Most people have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their lives. To prepare you for this oral surgery, it helps to understand some basics about the process, including why it is necessary and what to expect.
Why We Remove Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth do not always have to be removed, but they should be removed if they are impacted. This is common, although not everyone has impacted wisdom teeth, and some people do not even develop wisdom teeth. Most people, however, develop them when they are around 17 to 25.
They Need to Be Removed if Impacted
When wisdom teeth are impacted, this means that there is not enough room for them to get into your mouth, or for them to develop normally. Wisdom teeth may not fully erupt; it may be partially.
Wisdom teeth can be impacted in a few different ways, including:
- Growing straight down or up but being trapped in the jawbone
- Growing at an angle leaning towards:
- The back of your mouth
- The next tooth
- The other teeth (like it is lying down)
Potential Complications of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When your wisdom teeth are impacted, there is the potential for numerous issues. These can include:
- Complications during orthodontic treatments
- Developing a cyst by it
- Damaging surrounding bone or teeth
- Trapping food
- Periodontal disease
- Tooth decay
Do You Need to Remove Wisdom Teeth That Are Not Impacted?
There is still some debate as to whether to remove wisdom teeth that are not impacted or causing any issues. Many suggest extraction as a preventative measure to prevent future issues.
This could help prevent issues with cleaning it properly if there is limited space or the teeth harboring disease. It is also harder to extract the teeth later on, as older adults may have more complications.
Potential Side Effects of Removing Your Wisdom Teeth
It is rare for patients to experience long-term effects after having their wisdom teeth removed. In some cases, however, your dentist may need to cut the gum tissue and remove some bone to remove the wisdom teeth. There is also a risk of food particles or bacteria getting trapped in the socket and causing an infection, painful dry socket, or damage to the jawbone, nerves, sinuses, or nearby teeth.
These risks are rare, so you should not be too concerned about them.
What to Expect From the Surgery
During the Surgery
The surgery itself will take about 45 minutes, perhaps less. You will be under some sort of anesthesia, with possibilities including IV sedation, local anesthesia, and general anesthesia.
Most patients do not experience pain after wisdom tooth extraction, although there will likely be mild discomfort for about three days. You may also have swelling during this time and up to several weeks after.
In the three days immediately following your surgery, you should not use straws, rinse your mouth with too much force, smoke, or eat foods that are hard, sticky, or crunchy.
For more information on wisdom teeth removal and other procedures, contact American Dental today.