What are Wisdom Teeth and Do I Need to Have Them Removed?

You’ve likely heard plenty of horror stories from people who have had their wisdom teeth removed. These can range from nightmare tales of painful dry sockets to days of recovery that kept them from going to work or other daily tasks. If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, you may worry that you will need to undergo a painful procedure that will seriously impact your life. The truth is, wisdom tooth removal can be a relatively simple and pain-free process if done correctly. But first, it’s important to know what your wisdom teeth are and if you even need them removed in the first place.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Your wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars that each person get and they usually come in during their late teens or early 20s. In many cases, the teeth come in correctly and can be useful to overall oral health. In these cases, no removal is necessary.

What Are Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth?

Just as your other teeth can come in misaligned or angled, so can your wisdom teeth. When they are aligned poorly, angled inward or outward, or positioned horizontally, they can damage other teeth, cause crowding, or cause pain in the nerves or jawbone. Impacted wisdom teeth—or those enclosed within soft tissue or the jawbone—can also pose a problem as they can lead to infections, swelling, and pain. In these cases, it’s usually recommended that wisdom teeth be removed to prevent damage, pain, and illness.

What Do I Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom tooth removal is generally done by an oral surgeon under local anesthesia. In some cases, sedation or relaxation medication can also be used if the patient has a particularly challenging case or has anxiety. Depending on who performs your extraction and their placement, the procedure usually takes anywhere from 10-30 minutes per tooth.

After the procedure, a patient is advised to avoid eating and drinking for two hours, to avoid strenuous activity for a couple of days, and to expect some mild socket bleeding for a few days. Most people can return to work the day after their procedure, but some people opt to take a few days off to rest and relax.

Do you wonder if your wisdom teeth have grown in or if they are impacted? Are you worried that the placement of your wisdom teeth will cause problems down the road? Are you experiencing pain from wisdom teeth? If any of these apply to your or if you simply have questions about your oral health, please visit our website today.