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Wisdom Teeth – Do You Need Them Extracted?

home Blog Wisdom Teeth – Do You Need Them Extracted?

Whether we like it or not, we all have to deal with wisdom teeth eventually.  Our wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that come in later in life, usually during the late teens or early twenties, right in the back of the jaw.

When wisdom teeth come in properly aligned, they increase the chewing surface of the teeth and make the mouth healthier.  However, for many people, the wisdom teeth come in crooked, crowd out other teeth, or create other dental issues.  Often, the jaw is not large enough to accommodate an additional set of teeth.  When this is the case, wisdom teeth cause pain and need to be extracted.

So, you might ask, why not just get your wisdom teeth removed immediately?

Well, the truth is that everyone’s mouth is different.  There are some lucky people out there who have their full set of wisdom teeth until later in life and never experience a single problem.  Others may begin to experience overcrowding or gum issues almost immediately.  In some of the most challenging cases, the wisdom teeth can be impacted, which means that they are seated crookedly and break the surface of the gums only partially or not at all.

ProTips from The Bondi Dentists: Signs that Your Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed

Pain: There are several obvious indicators that it’s time for the wisdom teeth to go.  If they’re hurting, that’s a major clue.  Pain is a signal from the body that something isn’t going right, and it’s best to address dental issues as soon as possible, so schedule an appointment to get things checked out as soon as you can.  If when dealing with minor or infrequent pain, it’s best to speak with your dental professional about it during your regular check ups.

The most common form of pain associated with wisdom teeth is a dull aching pain in the jaw.  You might also experience sensitivity to hot and cold, and the pain might worsen when chewing tough foods like meat or root vegetables.  In these cases, the simplest solution is often to have the wisdom tooth extracted. In extreme cases, there can be some difficulty opening the jaws due to swelling in the mouth.

Crowded Teeth: One of the common problems with wisdom teeth is the tendency to crowd.  If the jaw is too small, the wisdom teeth can press other teeth forward and push them out of line.  One tooth might move in front of another, resulting in gum issues and even infections due to trapped food.  The teeth and gums can become painful if the teeth are crowded too far, so and shifts or tightness should be discussed with your dentist immediately.  If left too long, overcrowded teeth might require orthodontic treatment to restore them to alignment. However, if caught early on, your dentist will be able to remove your wisdom teeth and this can help with future realignment of teeth through orthodontic treatment.

Gum Disease: When wisdom teeth are contributing to poor gum health due to extreme difficulty in cleaning them at their location in the far end of the mouth, these teeth may need to be removed to help improve oral hygiene and prevent further swelling and inflammation of the gums as well as tooth decay on neighbouring teeth. Regular visits to your dentist / dental hygienist will help ensure the gums are thoroughly checked for this type of wisdom teeth issue.

On Recommendation from Your Dentist: In some cases, your dentist might discover an impacted wisdom tooth through your x-rays and recommend that it be pulled before it can cause problems.  Impacted teeth occur when your mouth is too small for the tooth and it grows in at an angle.  If an impacted wisdom tooth goes unnoticed, however, it raise your risk for jaw issues or other serious dental problems.

ProTips from The Bondi Dentist: Wisdom Tooth Extraction

What to Expect: If you’re finding out that you need your wisdom teeth extracted, rest easy.  At this point, wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure in most cases.  A relatively short procedure can have you in and out of the office in a few hours with your wisdom teeth no more than a memory.  However, if your teeth are impacted, they may require a more involved procedure and the expertise of an oral surgeon.

Aftercare: Your mouth needs to clot before it can begin to heal, so the first few hours are crucial.  For a few hours after a simple extraction, you’ll want to avoid hard foods and creating suction in your mouth.  This means no straws, and it’s best to be careful with coughing and sneezing as well.  The wound will often be closed with surgical dental sutures to assist in clotting and allow for proper healing.

Your dentist will give you something to help with the pain and swelling, as well as a mouth rinse to help keep the mouth clean over the next several days.   Your dentist may also offer you specific instructions for your own dental care, to keep the wound clean and help avoid infection.

Recovery Time: The first 48 hours after a dental procedure are important for healing because they allow the new wound to close.  It’s important to stick to soft foods or even liquids.  You’ll also want to make sure to avoid chewing on the area.  Any pain resulting from the procedure will also be most severe during this time, so you will need to ice the area for the first 48 hours and afterwards as needed.  You’ll also have a shorter recovery time if you follow the cleaning instructions for your mouth as you heal.

If you have any questions or you’d like to schedule an appointment, feel free to contact us.  At The Bondi Dentists, we understand how important teeth are.