Some Wisdom About Wisdom Teeth

Your permanent third molars typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. They show up long after the rest of your adult teeth when you have grown a bit older and wiser. That is the alleged reason why these late chompers have been termed “wisdom teeth.”

Wisdom Teeth 

Most people develop four wisdom teeth. If you have been keeping up with routine dental visits, you are likely to have annual mouth x-rays that show your dentist if your third molars are growing in properly.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth 

Sometimes, wisdom teeth emerge without incident. They break through evenly and function normally without disrupting the rest of your teeth. But in many other cases, this last set becomes impacted or trapped in the jaw bone beneath the gums. There may not be enough room for the teeth to come in completely or they may be angled in such a way, it is impossible for them to erupt normally.

Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery 

Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always cause mouth problems. However, wisdom tooth extraction is recommended for a lot of patients, even when there are no bad symptoms. Wisdom teeth removal surgery is less complicated on younger patients. The roots are less developed and tend to be farther away from the nerves. In addition, younger people are better healers. Wisdom teeth removal in older patients is more difficult because the teeth are fully integrated into the jaw bone and harder to extract.

Some people experience swelling and discomfort immediately, in their teen years, or 20s. With other patients, the wisdom teeth partially emerge, creating a perfect place for bacteria to flourish. In these cases, infection grows between the surrounding teeth and the partially exposed gum. Emergency wisdom tooth extraction is the standard treatment measure to alleviate pain and prevent the problem from worsening.

Oral Surgeons & Wisdom Tooth Extractions

Impacted wisdom teeth may be removed by an oral surgeon or your family dentist. If your dentist doesn’t perform wisdom teeth removal surgery, you will likely be given a referral to trusted oral surgeon. Some dental offices have an in-house oral surgeon, but many do not.

Wisdom teeth extraction is a very routine procedure. If your last molars have erupted normally, they can be removed simpler (and in some cases may not even need removal in the first place if they are not causing harm to your overall dental health). However, if you have impacted wisdom teeth, an incision needs to be made in the gum to get the tooth trapped inside the bone. Each case is different, and the complexity of the procedure and level of sedation varies.

After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Most patients experience some degree of discomfort and swelling for a few days following wisdom teeth removal surgery. Your oral surgeon will provide postoperative instructions such as applying ice packs, taking Tylenol for pain, and recommending that you only have soft foods to eat. If necessary, a stronger pain medication may be prescribed.