Should Wisdom Teeth be Removed

wisdom teeth graphicYour wisdom teeth are your third (and last) set of molars in your mouth, usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties. Because of the location of these molars, it is common for them to become misaligned as they grow in and could be positioned horizontally, angled away from the second set of molars, or angled inward. This can cause damage to adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves, and can crowd the other teeth, pushing them towards the center of the mouth and causing them to become crooked.

Having wisdom teeth removed is a very common procedure. Your dentist will often recommend removing them before problems can develop. This avoids a more painful or complicated extraction that would inevitably occur in the following years. It’s easier to remove wisdom teeth in younger people when the teeth’s roots are not yet fully developed and the bone below it is less dense. Recovery is longer for older patients.

When your wisdom teeth are removed, your dentist first needs to numb the area around the teeth with a local anesthetic. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, a portion of the covering bone may need to be removed to extract the tooth.

After removing the wisdom teeth, there are several steps to follow to encourage fast healing. Minor pain can be managed with ibuprofen or acetaminophen; if needed. Your dentist or oral surgeon can prescribe a more potent pain reliever. Avoid rinsing or spitting for the first day after the extraction, and don’t smoke or drink with a straw. Hot liquids should also be avoided.

After the first day, soft foods can be slowly be introduced and you can brush your teeth very gently. Don’t use commercial mouth rinses, as they can irritate the extracted teeth. When healing is complete, you’ll be glad you took the steps to allow your permanent teeth to be healthy and unaffected by your wisdom teeth coming in. For more information about having wisdom teeth removed, please contact Webster Dental at (630) 663-0554.