How do I know when to have my wisdom teeth pulled?

Are you wondering about when and whether or not you should have your wisdom teeth pulled? Here, our Yarmouth dentists offer up some advice about the signs that your wisdom teeth require removal.

What are wisdom teeth?

Between the ages of 17 and 25, many of us will have a third set of molars emerge. These are known as wisdom teeth.

If these teeth and straight and healthy when they erupt from our gums, they are generally harmless and won't require removal. However, if wisdom teeth emerge misaligned, are crowding other teeth, or are unable to completely erupt at all, dental surgery may be recommended so that the wisdom teeth can be removed to prevent health issues from arising because of them.

When should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

By removing wisdom teeth when they are causing issues, your dentists will be able to preserve your oral health and prevent health issues from arising in the future. In some instances, patients may be undergoing another procedure that will require that their wisdom teeth be extracted so they won't impede the surgeon's access to areas like your jaw.

Ideally, wisdom teeth should be removed before they cause pain or discomfort, and before an infection develops. Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing pain, they may still eventually cause crowding, which can lead to tooth decay as crowded teeth can be difficult to clean.

You’ll want to schedule your wisdom teeth extraction in advance, and allow a few days for recovery.

What age do most people have their wisdom teeth removed?

Generally speaking, it's best to have wisdom teeth removed around the age of 18. This is because at this point the roots of the teeth won't have completely formed and fastened themselves to the jaw bone. Once this process is complete, the extraction procedure and recovery process may become more difficult.

Signs you need to have your wisdom teeth removed

If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your dentist, as your wisdom teeth could be causing problems:

  • Headaches
  • Difficulty eating
  • Pain in teeth or jaw
  • Sinus problems
  • Gum inflammation
  • Misaligned wisdom teeth
  • Bad breath (caused by plaque bacteria collecting on the wisdom teeth, or infection)
  • Facial swelling (caused by impacted wisdom teeth that remain below the gum surface)

Is it painful to have your wisdom teeth removed?

Tooth extractions are way less painful today than they ever have been before because of the use of anesthetics and sedatives during the process. In many instances, people who have their wisdom teeth pulled will experience little to no discomfort and only minor bleeding.

Before the tooth is extracted, the area around the tooth will be numbed with an injectable or topical anesthetic to ensure comfort.

Once your dentist has removed the tooth, he or she will discuss tooth replacements options with you. These may include bridges or dentures.

How long does recovery from wisdom teeth removal take?

Many dentists use techniques such as IV sedation so the procedure is as comfortable as possible for patients.

Expect the appointment to take about an hour. Recovery will often take a few days and may involve swelling and discomfort throughout the first 2 - 3 days.

While healing from your wisdom teeth extraction, try to refrain from undertaking strenuous physical activity and eat soft foods. Make sure you are following your dentist's recommendations for post-operative care for the incision site and your mouth. If you do all of this, you will increase your chances of having a smooth recovery process.

Wondering if you should have your wisdom teeth removed? Our Yarmouth dentists can provide advice on whether your wisdom teeth should be extracted. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Helping Achieve Your Oral Health Goals

At SouthWest Dental, we are dedicated to helping you achieve optimal oral health with a range of dental services that can be tailored to your needs.

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