We’ve all seen the videos: someone has gotten their wisdom teeth removed and the ensuing post-removal antics make for some pretty funny footage. However, there’s more to wisdom teeth extraction than post-op reactions to anesthesia, including why it’s important to understand what it means to have wisdom teeth come in and why it’s important to have them removed.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The third and last molars on the upper and lower jaw are considered the wisdom teeth. The last teeth to develop, they usually come in during the late teen years or early twenties. Scientists believe we have wisdom teeth, today, due to the tough diets of our ancestors, but because they are the last to erupt, our mouths don’t usually have the room to accommodate them.
How Do You Diagnose Wisdom Teeth?
Your dentist can easily identify with an x-ray if it’s time for wisdom teeth extraction, but some people may notice it’s time for their wisdom teeth to be removed if they have constant pain or trouble chewing. Wisdom teeth removal is an extremely routine procedure, but the condition of the teeth dictates how they will be taken out. If the teeth are still impacted beneath your gums, a dental specialist will usually recommend IV sedation or general anesthesia. If they’ve erupted through the gums, local anesthesia is usually the best route.
How Do You Treat or Remove Wisdom Teeth?
Erupted wisdom teeth will be surgically removed. Following removal, you might be asked to bite down on gauze to limit any resulting bleeding. Conversely, if your wisdom teeth are still impacted (beneath your gums), the oral surgeon will put incisions into the gums and remove the wisdom teeth in pieces. Removing the teeth this way also minimizes the amount of jaw bone removed. With wisdom teeth removal, swelling and pain are normal; however, if you experience prolonged pain, swelling, bleeding, or a fever, contact a dental professional immediately.
What Does Wisdom Teeth Extraction Recovery Look Like?
After your wisdom teeth are removed, there are a few things you can do to minimize irritation, pain, and infections. First, be very careful not to irritate your healing gums. Avoid any and all solid foods, alcohol, coffee, soda, or hot beverages for the first few days to a week. You shouldn’t even brush your teeth for the first few days after the procedure, but you can rinse your mouth with warm salt water. Ibuprofen and placing ice packs on your cheek or jawline (for no more than 20-minute intervals) can also help reduce swelling and pain. A typical recovery period for wisdom teeth extraction is three to four days but can be as long as a week. If you experience prolonged pain, swelling, bleeding, or a fever, contact your oral and maxillofacial surgeon immediately.
Have Your Wisdom Teeth Checked Today
If you’re coming into your late teens, early twenties, or are feeling oral pain, you can request an appointment with Cornerstone Family Dentistry in Middle Tennessee. Our bilingual, family-friendly dentist can quickly and easily diagnose the condition of your wisdom teeth and help you create a plan to get everything taken care of as painlessly as possible. Contact us today for appointments or any dental questions.