Skip to main content

Summer Break: An Ideal Time for Removing Those Wisdom Teeth

Summer Break: An Ideal Time for Removing Those Wisdom Teeth

Your third set of molars, colloquially known as wisdom teeth, are essentially a relic from the days when humans lived in caves and ate tough foods that needed lots of grinding. Today, though, we don’t need them to survive, and that’s a good thing. While some people’s wisdom teeth emerge normally between ages 17-25, for many others, they only cause a host of oral health problems, requiring extraction.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon Dr. Michael Nichols and our team at Oral & Facial Surgery of Mississippi in Flowood are well versed in wisdom teeth and their removal, especially because wisdom teeth are more prone to extraction than any other teeth. If yours are literally a pain in your mouth, the upcoming summer break is the ideal time to have them removed. Your entire mouth will thank you.

Wisdom teeth, the troublemakers of your mouth

By the time your wisdom teeth try to erupt through the gum tissue, you already have 28 teeth settled comfortably into place, and there’s often not enough room for four large, new teeth to muscle their way in.

When that happens, a wisdom tooth may only erupt partially through the gum tissue, allowing food particles to become easily trapped between the tooth and gum. That makes it more difficult for you to brush and floss and keep the area free of infection and decay.

And even if your wisdom teeth do erupt completely, they still may not play nice with their neighbors. They can come in at an angle, or they might scrape against your cheeks or gums, causing sores. And they can cause pain and improper wear by pushing against other established teeth.

Wisdom teeth tend to create problems more often after you turn 30, for two reasons: their roots grow longer over time, and your jawbone holding them in place becomes denser. That means removing wisdom teeth after your 30s, especially if they remain impacted in your gum, leads to a greater risk of complications and a more extended recovery period. That’s why some dentists and oral surgeons proactively extract wisdom teeth while you’re still young, preventing any potential problem from developing.

Taking out the garbage

The solution to the new troublemakers on the block is usually extraction — as we’ve said, you don’t need wisdom teeth for good oral health. Dr. Nichols performs all extractions as outpatient surgical procedures using IV sedation to keep you comfortable. The procedure usually takes 30-60 minutes, depending on how many wisdom teeth he has to remove and how embedded in the gum tissue they are.

You won’t be able to eat or drink for six hours before the surgery because of the anesthesia. You’ll also need someone to drive you home, since the sedation will leave you a bit groggy afterward.

When you come in for your procedure, we start an IV in the back of your hand to deliver the anesthetic. We also give you some local anesthesia once you’re asleep to keep you numb enough so you can get home and rest. If the teeth are easily accessible, you probably won’t need stitches. If they’re not, Dr. Nichols may have to cut the gum tissue to access the tooth root; if he does, he generally uses the type of stitches that dissolve in 7 to 10 days and don’t require removal.

Follow-up care

You’ll be a bit groggy, so we give you complete, written postoperative instructions to follow when you get home. We also provide a prescription for a strong painkiller and an antibiotic, a recommendation for an OTC anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, and a contact number in case you run into problems. You return to the office in one week so Dr. Nichols can make sure everything’s healing well.

It’s very important that you don’t drink with a straw or smoke for at least 48-72 hours following the extraction. Both actions can dislodge the blood clot that forms over the tooth space, leading to dry socket syndrome, an extremely painful condition.

Most patients feel much better in 3 to 5 days, so make sure you schedule that amount of time to take it easy and enable faster recovery. Summer break, with its reduced commitments, is ideal for scheduling the procedure.

Are your wisdom teeth giving you grief? Summer break is a great time to get them removed and restore your mouth’s oral health. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Nichols, give Oral & Facial Surgery of Mississippi a call at 601-282-9290.

You Might Also Enjoy...

All-on-4® Dental Implants

All-on-4® Dental Implants

If you’re missing a full arch of teeth, All-on-4® dental implants are the gold standard for restoration options. Keep reading to learn about all the benefits they have to offer.
Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth are commonly extracted because they cause painful symptoms and can damage your gums, bone, and other teeth. Keep reading to learn all about wisdom teeth removal.