Posts for tag: wisdom teeth

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
October 05, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth   Extraction  

Tooth ExtractionYou're in pain. Your jaw is swollen, and your tooth is sensitive to heat and cold. Do you need a dental extraction? These signs and others may indicate your tooth is in jeopardy, but only your family dentist in Marion, Dr. Wayne Cook, can tell for sure. His experience and skill assure you of an accurate diagnosis and successful extraction if needed.

Danger signs

What tells Dr. Cook your tooth needs an extraction? X-rays and visual examination are part of the story, as are symptoms of:

  • A toothache
  • Jaw and gum swelling
  • Drainage and bad breath
  • Tooth mobility
  • Visible damage such as a deep crack, large chip or lost filling
  • Sensitivity to pressure and temperature extremes

While fillings, crowns and root canal therapy save many the ailing tooth, some teeth are just too far gone and must be pulled.

Other problems

Sometimes a tooth needs extraction because it's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Examples of these situations include:

  • Baby teeth which won't allow underlying adult teeth to erupt
  • Teeth in the way of cancer therapy (radiation)
  • Wisdom teeth, or third molars, which enter an adolescent's mouth crooked or not at all because they are impacted in bone or gum tissue
  • Teeth which are too large for a patient's jaw, causing misalignment and overcrowding
  • Impacted canine teeth (the American Association of Orthodontists recommends X-rays by age seven to determine the position of incoming teeth)

Your treatment plan

Whatever the problem, your Marion family dentist will devise the treatment plan to correct it and give you the healthiest, best-looking smile possible.

If the plan includes extraction, expect a comfortable treatment under local anesthetic or other pain control option. While most extractions are called simple extractions (the dentist just pulls the tooth using handheld tools), others are more complex.

Either way, Dr. Cook will follow your case carefully post procedure and recommend the following aftercare:

  • Over the counter analgesics for pain
  • Biting on sterile gauze to stop bleeding
  • Oral antibiotics if the tooth was abscessed
  • Rinsing with salt water
  • Eating a soft diet
  • No brushing, smoking or drinking with a straw so the blood clot stays in the socket

This last caution helps prevent a condition called "dry socket." Dry socket happens when suction or other condition interferes with the blood clot which forms after extraction. The Columbia University College of Dental Medicine says that 3 to 4 percent of dry sockets become infected and must be avoided if at all possible.

Don't worry

No one wants to lose a tooth, but count on Dr. Wayne Cook and his team for an extraction that's performed properly and for tooth replacement options which make sense for your case. Call the office right away if you have worrisome dental symptoms. We're here to help. Phone (870) 739-8799.

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
September 03, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
April 28, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

Teeth damaged by decay, periodontal (gum) disease or trauma are often removed (extracted) if they’re deemed beyond repair. But there’s another reason we may recommend an extraction: a tooth is causing or has the potential to cause problems for other teeth and your overall oral health.

Some of the most frequent cases of “preventive extraction” involve the third molars, or wisdom teeth, located in the very back of the mouth. They’re usually the last permanent teeth to come in, which is related to some of the problems they can cause. Because they’re trying to come in among teeth that have already erupted they don’t always erupt properly, often at abnormal angles or not fully erupting through the gums, a condition called impaction.

Impacted or misaligned wisdom teeth can put pressure on adjacent teeth and their roots, which can cause root resorption that damages the second molar. They can also increase the risk of periodontal (gum) disease in the gum tissues of the second molars, which if untreated can ultimately cause teeth and bone loss.

Because of current or possible future problems with wisdom teeth, we often consider removing them at some early point in the person’s dental development. Such a consideration shouldn’t be undertaken lightly, since wisdom teeth extraction is often complex and fraught with complications, and it usually requires a surgical procedure.

That’s why we first conduct a comprehensive examination (including x-ray or other imaging to determine exact location and possible complications) before we recommend an extraction. If after careful analysis an extraction appears to be the best course, we must then consider other factors like planned orthodontics to determine the best time for the procedure.

Once performed, a wisdom tooth extraction can resolve existing problems now and reduce the risks of gum disease or malocclusions in the future. When it comes to wisdom teeth, removing them may be in your or your family member’s best interest for optimal dental health.

If you would like more information on wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.”

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
November 06, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

Marion, AR Family Dentist
Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
303 Bancario Rd.Suite 7
Marion, AR 72364
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