The back molars, also known as wisdom teeth, are normally the last adult teeth to erupt from your gums. People between the ages of 17 and 21 typically experience wisdom tooth growth in the top and bottom corners at the back of the mouth.
Oftentimes people do not have adequate space for wisdom teeth which may lead to gum issues, bad odours, higher risk of cavities and even cyst formation.
That’s why it’s sometimes integral to receive wisdom teeth removal surgery to ensure your other teeth aren’t at risk.
Here’s everything you need to know about wisdom teeth removal:
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are vestigial structures that were useful to our early human ancestors for their coarse and rough diet which included foods like nuts, roots, and uncooked meats. However, as humans have evolved and developed tools for food preparation, our diet has become softer and easier to chew. Consequently, the need for wisdom teeth has diminished.
Why I Might Need To Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed
Some patients have all four wisdom teeth erupted without causing problems, but in most cases, wisdom teeth can grow at an angle or get impacted in the jawbone or under your gum tissue. As a result, you can experience many issues.
You may consider having a wisdom tooth removed due to the following:
- Dental pain at the back of your mouth
- Food and debris getting trapped around your wisdom teeth
- Developing gum disease around your third molars
- Tooth decay due to a partially erupted wisdom tooth
- One or more impacted teeth
- Cyst (fluid-filled sac) development around the wisdom teeth
Most dentists will recommend wisdom teeth extraction as a preventive measure to ensure no problems arise down the road.
Problems With Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If your nearby teeth are impacted, you may experience numerous dental problems, such as:
- Trapped food and debris
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
- Damage to the surrounding bone
- Cyst development
- Complications with other orthodontic treatments
Preventing Future Dental Problems
While it can be difficult to determine future dental issues that may result from wisdom teeth, there are some reasonable concerns for preventative removal surgery:
- Symptom-free wisdom teeth can host diseases.
- If there isn’t enough room in the mouth, wisdom teeth may grow in awkward angles and become harder to clean.
- More serious wisdom teeth complications are less likely in young adults.
- Older adults may struggle with surgery and post-surgery complications.
What Is the Best Age To Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
According to the ADA (American Dental Association), wisdom teeth typically grow in people ages 17 and 21, making this the ideal age to have your wisdom teeth removed. Sometimes it is recommended to have your wisdom teeth out at an even younger age as it may be easier and less traumatic to have the teeth removed before the roots are fully formed. It can take some time for all four wisdom teeth to grow in, and the process can often be uncomfortable. If you notice significant pain, contacting your dentist immediately is a good idea.
How Wisdom Teeth Get Removed
To remove wisdom teeth, your oral surgeon will administer a local anaesthetic to numb your teeth and gums. For impacted wisdom teeth, your surgeon will expose them through an incision, giving them easy access for removal.
If your wisdom teeth are visible and fully erupted, your surgeon will loosen and pull them from their tooth socket. Then, they’ll clean the area and possibly place stitches, which will dissolve on their own in a week or two. There may be some instances when stitches aren’t required, but the wounds will need monitoring.
Wisdom teeth removal won’t often result in serious long-term complications, but there may be instances when patients experience:
- Dry socket (loss of the blood clot that results in exposed bone)
- Damage to the jawbone, nerves, nearby teeth, and sinuses
How To Prepare for Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Your dentist can perform a wisdom tooth removal procedure in the office. Although, if your tooth is severely impacted or requires an intensive surgical approach, you may be referred to an oral surgeon. Regardless of who provides the surgical treatment, you’ll receive local anaesthesia to ensure you’re comfortable during the oral surgery.
Questions To Ask Your Dentist
It’s perfectly normal to ask your dentist questions regarding wisdom tooth removal surgery, such as:
- How many wisdom teeth will be removed?
- What type of anaesthesia is provided?
- How long will the procedure last?
- Have my impacted wisdom teeth caused damage to other teeth?
- Is there a risk of nerve damage?
- How long will the recovery phase last?
- How complicated do you expect the surgery to be?
In Preparation for Surgery
A wisdom tooth extraction is typically performed as an outpatient procedure, meaning you can go home after it’s over.
There are a few things you will need to do and plan out before your surgery:
- If any sedatives have been prescribed, be prepared to have someone take you home after the procedure, as driving after taking these medications is dangerous.
- If undergoing sedation or general anaesthesia, your surgeon may have some strict instructions regarding when to stop eating and drinking before surgery.
- Ensure your teeth are brushed before extraction.
- If you take prescriptions, consult your dentist to determine whether you need to avoid taking them before the wisdom teeth removal.
- You’ll may be bedridden for the next few days following surgery, so ensure you have soft foods and liquids stocked-up at home.
How Long Does the Operation Take?
Wisdom teeth extraction can vary from patient to patient, but the average removal can take up to one hour. More complex wisdom teeth extractions can take longer.
How To Recover After the Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Aftercare for wisdom tooth removal can vary, but you can follow these general guidelines to ensure a smooth recovery:
- Get as much rest as possible, especially for the first 48 to 72 hours.
- Avoid any strenuous activities, such as exercising or heavy lifting.
- Use a cold compress or ice pack on your face to reduce swelling.
- Use an antimicrobial mouthwash to gently soak your incisions and keep your wound clean.
- Don’t swish liquids, as this can dislodge blood clots and lead to dry sockets.
- Brush the rest of your teeth, as usual.
- Take your prescribed medications, including antibiotics and pain relievers.
What Food Can I Eat?
There are many foods that you can eat after a wisdom tooth extraction, such as:
Soft foods: Pasta, rice, eggs, mashed potatoes, pudding, and yogurt
Cold foods: Ice cream, smoothies, apple sauce, and frozen yogurt
Avoid hard, crunchy, or spicy foods, as those can irritate your surgical sites. Lastly, avoid drinking through straws and smoking; the suction can dislodge your blood clots.
Should I Take a Break From School/Work?
Most people will take up to three days off work or school after wisdom teeth extraction. If your job requires heavy lifting and strenuous activity, you may need to book off some extra recovery time.
Do you require a professional dentist that can remove wisdom teeth in Winnipeg? Fresh Dental is here for you. We provide an assortment of dental treatments, such as dental implants, root canals, and, you guessed it, wisdom tooth extraction. Contact us today to book your appointment!