At some point during your late teenage years or perhaps into your early 20s, you’ll likely develop your wisdom teeth. These are molars found in the far back portion of the mouth, and typically you’ll develop four of these over time. Some people develop all four at one time, others develop one or two at a time. This third set of molars does not always develop in every person, but many people who do develop them over time require extraction.
The problem with wisdom teeth is they usually don’t develop properly. They’re valuable and helpful to those who grow them, but they usually grow crooked and crowded and cause more harm than help in adults. That’s why so many people eventually have their wisdom teeth removed. Leaving misaligned wisdom teeth in place causes a myriad of health issues, such as the following:
– Damage to teeth adjacent to wisdom teeth
– Nerve damage
– Damage to the jawbone
If you have your wisdom teeth and they are not properly aligned or cause ample pain, it’s time to contact your dentist about having them removed. The concept seems intimidating at first, but it’s a very simple procedure that brings about far more comfort in your mouth.
Can I Keep My Wisdom Teeth?
Just because your wisdom teeth are coming in or you already have them does not mean you have to have them removed. Some people grow theirs nicely. However, others don’t. If your teeth are impacted, you have to have them removed. They’re located in the back of your mouth, which means they’re less likely to properly develop. The teeth might never break fully through the gums, which is what impacted means.
If they are angled incorrectly, your wisdom teeth apply pressure to the rest of your teeth. This causes them to hurt, and it can cause them to push your other teeth out of the way. This can realign your smile and cause your otherwise straight teeth to become crooked. Sometimes your mouth isn’t big enough to accommodate another set of teeth.
Keeping your wisdom teeth is entirely up to you, but your dentist does have an opinion. If your mouth is large and healthy enough, there is no reason you cannot keep this set of molars. Provided they come in naturally and healthy, there is no reason your dentist won’t tell you it’s all right to keep them. It’s not the presence of the teeth that requires removal. It’s just the presence of teeth that aren’t growing properly and are causing additional damage to your oral health.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
Many dental patients are nervous about wisdom teeth removal. The good news is it’s not a major surgery. It takes less than an hour, and your dentist provides you with anesthesia so you feel nothing during the process. Local, IV sedation and general anesthesia are the choices you’ll have, and it all depends on your doctor and your own health.
Once the doctor provides your anesthesia, it takes no more than 45 minutes to remove the teeth whether you have one or all four. If your dentist needs to cut your gums to remove the teeth, he or she uses dissolving stitches to close the cuts. They take very little time to heal, and the stitches do not need to be removed.
Everyone recovers differently, but it doesn’t take long to heal after wisdom tooth extraction. Most of the recovery process depends heavily on the type of anesthesia your dentist uses and your response to it. Swelling typically lasts three days or less, and it’s a good idea to eat soft foods, stay hydrated, and it’s a good idea to take the medication your dentist prescribes for pain. Many people go right back to work the day after wisdom tooth extraction.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is uncomfortable, and it could take a few weeks for your mouth to heal completely following your oral surgery. However, it’s not a painful procedure and proper post-extraction care makes it much more comfortable. Your dentist can tell you whether or not your teeth require removal.