Extracting wisdom teeth seems to be a rite of passage for so many young adults that it may feel commonplace. However, it can be difficult for people to understand why and when they should have their wisdom teeth removed, so we wanted to make sure to dispel any of the myths and discuss wisdom teeth extractions in a little more depth to give you the clarity you need.
Wisdom teeth are just another name for your third molars. These are the molars located in the very back of your mouth and are generally the last to erupt. However, wisdom teeth are regularly extracted, but they are designed to be permanent teeth. So, understanding why wisdom teeth are pulled can help you make a better-informed decision.
Not every patient will need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. The location of your wisdom teeth, the shape and size of your jaw and other teeth often play a critical role in our staff making that recommendation. Sometimes, wisdom teeth are too large to actually fit into their proper location on the jaw. This means that when they erupt, they can place extreme amounts of pressure on the neighboring teeth and jaw.
This can be very painful and uncomfortable for patients, but it can also lead to shifting, twisting, or turning of all of your other teeth. When we recommend that patients have their wisdom teeth extracted, it is to avoid the pain and changes to their other teeth. Removing wisdom teeth early can help to avoid problems, but even if you have already experienced some pain, removing your wisdom teeth now can still help.
One additional factor that can play into the removal of wisdom teeth is if they are impacted. An impacted wisdom tooth is when the tooth has turned sideways. Rather than pushing up and out of the jaw, it begins to push directly against the other teeth.
Our staff cannot automatically predict every patient needing to have wisdom teeth extraction when they are very young. For that reason, we like to monitor our patients and watch the development of their mouth. Additionally, if there is an attempt to remove the wisdom tooth too early, it can become a more invasive and painful procedure. For that reason, we like to wait and see how the mouth is developing, and then schedule the removal of the wisdom teeth just before they erupt.
In the case of impacted wisdom teeth, those should be removed before they start to infringe upon the other teeth. X-rays and our staff can help you identify when the time is right to remove your wisdom teeth.
The actual removal of wisdom teeth is completed under general anesthesia, so you will be asleep and won’t remember anything about the surgery. Your surgeon will then be able to access the wisdom tooth and either pull it out or break it into smaller pieces to be able to remove it. Once the tooth has been removed, the area can be cleaned, and special dressings are placed to make sure that you don’t get an infection.
Healing generally takes a few days. Patients are usually sore for the first few days and prefer to stay on liquid diets (We can easily recommend that you eat as many popsicles or bowls of ice cream as you can handle!). Within a week or two, your mouth will be healed, and you will be able to resume a normal diet.
If you have been considering wisdom tooth extraction, contact our offices today. The staff at Steven H. Brenman DMD will help review your case and give you all of the options to make sure your smile stays happy and healthy.