It can be hard to know if and when your wisdom teeth might require removal. Our Victoria dentists offer some tips about signs that your wisdom teeth should be extracted.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
For many of us, a third set of adult molars will emerge between the ages of 17 and 25 - these are known as 'wisdom teeth'. Generally, if they erupt straight and with no health issues, wisdom teeth do not cause any trouble. On the other hand, if there are issues such as misalignment, or partial or insufficient eruption, your dentist might recommend dental surgery may be recommended to remove your wisdom teeth.
When Should My Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
By removing wisdom teeth that are misaligned or otherwise problematic, your dentist can help to maintain your oral health – and potentially stop certain issues from developing in the future. In some cases, a patient will undergo another procedure (example: corrective jaw surgery) that requires their wisdom teeth to be extracted to make room for the second procedure.
Ideally, wisdom teeth should be removed before they cause pain or discomfort, and before an infection develops. If your wisdom teeth are not causing pain or discomfort, it is possible for them to crowd the other teeth when they grow in, which could lead to tooth decay as crowded teeth can be difficult to clean.
You’ll want to schedule your wisdom teeth extraction in advance, and allow a few days for recovery.
What Age Do Most People Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?
It's usually ideal to have wisdom teeth removed around the age of 18, because the roots of the teeth haven't completely formed and anchored to the jaw bone. Once this happens, the procedure and recovery process can be more difficult.
Signs You Should Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist, as your wisdom teeth could be causing problems:
- Sinus problems
- Bad breath (caused by plague bacteria or infection)
- Pain in teeth or jaw
- Difficulty eating
- Gum inflammation
- Facial swelling (caused by impacted wisdom teeth under the gums)
- Misaligned wisdom teeth
Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Painful?
Modern dentistry and surgical practices mean that tooth extractions are far less painful today than ever before. Due to the focus on pain management using sedatives and anesthetics, many patients who have wisdom teeth pulled experience little or no discomfort, and perhaps only minor bleeding.
Before the tooth is extracted, the area around the tooth will be numbed with an injectable or topical anesthetic to ensure comfort.
Once your dentist has removed the tooth, they will discuss tooth replacements options with you, which could include bridges or dentures.
How Long Does It Take To Recover From Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Many dentists use techniques such as IV sedation so the procedure is as comfortable as possible for patients.
Your appointment could be complete in about an hour, and you can be taken home the same day. After your surgery, your recovery will likely take a few days, with some potential discomfort and swelling within the first 2 to 3 days.
During healing, eat soft foods, refrain from strenuous physical activity, and follow your dentist’s advice and post-care instructions. If you do these things you should have a smooth recovery process.