Wisdom Tooth Q&A with Dr. Victoria Laor

Wisdom teeth Q&A With Dr. Laor

We receive a lot of questions about wisdom teeth removal, so we sat down with Oral Surgeon Dr. Victoria Laor. Dr. Laor is at our 68th Street location every other Friday so that you can have your wisdom teeth removed here at the office you know and trust. 

Is removing your wisdom teeth right away when you’re 18ish really necessary?

Not in all cases, but getting your wisdom teeth removed is often recommended to prevent oral health problems. Why do wisdom teeth cause oral health problems? 

  • Some teeth are positioned in such a way that they trap food or make it hard for you to be able to efficiently clean them with a toothbrush or floss. Built up food or bacteria that aren’t cleaned away can lead to an odor or cavities.
  • Your mouth is too small, so your jaw doesn’t have space for another set of molars.
  • They come in at the wrong angle. They may press against your other teeth and cause crowding or damage.
  • They can be trapped in your jawbone or gums and unable to come up through your gumline, which can be painful. If this happens, we call them “impacted” teeth. 

CPW Dentistry’s general dentists can determine at a dental wellness visit if your wisdom tooth should be removed, and then arrange an appointment with me on a Friday. During this initial consultation, I’ll perform an exam, review your health history, and provide you with treatment options. Sometimes I’ll need a special panoramic or 3-D x-ray to confirm. There is a machine at the 68th Street location that can take those x-rays. It may be possible to have the whole procedure, or part of the procedure, completed a the time of your consultation visit. 

What does it mean when a wisdom tooth is impacted?

It simply means the tooth is stuck in the bone and is not able to erupt into the mouth all the way, to allow for proper brushing.

When is a good time to remove your wisdom teeth?

Before they start to hurt and cause swelling and infections. If you’re starting to notice occasional discomfort that may or may not go away, it’s a good sign that your wisdom tooth should be looked at and, possibly, removed. If you’ve been told by your dentist that you should have them removed, try to plan for a good time in your schedule so that you can take a few days to recover from the procedure.

Are wisdom teeth extractions painful?

When wisdom teeth are removed by an experienced oral surgeon, people usually say it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be! Everyone is different, but I do everything possible to make the experience comfortable for you. The actual procedure is usually very quick (about half an hour) but we’ll take extra time to review everything with you and make sure you’re feeling well before you head home. It’s best not to compare yourself to a friend with a wisdom tooth horror story!

Should I get sedation while I have my wisdom teeth extracted?

I always administer a local anesthetic, just like the kind you would have for a filling. Before the injection, I’ll numb your gums using a topical medicine. You’re awake during the procedure, so you’ll feel some pressure and movement, but you shouldn’t experience pain. Some people also opt to have IV sedation. It can make you more comfortable by providing a way to separate your mind from your body. With IV sedation, you’ll have only a limited memory of your appointment. If you have anxiety about getting your wisdom teeth pulled, IV sedation can help ensure you have a positive visit.

Can I eat or drink before my appointment?

If you’ve opted for local anesthetic, you can eat and drink before your appointment, and we encourage you to enjoy a nice meal right. For IV sedation, you’ll need to have an empty stomach, which means no food or drink for 6 hours before your appointment.

What is recovery like after my wisdom teeth have been extracted?

Wisdom teeth extractions are surgical procedures, so you should expect to have some soreness and swelling afterward. The swelling often increases during the first three days. We can control the soreness with pain medication, and it generally subsides after three or four days. I always advise people to take at least the rest of the day off from work, and, ideally, another day or two after. Coming to see me on a Friday is perfect because you’ll have the weekend to recover. If I use stitches, they’ll dissolve on their own within a few days. A softer diet is recommended as your jaw will feel sore.

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