others will prefer to go under deep sedation (IV sedation) dentistry so that they will be sedated during the procedure.

Dr. Hanah Pham will uncover the impacted wisdom tooth by cutting the gum tissue to reveal to the tooth. The tooth is loosened by gripping it tightly and wiggling it back and forth until it can be lifted out of the gums. Sometimes a tooth may be impacted so tightly that it cannot be simply lifted out of the gums. In cases like this, Dr. Hanah Pham will section the tooth into pieces before it is being removed. Depending on the incision and extraction site, sutures may be needed to close the area. Resorbable sutures are the best option, which will dissolve on their own.

After the surgery you will need to rest. You need to be driven home by a friend or family member because of the anesthesia. You can expect for the extraction site to bleed for a little while after the surgery. Gauze will be applied at the completion of the surgery, and you will need to change it when it becomes soaked. If bleeding continues for longer than 24 hours you should call Dr. Hanah Pham. Rest when you return home, but do not lie flat. This could prolong the bleeding. Prop your head up on a pillow when lying down. Dr. Hanah Pham will prescribe you pain medication, so if you become sore take as directed. You can also use an ice pack for the pain. Dr. Hanah Pham might also provide you with a cleaning solution to clean the extraction site.

You will be limited to soft foods for a few days after your surgery. Some recommended foods are:

  • Gelatin
  • Pudding
  • Yogurt
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Ice Cream
  • Thin Soups
  • ...and other food you can eat without chewing

When drinking, make sure you do not use a straw. The sucking motion can loosen your sutures and slow the clotting process. The same goes for smoking. If you have prolonged pain, bleeding, irritation, or do not feel that the extraction site is healing properly call Dr. Hanah Pham's office for a follow up. Click Here for Extraction Post-Op Instructions

We do wisdom teeth extractions with and without sedation dentistry. We serve patients for their extraction needs who live in Northern Virginia and the surrounding states. Please call us at (703) 860-4148 or fill out the form below for a free consultation on having your wisdom teeth extracted.

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