Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, come in between the ages of 17-21 and are the last adult teeth to erupt in the mouth. These teeth were needed by our ancestors who had bigger mouths and tougher food to chew, but today, wisdom teeth generally aren’t needed and pose more of a problem than they do a solution. Here are the answers to your top questions about getting those wisdom teeth removed!
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Wisdom teeth themselves often aren’t the problem: it’s their location in the mouth that can be troublesome. Wisdom teeth may not have enough room in the mouth, so they come in at odd angles or push against the second molars, which can cause pain on the adjacent teeth and shifting of the top and bottom rows of teeth. These are called impacted wisdom teeth and they often need to be removed.
Wisdom teeth can also create tight spaces where plaque and bacteria love to hide, therefore leading to tooth decay or gum disease. Finally, wisdom teeth tend to be painful and may be removed to prevent pain as well as problems in the mouth.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
This will depend on the patient, but wisdom teeth are generally removed as they erupt or before or after eruption, so between the ages of 17-21. You may still choose to get wisdom teeth removed later, after they’ve fully erupted.
What Should I Expect During the Procedure?
Your dentist can extract your wisdom teeth with mild sedation, but if you want IV sedation, he or she will likely refer you to an oral surgeon. You’ll be asleep during the procedure and your teeth will be extracted. You won’t feel anything, and you’ll be quite numb for a few hours following the procedure.
Is Getting Wisdom Teeth Removed Painful?
Getting your wisdom teeth removed is not painful, but you may experience some pain in the days following the procedure as your mouth heals. Your dentist will prescribe you pain medication as well as advise best practices for taking care of your healing mouth!
What Should I Eat Following the Procedure?
Your dentist will likely advise you to not eat until the numbness of your mouth goes away. After this, you should only eat soft foods for a few days. These include foods like ice cream, yogurt, soup, smoothies, eggs, or soft fruits such as mangoes and kiwi. Be prepared with these foods at your home so you’ll be ready to eat while you rest and heal.
How Long Will It Take to Heal?
Healing from your wisdom tooth removal generally takes several days or up to two weeks. Your mouth needs to heal the sockets that your wisdom teeth were removed from. It’s important to take great care of your teeth during this time so your mouth can heal fast and you’ll be eating regular foods again in no time!
Wisdom teeth removal is a very common procedure that many people get to prevent future problems with their wisdom teeth. Your dentist can tell if your wisdom teeth are on their way in with a simple x-ray and advise if they’ll cause future problems. Talk with your dentist about wisdom tooth removal!