Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are usually the last set of molars to erupt in the mouth.
These teeth commonly develop between the ages of 17 and 25 and their emergence can cause discomfort or pain due to lack of space in the jaw, misalignment with adjacent teeth, or crowding of existing teeth.
It is therefore important to identify when it is time for wisdom teeth removal to avoid potential complications that can arise from having wisdom teeth remain in the mouth.
What are wisdom teeth and why do they need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that emerge from the gums in late adolescence or early adulthood.
They can cause discomfort due to lack of space in the jaw, misalignment with adjacent teeth, or crowding of existing teeth. Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary to prevent overcrowding, cysts, tooth decay, and gum inflammation.
Additionally, wisdom teeth can contribute to other dental problems such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ).
Signs and Symptoms that Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed
Signs and symptoms of needing wisdom teeth removal include pain, swelling of the gums around the third molars, limited opening or closing of the mouth, bad breath, difficulty chewing food, difficulty cleaning the area due to crowding, misalignment with adjacent teeth, damage to existing teeth, recurring jaw or headache pain, and infection.
It is important to speak with your dentist if any of these symptoms present themselves in order to ensure proper treatment.
Age-related Significance of Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom tooth removal is usually recommended for teenagers and young adults between the ages of 17 and 25, due to the fact that it is during this period that the third molars have grown enough to cause problems.
For younger patients, dentists are more likely to recommend a more conservative approach such as regular monitoring, while older patients may be advised to have the wisdom teeth removed right away. It is important to seek advice from a dental professional before opting for a wisdom tooth removal.
How to Prepare for Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Before the wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to consult your dentist and get a full examination. During the appointment, they will provide specific instructions on how to prepare for the procedure.
Generally, this includes avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol, eating a light meal prior to the surgery, and taking any prescribed medications as instructed.
It is important to also inform your dentist of any existing medical conditions or any recent illnesses that may increase risks associated with wisdom tooth removal.
Aftercare and Recovery Guidelines for Wisdom Teeth Removal
After the wisdom tooth extraction, it is important to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully and adhere to a period of recovery.
This may include avoiding strenuous activities, eating soft foods, rinsing your mouth with salt water or antibacterial rinse to reduce swelling and pain, and taking medications as prescribed.
It is also important to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing with a soft brush and avoiding using straws. For more serious cases, stitches may be required and in these instances, it is essential to consult your dentist for proper removal instructions.
Benefits vs Risks of Removing Wisdom Teeth
Removing wisdom teeth can provide various positive benefits such as reducing the risk of tooth decay and relieving crowding in the mouth.
However, it is important to note that there are potential risks associated with the procedure, including infection, numbness, damage to nearby teeth, and swelling.
Therefore, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of the surgery carefully before making a decision.
Ultimately, wisdom teeth removal is a necessary and beneficial procedure for many people. However, it is important to determine when the ideal time for extraction is and whether or not the risks outweigh the benefits.
Generally speaking, it is best to discuss it with your doctor and decide on an individualized plan of action that works best for you.