Wisdom teeth are a set of molars that usually come in during the late teenage years or early twenties. While these teeth can be left in, they’re usually removed because they come in crooked, or only partially. They can even push your other molars around. So, it’s important to get them removed. Learn more about wisdom teeth, and what to know about getting them removed, in our blog.
Wisdom Teeth 101
Why do they exist?
These molars are actually a vestige of a time when humans mouths were larger and could accommodate them. Over the course of time, our mouths have gotten smaller, and so there’s less room for wisdom teeth. This is why they tend to cause problems, because your mouth just doesn’t have the room for them.
What problems can they cause?
A common problem is when wisdom teeth are impacted. This means they are either stuck in the tissue or only partially break through the gum. When this happens, it’s easier for bacteria to get into the gums, causing illness and other mouth problems. Impacted teeth are also harder to clean, making them more likely to decay.
Wisdom teeth can also come in sideways and push your other teeth around, causing pain and/or damage to teeth and nerves.
Getting wisdom teeth removed.
Getting wisdom teeth removed is a fairly simple procedure that is performed in an outpatient setting. The area around the tooth is numbed with an anesthetic, and your dentist may give you a sedative or put you under anesthesia if you desire, or if the wisdom teeth are in a more difficult location for extraction.
Recovery time from wisdom tooth extraction depends on the how hard it was to extract the tooth. Though the area won’t heal completely for several weeks or months, you can usually return to normal eating and drinking habits within a week or two. Swelling can be treated with a cold compress and medication. You should also rinse your mouth with warm water with ½ tsp. Of salt after you eat and before bed. Don’t use your usual mouthwash during this time. You may need to have stitches removed about a week after the procedure if they are not self-dissolving.
Dry sockets occur because there is a problem with the formation of a blood clot in the socket where the tooth was. This is not uncommon, and usually occurs 3-4 days after the procedure. You may experience pain at this time. See your dentist for treatment of dry sockets.
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