Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt in the mouth. They typically develop between the ages of 17 and 25, which is why they’re sometimes referred to as “third molars.”
For many people, their mouths are simply too small for such large molars — this is known as an impacted wisdom tooth.
If you’re experiencing discomfort or pain in your mouth and think it may be related to your wisdom teeth, it’s important to understand how the extraction process works so you can prepare yourself mentally and physically.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss everything that you need to know about wisdom teeth extraction.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that typically appear in your late teens or early twenties.
They are often referred to as “third molars” because they typically come after the first two sets of adult molars. Wisdom teeth usually emerge from below the gum line and can cause discomfort, jaw pain, and other oral health problems if not removed.
In some cases, wisdom teeth may become impacted due to a lack of space in the mouth or obstruction by other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth will require extraction for them to be fully removed.
Signs & Symptoms of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a number of signs and symptoms, including pain, swelling, infection, and difficulty opening the mouth.
Other symptoms may include jaw pain or stiffness; bad breath; an uncomfortable feeling in the back of the mouth; changes in surrounding teeth positions; and red or swollen gums.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to get evaluated by your dentist as soon as possible to determine if impacted wisdom teeth are to blame.
Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth removed is a personal decision that should be made with the help of your dentist.
Your dentist can provide an assessment and recommend whether removal is necessary. Generally, dentists will recommend extraction if the teeth are impacted or causing discomfort.
There are risks associated with any surgery, so it’s important to talk to your dentist about the potential benefits and risks before deciding on a course of action.
How Is the Procedure Performed?
The procedure for removing wisdom teeth is typically done in an outpatient setting and may require local, general, or intravenous anesthesia to ensure the patient is comfortable throughout the process.
The dentist will make an incision in the gum tissue around the tooth and carefully remove any bone that is blocking access to the tooth.
The tooth may then be removed whole or broken into smaller pieces for easier removal. Once the tooth is removed, stitches may be required to close the wound.
What is the Recovery Time for a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
The recovery time following a wisdom tooth extraction is usually between three to four days, though some procedures may take longer.
During this period, the patient should expect pain, swelling, and even bleeding for up to 24 hours after the procedure.
It’s recommended that patients stick to a diet of soft foods like soup or mashed potatoes during this time and avoid drinking through a straw or eating anything crunchy.
Additionally, they should be sure to follow their dentist’s instructions on when it is safe to resume regular activities.
Tips for Recovering from a Wisdom Tooth Extraction
After a wisdom tooth extraction, it’s important to follow the dentist’s instructions for recovery and care. Applying an ice pack to the affected area can help reduce swelling and discomfort.
Taking over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen can also be helpful for managing any pain or discomfort that may occur after the procedure.
It’s also important to keep the mouth clean by gently rinsing with warm salt water several times a day. This can help promote faster healing and reduce the risk of infection.
Finally, when it’s time to brush your teeth again, be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoid brushing near the extraction site until completely healed.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a relatively swift procedure that can often be done in a single visit to the dentist.
While the recovery time can vary from patient to patient, it’s important to follow your dentist’s instructions on properly taking care of your mouth during this time.
Eating soft foods and avoiding activities that could cause further damage is key for ensuring a successful extraction and healing process.
With proper care, wisdom teeth extractions can help relieve pain and reduce any further complications down the line.