So you went to the dentist and had your teeth cleaned, and your hygienist and/or dentist mentioned a procedure called a distal wedge. You already removed your patient bib, had your new toothbrush and floss, and were barely listening to what it was and whether you really needed it. Let me explain what it is — and yes, you do probably need it!
Many times we have our wisdom teeth taken out and our bodies heal beautifully, making lots of new tissue to cover the hole. Sometimes this tissue becomes excessive and covers the back part of the tooth that is now the last in the arch. That tooth is ridiculously hard to clean as it is, but now with some tissue overgrowth it can’t be kept clean and allows for plaque to burrow underneath the gum line. This can cause a localized gum disease, it can cause a cavity that is often missed because it is way under there, it can cause discomfort and eventual tooth loss. Your dentist can decrease the risk of these unwanted consequences by numbing the area and removing a small wedge of the tissue covering the tooth in front. You may leave with a stitch that is removed later. Once healed, the very last tooth is easier to keep clean and has a better opportunity to stay healthy. The whole procedure takes about 15 minutes, and the results are completely worth it. I started offering distal wedges and saw immediate results when patients returned for cleanings in the upcoming months. Also, each patient reported that the procedure and healing were not bad.