Some SMART things to know about WISDOM teeth removal
Somewhere between the age of 15 and 25, most people will have their wisdom teeth “come in”. They are suspected to be called wisdom” teeth because you are a little older and (should be) a little wiser when it takes place. People experience this in different ways: pressure, jaw stiffness, swelling, and mild discomfort…but if you have pain, then you’ll want to seek dental attention and may ultimately need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
When these four large molars in the very back of your mouth try to break the gum’s surface, pain is felt when there is not enough space in the jaw for these teeth to position themselves or the tooth is at a bad angle. You’ve probably heard of someone with “impacted” wisdom teeth; this means that the tooth is “trapped” and can not erupt naturally.
Must you have your wisdom teeth removed? No…but when they don’t fully erupt from the gums you could open yourself up for a bacterial infection. Additionally, allowing nature to take it’s course and letting wisdom teeth try to “just fit in” could cause your other teeth to shift and overlap.
And, if that’s not enough to consider, know that if your wisdom teeth do come in naturally and don’t cause you any problems, you still have to deal with the dental care needed to keep those super hard-to-reach teeth clean and cavity-free for a lifetime.
- There is a variety of reasons people should DEFINITELY have their wisdom teeth removed that include:
- Infection or cysts
- Damage to neighboring teeth
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
Your dentist might also recommend removal if you’re getting your teeth straightened.
I know, I know…it’s SURGERY. But, wisdom teeth extraction is a relatively routine procedure. Your dental specialist may or may not be able to do the extraction. Often an oral surgeon is referred. These dental professionals can help make the removal of wisdom teeth a less painful experience by the use of local anesthesia, IV sedation or general anesthesia. Your surgeon will work with you to select a pain management method to make this procedure comfortable for you.
Are their complications? Not often…but just so you know, like in any surgery, there’s some things that could go wrong:
- Commonly called dry socket, this occurs when the bone is exposed when the post-surgical blood clot is dislodged from the site where the tooth used to be. Follow your dental care instructions and you can probably avoid this problem.
- Infection in the socket from bacteria or trapped food particles
- Damage to sinuses near the upper wisdom teeth – rare, but possible
- Damage to nerves in the lower lip, tongue, jaw or chin. Often sensation returns during healing.
We don’t commonly remove wisdom teeth at our office – so ask us anything, we’ll give you the honest answers (as always) because we have nothing to gain…except, of course… a happy patient with a healthy mouth!
We can also recommend great oral surgeons that we like and have done work for our Colorado Healthy Smiles “family”. Just ask us!