How to Address your Wisdom Teeth

[ 0 ] March 2, 2016 |

Wisdom Teeth RemovalTalk to most seniors or those in mid-life and they will tell you that “wisdom comes with age.” Wisdom teeth, however, are another matter altogether.  They are given that particular name because they develop later than all our other teeth, usually around age 17-25. How to address your wisdom teeth and why they must be monitored are important factors for patients to understand.

Some patients live with them and no problems develop. But for a great majority of the population, they can become a real issue for your oral health.

What are Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the very back of your mouth, two on top and two on the bottom. You don’t really need them and you won’t even know you have them unless they give you trouble. As long as they grow in correctly as opposed to haphazardly, or you begin to have symptoms, you can pretty much leave them alone.

Unfortunately, that is not the case with most people. If you have children in their late teens, it would be “wise” to schedule an appointment with your dentist to examine your child to be sure that the wisdom teeth are healthy and properly positioned.

If they grow in completely, are positioned correctly, and can be properly cleaned they may not need to be removed.

Schedule regular dental visits to monitor your child’s wisdom teeth and to prevent future problems. If there is an issue, it is easier to correct at 17 or 20 then it will be later in life.

When Wisdom Teeth Become a Problem

There are certain symptoms and changes that should serve notice there is a problem with wisdom teeth.

  • Pain
  • Infections
  • Development of cysts or tumors
  • Gum disease
  • Decay

If any of these changes occur, it is best to seek dental care.

When Wisdom Teeth Should be Removed

Wisdom teeth should be removed when they grow in at an improper angle (sometimes even horizontally) or if there is not enough room for them. Other surrounding teeth can be damaged.

Impacted wisdom teeth are an issue because they are trapped in the jawbone and gums. They therefore don’t have enough room to grow, or they grow at an irregular angle leading to future problems. Other teeth may then move or grow improperly. Your dentist most likely will recommend that you have them removed.

Sometimes wisdom teeth can be partially erupted, meaning they have broken through the gums. In this case they should be removed, otherwise bacteria will grow under the gum causing infection and decay. If the tooth is angled improperly it will be harder to clean and more difficult to bite down.

Procedure to Remove Wisdom Teeth

It is easier to remove your wisdom teeth if they are completed or partially erupted. They can usually be removed like any other tooth.

It is more difficult to remove an impacted wisdom tooth. After an incision is made in the gums, it may be split or broken into pieces for easier removal. It is always easier to accomplish when a patient is younger and the bones are less dense.

Patients are given a sedative or general anesthesia prior to surgery so they will be completely comfortable. In addition, a local anesthetic will be applied to the area around your wisdom teeth.

Recovery

Tooth Removal RecoveryExpect to spend a few days after surgery to recuperate. There will be some pain and swelling initially. Patients may be given pain medications and an anti-biotic prescription to prevent infection. While at home there are several things you can do to remain comfortable:

  • Use ice for the first 24 hours, then switch to a warm compress 20 minutes on, then 20 minutes off.
  • Take Tylenol or Advil for pain.
  • Gently bite down on gauze where the tooth was to help a blood clot to form.
  • Drink only clear liquids in the beginning of the recuperation period.
  • Rinse with salt water after meals and before bedtime. Do not use store bought rinses.
  • Clean and floss teeth as normal, but avoid the area where the tooth was removed.

Detailed instructions will be provided at the time of surgery.

Some Final Words

It is not wise to ignore wisdom teeth!

How to address your wisdom teeth becomes easier- the earlier you are examined. Once you make a decision whether to remove some or all of them, complications can be avoided later.

Contact the specialists at Dental Care Group to have your wisdom teeth evaluated or get a second opinion.

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Category: Your Health & Your Smile

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