Dental implants are now the go-to supports for crowns, bridges, and dentures. They make it possible for you to enjoy fixed and permanent replacements for missing teeth. If you are thinking about rebuilding your smile, learning about dental implant surgery is a good place to start.Dental implants do more than just anchor prosthetics and dental…
Will I Have Facial Structure Changes After a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that a majority of people in the U.S. undergo at some point in life. One concern often voiced before surgery is the possibility that the procedure can result in facial structure changes, but this is an unlikely complication.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be extracted?
The wisdom teeth are the final set of molars at the back of the jaw. For the majority of people, these teeth erupt during the later teen years or before the age of 25, though not everyone’s third molars come through. Impaction is a term for teeth that remain below the gum line. Both impacted and erupted wisdom teeth can cause issues later in life.
Abscesses, cysts, cavities, infections, and damage to adjacent teeth are all potential complications that occur when these molars remain in the mouth. Dentists often recommend wisdom tooth extraction when X-rays reveal that the teeth may cause problems, though many people elect to have them removed even when no issues are apparent.
Commonly, the teeth are extracted from beneath the surface of the gums. An incision is made in the gum tissue to gain access to the bone and tooth. The tooth and the roots are both extricated and the opening that remains is cleaned. If necessary, sutures are done to aid in healing. The final step is to pack gauze over the wound to control bleeding and initiate blood clotting.
What can be expected after removal?
Individuals vary in the response to surgery and the time it takes to heal. A change in facial structure should not be expected for two primary reasons. First, the wisdom teeth reside in an area of dense bone. The process of removing them does not result in enough bone loss to create a significant hole. Second, the section of the jaw in which the teeth sit is not a part of the mandible structure that gives the jaw its shape. As such, removal is unlikely to alter facial structure.
There are a couple of temporary conditions that occur following surgery. These are potentially responsible for the misperception that the wisdom tooth extraction process results in structural changes.
Swelling in the cheeks
A majority of individuals experience some degree of swelling in the cheeks. This condition can persist for several days before returning to normal, though it generally begins to subside after two or three days. People who have swelling may suspect a change in face shape even once normal conditions return.
Changes to the diet
Following wisdom tooth extraction, it takes time before an individual is able to return to normal eating habits. Soreness at the site along with the potential for food to become lodged in the openings make it difficult to consume a standard diet. Until the sites partially heal, the patient's diet consists of soft to semi-soft foods. Some people lose weight during this time, which can make the face appear thinner than prior to surgery.
Not everyone requires wisdom tooth extraction, and the decision to undergo the surgery is done in consultation with a dentist. For those who do need it, the possibility that the procedure results in facial structure changes is nominal.
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