The wisdom teeth are your third set of molars that arrive during early adulthood. Our ancient ancestors had larger jaws that could accommodate these extra teeth. But modern humans have smaller jaws, which can lead to problems when wisdom teeth make their appearance. If your wisdom teeth are coming in, or are expected soon, you may be wondering if you should have them removed?
Do wisdom teeth always require removal?
No. Not all need to be removed. Although they could potentially cause problems when they develop, not everyone has problems with their wisdom teeth. For example, everyone is at risk for getting appendicitis, but should everyone have their appendix removed?
It sometimes comes down to the patient’s personal preferences and the professional recommendation of their dentist. Diagnostic tools like x-rays give your dentist the ability to anticipate potential problems that could be headed off by “cutting to the chase” and removing wisdom teeth before they cause serious problems.
What kinds of problems can they cause?
If there is insufficient space for the wisdom teeth to come in, they could impact existing teeth in the mouth. In other words, they could come in at the wrong angle, leading to problems.
Wisdom teeth often partially emerge through the gum tissue, leading to the formation of a flap of gum tissue covering a portion of a tooth. This flap can trap food particles and debris, leading to an infection.
Impacted teeth can also damage nearby teeth and bones. Cysts can develop around the tooth roots.
Harder To Clean
If you have an impacted wisdom tooth, it can be more difficult to brush and floss, potentially leading to tooth decay and gum disease.
If you and your dentist decide that extraction is the best move, you would report for surgery, which should take about 45 minutes. You will be under anesthesia, so you should experience no pain.
After your anesthesia has taken full effect, your dentist will use surgical tools to create incisions within your gums and extract your wisdom teeth. They will then stitch up your gums with stitches that should dissolve by themselves after a few days.
Be sure to make arrangements for someone to drive you home, as you will still be somewhat groggy from the effects of the anesthesia. You can manage your pain using over-the-counter medications or prescription pain relievers.
Avoid brushing or rinsing your mouth for 24 hours after your extraction. You should also avoid smoking or sucking through straws at this time.
Your body will have formed a blood clot at the extraction sites, which helps promote healing. If you are not careful, you could dislodge the blood clot. Known as ‘dry socket’, this is a painful condition that you definitely want to avoid. If you experience pain that doesn’t fade, but actually increases in the days after your extraction, report this immediately to your dentist.