Wisdom teeth get their name not because they will make you smarter but rather because they come in when you’re older. Wisdom teeth act as your third set of molars and tend to push through the gums when you’re between the ages of 17 and 21.
While wisdom teeth were once essential for early humans to better eat nuts, meat, leaves, and roots, these teeth are no longer necessary. That’s because we usually cook food to soften it and also crush and cut our food with utensils.
But why the need for wisdom tooth removal? Continue reading and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know!
Why Do People Undergo Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Over time, the human jaw has gotten smaller. And as our jaws change, so did your dental and dietary needs. Because we have smaller jaws than our larger ancestors, we don’t always have enough room in our mouths for all of the teeth we’re supposed to have.
There are four wisdom teeth in total. Two on the bottom and two on top. A person can have anywhere between zero and all four wisdom teeth.
Most of our jaws will stop growing by the time we turn 18. However, your wisdom teeth may very well grow in after that point. And by then, there simply won’t be enough room for them.
Problems that are associated with wisdom teeth include:
- crowded teeth
- increased tooth decay
- cysts under the gums and possibly tumors
- crooked teeth
- wisdom teeth growing in sideways
- jaw pain
If you experience any of the problems listed above, then it’s recommended that you get your wisdom teeth removed.
Also, an impacted wisdom tooth might only emerge partially. This means that only some of the crown may be visible (partially impacted) or it might never break through the gums (fully impacted).
Preparation for Wisdom Tooth Removal
Sometimes, yoru dentist might be able to perform wisdom tooth removal surgery right in their office. However, if the procedure requires more intensive care, then they may recommend that you visit an oral surgeon.
The surgeon will apply a local anesthetic in order to numb the area. They also might suggest sedation so that you can be comfortable during the surgery.
There are several issues you should clarify with your dentist or surgeon before you undergo the procedure. For example, it’s best to know if you should make arrangements for someone to take you home after the surgery. You also want to know if you should avoid drinking or eating before the operation.
What to Expect During the Surgery
Your oral surgeon or dentist might use one of three kinds of anesthesia, depending on how complex the extraction will be as well as your comfort level.
With local anesthesia, an injection will be made near the extraction site. You’ll be awake during this operation and may feel some pressure. But you shouldn’t feel any pain.
With sedation anesthesia, you’ll receive an IV in your arm. This is going to suppress your consciousness during the surgery. You won’t feel any pain and your memory of the operation will be limited.
Lastly, there is general anesthesia. In this instance, you may get an IV into your arm or inhale the medication. You won’t have any memory of the operation and won’t experience any pain either.
For the actual extraction process, your oral surgeon or doctor will make an incision in your gum tissue. This is to expose the tooth as well as the bone.
They’ll then take out the bone that blocks access to the root of the tooth. The tooth will be divided into sections sometimes in order to make it easier to extract. The surgeon will then remove the tooth.
The site of the tooth will be removed from any debris from the bone or tooth. While it’s not always needed, there is a chance that stitches will be used to close the wound and encourage healing.
Gauze will then be put over the site of the extraction in order to control the bleed and also help to make a blood clot.
After the Surgery
If you were given local anesthesia, then you’ll be given some recovery time in the dental chair. If you received higher levels of anesthesia, then you can expect to be taken to a recovery room.
As you heal, you may experience bleeding on the first day after the wisdom tooth is extracted. Try to make sure that you don’t spit too much and replace your gauze as directed by the surgeon or dentist.
You’ll also either be told to use over-the-counter pain medications, like Tylenol, or be given prescription medication. You also might be able to relieve pain by holding a cold pack against the jaw.
You might have some swelling in the cheeks but this should go away after a few days. You’ll also need to avoid strenuous labor for at least one week after the surgery.
After the surgery, you’ll be told to drink plenty of water. However, you shouldn’t use a straw for at least one week as this could dislodge the blood clot.
You also don’t want to eat any food that’s too hot, chewy, or hard.
Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
While there is no way to truly prevent an impacted wisdom tooth, going to your dentist regularly is the best way to make sure that any problems that do occur are taken care of immediately.
If you’re experience any of the issues listed above, then you should definitely consult yoru dentist about wisdom tooth removal.
Are you looking for an experienced dentist to help you with your oral concerns? If so, then contact us today and see what we can do for you!