Our third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, usually erupt between the ages of 16 to 21 years of age. For some, it may even be earlier or later than that; for others, they may never erupt at all. Wisdom teeth are named as such since they are the last molars to erupt in the mouth. Most people assume that the eruption of wisdom teeth directly correlates to having them removed. However, this is not entirely true.
Wisdom teeth do not serve an essential function in the mouth. They may need to be removed in the following cases:
- If the wisdom tooth does not have adequate space to erupt and starts to impinge on adjacent teeth. These areas may be difficult to clean properly and can lead to the accumulation of plaque, causing inflammation of the gums in the area and subsequent pain. Improper cleaning can also lead to decay of the teeth adjacent to the wisdom teeth.
- If the inadequate space for wisdom teeth leads to crowding of the rest of the teeth.
- Wisdom teeth that erupt only partially can form an entryway for bacteria to colonize into the gum tissue and create opportunities for infection.
- If wisdom teeth become impacted, a cyst can develop around the affected tooth and lead to the destruction of adjacent tooth roots and jawbone.
Smoking After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If you are scheduled for a wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist will advise some post-operative advice and precautions that should be followed to ensure proper healing of the socket. Smokers are advised to stay away from cigarettes for at least 72-96 hours; abstaining for 5 days is ideal. Experiencing some amount of pain, bruising, and swelling associated with wisdom tooth extraction is normal. However, smoking can give rise to severe complications and hinder the healing process of the wound.
Loss of Blood Clot:
The healing of the extraction wound begins with the formation of a blood clot in the empty tooth socket. Specialized cells known as fibroblasts work to regenerate the bone and supporting tissues in the socket. The physical act of smoking can lead to dislodgment of the blood clot and delay the healing process by interrupting the natural interactions occurring at the extraction site.
Dry socket is one of the most painful conditions that can develop after a wisdom tooth extraction. It occurs as a result of inadequate healing of the extraction wound, which leads to infection of the empty socket and exposure of the underlying bone and nerves. Constant dissolution or dislodgement of the blood clot due to smoking can lead to a dry socket, which most commonly develops between 1-3 days after the extraction. Dry socket is associated with extreme pain that can radiate to the entire side of the face and which becomes worse upon consumption of food and drink.
Chemical toxins present in cigarettes are responsible for inflammation of the gums, which can accentuate pain and swelling at the extraction site. Moreover, the blood vessels shrink in chronic smokers, which leads to lesser oxygen and nutrient delivery to the area around the wound and subsequent delays in wound healing. Delayed wound healing also makes the extraction site prone to infections.
Conditions like loss of blood clot and dry socket cannot be treated with over-the-counter medication. It becomes crucial for the patient to visit their dentist and get themselves treated professionally at this point.
Visit Anoka Dental to know more about wisdom tooth extraction and the necessary precautions that should be followed along with it.