|Be Wise: What You Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth
Posted on 11/17/2016 by Dan Laizure
|Unfortunately, wisdom teeth don’t make you any smarter, but they can cause considerable pain if there isn't enough room for them in your jaw. Wisdom tooth removal is one of the most common types of oral surgery. In fact, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that 90 percent of people will have at least one impacted wisdom tooth removed at some point in their life.
What Is the Purpose of Wisdom Teeth?You may not need your wisdom teeth, but your ancestors certainly did. Back in the days when a gourmet meal consisted of roots and leaves, wisdom teeth were a necessity. This third set of molars helped early man gnaw through a variety of tough foods. Because these teeth usually erupt in your late teens or early twenties, a time when you have hopefully gained a little wisdom, they are called "wisdom" teeth. Since you already have two sets of molars, you do not absolutely need your wisdom teeth.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?Many people don't have enough room in their mouths for an extra set of molars. When there is nowhere for these teeth to go, they become impacted and remain below your gum line. Unfortunately, impacted teeth continue to try to push through your gums, causing pain and jaw stiffness. In some cases, a tooth may only be partially impacted, but this can lead to problems too, especially if tiny bits of food and bacteria collect around the tooth and cause an infection. If the teeth do erupt, they may grow at an angle and push against your other teeth, damaging them and even causing them to shift and become crooked.
Does Everyone Need Their Wisdom Teeth Extracted?Some people never have problems with their wisdom teeth, the teeth erupt fully and grow in perfectly straight. If your wisdom teeth grow in without a problem, you'll benefit from having an extra set of molars for biting and chewing.
What Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Involve?Impacted wisdom teeth are often removed during an oral surgery procedure. Extracting impacted teeth is a little more complicated than removing erupted teeth because your dentist must cut through your gums to expose the teeth. In some cases, a small section of bone must also be removed before the tooth can be extracted. Removing erupted wisdom teeth is usually not much different than extracting any of your other molars, as long as the teeth are straight and have erupted fully.
How Long Does It Take to Recover?You will experience some pain and swelling during the first few days after oral surgery. Dr. Laizure may recommend over-the-counter or prescription pain killers to help reduce pain and swelling. Ice packs help decrease swelling during the first 24 hours. After two or three days, you'll probably notice a significant reduction in pain and swelling. Initially, you will be restricted to liquids and soft foods, such as soup, yogurt and applesauce. As you heal, you can gradually return to eating your favorite foods.
Whether you are concerned about your wisdom teeth, or it's time for your next dental exam, we can help. Call us today and make an appointment at (509) 579-3654.
Our staff of dental professionals at Walla Walla Dental Care are dedicated to helping you achieve your dental wellness objectives. If you are on the hunt for a new dental home, we’d love to talk!