Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth

If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, then removing them may be necessary to ensure long-term dental health.

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Throughout your lifespan, your mouth goes through several modifications. Your third molars typically emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 as the last set of teeth at the top and bottom of the back of your mouth. Because they erupt at a later age, these teeth have historically been referred to as wisdom teeth.

Should I Take My Wisdom Teeth Out?

It is always best to consult with your dentist. In some cases, if you do not feel pain and they have emerged without crowding, you may not need to do anything with your wisdom teeth. However, in many cases there isn't enough space in your mouth to fit these teeth, which can cause overcrowding and/or crooked teeth over time. In some cases, wisdom teeth may never emerge and are trapped in your jaw or under your gums, this is known as being impacted.

As your wisdom teeth make their way through your gums, your dentist will be monitoring your mouth for signs of the following:

  • Wisdom teeth that aren’t in the right position can allow food to become trapped and give bacteria a place to grow.
  • Wisdom teeth that either haven't come in properly or are overcrowding your teeth can make it harder to floss and clean.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t have room to come through are thought by some to crowd or damage neighboring teeth.
  • A wisdom tooth that is impacted can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

What Is The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure Like?

If your dentist recommends removing your wisdom teeth, they'll take an x-ray of your mouth to determine how they're going to extract the tooth. You will either be given a local or general anesthesia to carry out the procedure to either numb the tooth and the surrounding area or put you to sleep for the procedure.

If the tooth hasn't come through the gum, a small cut (incision) will be made in the gum to access it. A small piece of the bone covering the tooth may also need to be removed.The tooth may be cut into smaller parts to make it easier to remove through the opening. There's less need to make an incision if the tooth has broken through the gum. You'll feel some pressure just before the tooth is removed, as your dentist or oral surgeon needs to widen the tooth socket by rocking the tooth back and forth before taking it out. You shouldn't feel any pain as your wisdom teeth are removed because the area will be numb. However, if you do feel pain during the procedure, tell your dentist or oral surgeon so they can give you more anaesthetic. How long it takes to remove the tooth will vary. Simple procedures can take a few minutes, but it can take longer than 20 minutes if it's more complicated.

What Happens After The Surgery?

If an incision has been made, dissolving stitches are used to seal the gum. Your dentist will tell you how long the stitches take to dissolve (usually 7 to 10 days).

Your dentist may place gauze over the site of the extraction and ask you to keep pressure on it by biting your jaws together for up to an hour. This is to allow a blood clot to form in the empty tooth socket. Blood clots are part of the healing process, so try not to dislodge them.

In some cases, may be prescribed if you have an ongoing infection.

For the 24 hours after removing your wisdom tooth, you should avoid:

  • rinsing your mouth out with liquid
  • drinking alcohol and smoking
  • drinking hot liquids such as tea or soup
  • strenuous physical activity

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