You’ve been to the dentist for your regular teeth cleaning, and the hygienist recommended a procedure called a distal wedge, but you’re not sure you really need it.  Allow us to explain what it is — and yes, you probably do need it!

After wisdom teeth have been extracted and the healing came off without a hitch, your body is now overdoing it, making a lot of new tissue to cover the hole.  When this tissue overgrows and covers the back part of the tooth that has now become the last in the arch — a tooth that is ridiculously hard to clean in the first place — now with excessive tissue overgrowth, it can’t be kept clean at all.  This creates a cozy place for plaque to burrow underneath the gum line, causing a localized gum disease.  It can effectively hide a cavity because it is way back there and underneath the tissue growth, and it can become the source of pain and eventual tooth loss.

The risk created by these unwanted consequences can be decreased by a very simple procedure, which produces minimal postsurgical discomfort, where the dentist numbs the area and removes that small wedge of the tissue covering the back tooth. You may have a stitch that is dissolvable or a type that must be removed later.

Now that the excess tissue is gone, and the gum has healed, that very last tooth is easier to keep clean and has a fighting chance to stay healthy. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes, and the results are completely worth it.