Whether you have your wisdom teeth or they’re just coming in, you may be wondering if they need to be extracted. Many people automatically have their wisdom teeth removed. However, you can choose to keep them if you are not experiencing any pain, and the teeth have emerged correctly.
Let’s learn more about wisdom teeth and the valid reasons to have them extracted.
Understanding Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are molars that are located at the very back of the mouth. In fact, they are often referred to as third molars. These teeth do not emerge with the other adult teeth. Instead, the third molars erupt in between the ages of 16 and 23. Some dentists recommend having them extracted because it’s easier to extract new wisdom teeth since the roots haven’t fully developed. However, you can keep your wisdom teeth if they are not causing you any problems. A dental checkup that includes x-rays can help determine if you can keep your third molars.
When You Can Keep Your Wisdom Teeth
Your wisdom teeth do not automatically need to be extracted. If they have emerged correctly, are not crowding your other teeth and not causing you pain or issues with your bite, you can keep them. However, you will need to brush and floss your wisdom teeth just like your other teeth in order to prevent cavities, gum infections, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. If you do happen to experience a cavity in one of your wisdom teeth, in most instances, it can be filled, saving the tooth.
Reasons to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted
Wisdom teeth should be extracted if they are impacted. This means that they did not fully emerge from the gums. Wisdom teeth have a tendency to grow crooked or sideways. They can also crowd the other teeth, causing problems with your bite and making them difficult to clean. If you experience any of these problems, it is probably best to have your wisdom teeth extracted for the overall health of your mouth.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
If your wisdom teeth are partially emerged and not deeply impacted, your dentist may be able to extract them in the office. If they are deeply impacted or the extraction is going to be complicated, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon for extraction.
- Your mouth and the area around your wisdom teeth will be numbed.
- The wisdom teeth will be pulled or surgically extracted.
- Stitches may need to be used to close the gap after extraction.
- A follow-up appointment may be needed to check the surgical sites and/or to remove the stitches.
Recovery After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
After your wisdom teeth have been successfully extracted, you will be given a list of post-surgical instructions and a prescription for pain medication while you recover. For the first 24 hours, it is important not to dislodge the clots that form. This could lead to dry socket, which is very painful. For this reason, your dentist will recommend eating soft foods and foregoing the use of straws and tobacco products. You will also want to avoid spicy foods and drinking alcohol while your gums heal, and you may want to limit your exercise. In general, you can expect your gums to heal within three to five days. At that point, you can resume your regular activities and consuming your favorite spicy foods.
Should You have your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
If you are not sure whether you should keep your wisdom teeth or have them extracted, set up an appointment with your dentist. Your dentist will take x-rays and examine your mouth to determine if your wisdom teeth are emerging correctly and if they have enough room to emerge.
Triangle Dentistry, located in Raleigh, NC, provides a state-of-the-art facility that offers exceptional general dental and specialty services guided by empathy of a patient’s needs and desires. Services range from dental crowns to veneers and whitening procedures. For further information, questions, or to schedule an appointment, contact the office at (919) 747-3608.