Although you may know many people who’ve had their wisdom teeth removed, you may still be surprised when your dentist recommends it to you if your teeth haven’t been hurting. Oral surgery to extract wisdom teeth has become a standard practice and can be necessary for a variety of reasons. This can be daunting as it is a surgery, but it is a minor one with a very low risk of complications. Choosing to keep your wisdom teeth when they can pose a problem is more dangerous to your health in the long run because of future dental problems they are likely to cause. Recovery is also quick and generally takes only a week, and your dentist will make sure to provide you with tips to make it go smoothly.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of your mouth. They generally appear between the late teens and early to mid-twenties. Your dentist can see them on x-rays even if they are hidden below the gum line, as not all wisdom teeth will break through the gums, contrary to the rest of your teeth. All four wisdom teeth may or may not develop.
Reasons to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Even if your wisdom teeth are healthy, your dentist may recommend extraction as preventative care. If wisdom teeth shift or become unhealthy, they can easily impact the nearby teeth and, with age, your teeth can become harder to remove due to your jawbone hardening. If your mouth can’t appropriately accommodate your wisdom teeth, the lack of space can also cause future complications.
Other reasons to extract wisdom teeth include:
- They are at the wrong angle and/or are trapped in your jawbone or gums
- They press against your other teeth and are damaging them
- They have cavities and/or are causing gum disease
- They have cysts around them that can lead to jaw damage
- They are causing dental or sinus pain
Your dentist will determine whether they need to remove your wisdom teeth with a couple of diagnostic tools. They will take dental x-rays and perform a thorough examination to review the positioning and condition of not only your wisdom teeth but the ones next to them.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
This minor surgery generally takes 45 minutes or less (depending on the number of wisdom teeth you need removed). Your dentist or oral surgeon will provide anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during the procedure. Anesthesia can be local with the injection of a local anesthetic that numbs your mouth (with or without additional IV sedation) or general, putting you to sleep during the surgery and up to an hour afterward.
Your dentist or oral surgeon will fully remove your wisdom teeth (roots included) and usually stitch the wounds to promote faster healing. The stitches should dissolve within a few days.
Most individuals experience little to no pain after the extraction, although some swelling and mild discomfort for a few days is normal. You should follow your medical provider’s instructions for optimal healing.
Access Dental can perform a variety of dental procedures, including wisdom teeth extraction. Call us today at (973) 358-6266 or contact us via our online form to schedule an appointment.