What Are Wisdom Teeth?
The third and final set of molars a human being can develop are called the wisdom teeth. Historians believe that these large, flat teeth in the back of the mouth helped early humans chew and grind up their food for easier digestion. However, modern-day diets contain foods that are much softer and more processed. The human body gradually evolved away from having wisdom teeth as a result of no longer needing them to chew. That’s why about 35% of people never develop wisdom teeth today!
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
It’s uncommon to develop wisdom teeth that don’t need to be removed. Since most human jaws are no longer big enough to accommodate another set of molars, these teeth don’t have the support they need to come in correctly. Instead, they’ll come in at an angle, or something completely sideways! They may bump into the surrounding teeth and push them out of place, causing damage and overcrowding. Sometimes, the wisdom tooth will get stuck in the jawbone as it tries to erupt, leaving you highly susceptible to serious dental infections.
If you visit us for regular checkups, we’ll be able to monitor your wisdom teeth. This will give us plenty of time to predict if they are likely to cause future complications and plan whether you need a wisdom tooth extraction.
What to Expect From Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Wisdom teeth can be removed in a few different ways depending on how developed they are and if they’re impacted. Different techniques are needed if the tooth is still under the gums, if it has fully erupted, or if it is impacted. During your consultation, we’ll take X-rays of your mouth to get a better understanding of the best way to remove your wisdom teeth. Then, we’ll walk you through everything you’ll need to know about preparing for your procedure. In most cases, we’ll numb your mouth and then use specialized tools to remove the tooth depending on its location.
Recovering From Wisdom Tooth Extraction
It will take you several days to a week to recover from your procedure. For the first day after your wisdom tooth extraction, you should plan on relaxing and recovering. This includes no strenuous activity, no sports, and plenty of resting. While you should be sticking to a diet of soft, nutritious foods, it’s essential that you do NOT drink through a straw to avoid dislodging the blood clot around the extraction site. Symptoms like intermittent bleeding, slight discomfort, and facial swelling can all be controlled via over-the-counter pain relievers and ice packs. If you have any questions or concerns during your recovery, don’t hesitate to contact us!
Wisdom Tooth Extraction FAQs
If you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted, it’s likely that you have some questions. At Time to Care Dental Group, we want to give you all the information you need to make a confident and well-informed decision. In addition to answering all your questions in-person during your consultation, we’ve also provided answers to some wisdom tooth extraction FAQs. If you don’t see the answers you’re looking for below, or if you’re ready to schedule your consultation, give our Edmonton office a call.
How Long Can I Wait to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Teeth develop relatively slowly, but we encourage you not to put off your wisdom tooth extraction any longer than must. As with many things, wisdom teeth are best delt with early, when they are still small and manageable. The longer you wait, the more your wisdom tooth will come in, and the more complicated it might be to remove it.
Why Do I Need My Wisdom Teeth Removed If They Don’t Hurt?
Some people will begin to feel a dull, constant pain in the back of their mouth when it’s time to have their wisdom teeth removed. However, most patients will neither see nor feel their wisdom teeth prior to their removal. Wisdom tooth removal is a preventive treatment aimed at sopping future oral health problems and complications that these large molars might cause.
How Soon Can I Eat After Having My Wisdom Teeth Taken Out?
Directly after your wisdom tooth removal, you should avoid eating until the numbing medication in your mouth has worn off. This will protect you from accidentally biting yourself or disturbing the extraction site. As you begin to eat and drink, remember that it’s important to keep your gauze pad in place according to our post-op instructions. We recommend sticking to a diet of soft, nutritious foods for at least five days after your wisdom tooth removal. From there, you can begin to add harder, crunchier, and stickier foods into your diet as you feel ready.
How Painful Is Wisdom Tooth Removal?
Although wisdom tooth removal may sound somewhat daunting at first, you can rest assured that you do not need to worry. Modern-day numbing medications are effective and reliable when it comes to protecting patients from unpleasant sensations associated with dental work. Additionally, sedation dentistry options like nitrous oxide sedation can add an extra layer of comfort to your treatment.
This is all to say that the removal process itself shouldn’t be uncomfortable. However, it is normal to experience some soreness and tenderness in the mouth as you heal. Any symptoms you experience should be easy to manage by applying an ice pack to the outside of your face or taking an over-the-counter pain reliever according to the instructions on the label.
What Is Dry Socket & How Do I Avoid It?
A blood clot will form over the socket where the extracted wisdom tooth once was. It protects the underlying bone and nerves from bacteria and promotes healing. If the blood clot is dislodge, it results in a painful condition called dry socket. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to avoid dry socket, including:
- Not smoking or chewing tobacco
- Not drinking through a straw, blowing your nose, or spitting out forcefully
- Not eating any particularly hard or crunchy foods, which could disturb the blood clot
- Being very careful when brushing and flossing around the extraction site