As the age of adulthood approaches, so do the questions surrounding the removal of wisdom teeth.
More often than not, adults are faced with the decision to either keep their wisdom teeth or have them removed–but what many don’t know is that there may be significant benefits to removing these molars sooner rather than later.
In this post, we’ll explore the potential benefits of early removal and discuss any risks associated with removing these third molars.
What is the wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth to develop in the mouth.
They usually come in during late adolescence or early adulthood and are located in the very back of the mouth, behind all other adult teeth.
These molars typically consist of four individual teeth–two on top and two on the bottom–although some people may have fewer or none at all.
Why should wisdom teeth be removed?
Wisdom teeth are often removed for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they may fail to come in properly and become impacted, leading to pain and difficulty opening the mouth.
In addition, wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding of the other adult teeth or even damage existing teeth if they emerge at an odd angle or don’t have enough room to grow.
Even if the wisdom teeth are coming in correctly, many dentists recommend having them removed proactively to avoid potential complications later on.
What are the benefits of early removal?
The main benefit of having wisdom teeth removed early is avoiding potential problems later on. If the wisdom teeth aren’t erupting properly, they can cause pain and difficulty opening your mouth.
In addition, they may lead to overcrowding by pushing other adult teeth out of alignment, or could even damage existing teeth if there isn’t enough room for them to come in.
Early removal also helps reduce the amount of time spent in surgery, decreases healing time and makes any post-operative care more manageable.
Are there any risks associated with wisdom tooth extraction?
Yes, there are some risks associated with wisdom tooth extraction. These include risks of infection, nerve damage, damage to adjacent teeth or jawbone, and dry socket. There is also a risk of titanium screws (used during implant surgery) loosening over time.
While rare, serious complications can occur in the form of abscesses, permanent nerve damage and sinus problems due to incorrect placement of the extracted tooth. It is important to thoroughly discuss any potential risks with your dentist prior to undergoing the procedure.
How does an oral surgeon remove a wisdom tooth?
An oral surgeon typically removes a wisdom tooth by first numbing the area with local anesthesia. They then use special tools to loosen and remove the tooth, often in sections if necessary.
After removal, the surgeon may suture the wound closed and prescribe antibiotics and pain medication as needed. It is important to follow your oral surgeon’s post-operative instructions carefully to ensure proper healing of the extraction site.
What is the recovery process for removing wisdom teeth?
The recovery process for wisdom tooth extraction generally takes 1 – 3 weeks. During this time the patient may experience pain, swelling and bleeding around the extraction sites.
It is important to keep the area clean by brushing gently and rinsing with saltwater. Eating soft foods like mashed potatoes can help manage discomfort during the healing process.
Avoid smoking, as it increases the risk of infection and impairs healing time. While some minor pain is expected, it is important to contact your oral surgeon if symptoms become severe or prolonged.
Ultimately, the decision to remove wisdom teeth is a personal one. If there are no signs of discomfort or infection, it may not be necessary to have them removed.
However, if they are causing crowding in the mouth or increasing the risk of infection, extraction may be beneficial.
Consult with your oral surgeon for an individualized evaluation and follow their instructions to help ensure a safe and successful recovery.