What To Know About Wisdom Teeth
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third, and last, set of molars to come in. Wisdom teeth usually come in somewhere between the ages of 17 to 25.
Why Do They Matter?
When wisdom teeth come in, they are usually misaligned. This means they can crowd or damage nearby teeth, or even your jawbone or nerves.
Impacted wisdom teeth are when wisdom teeth are stuck under your gums, or only partially break through the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth are often difficult to brush because of their position in the mouth, making tooth decay or gum disease more likely. Additionally, they can allow an opening for bacteria around the tooth, and a resulting infection can cause pain and swelling.
What Do I Do About Wisdom Teeth?
First, talk to your dentist about wisdom teeth. He or she can regularly x-ray your teeth, and decide if you should see an oral surgeon.
Sometimes, a dentist or oral surgeon will recommend removing wisdom teeth early. This will keep problems from developing later, and prevent a more complicated future surgery. It is also easier to remove wisdom teeth in young people, before the roots are completely developed.
What Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Involve?
The oral surgeon will give you either a local anesthetic to numb the area around where the wisdom teeth are being removed or a general anesthetic, depending on the procedure. The surgeon may also give you a sedative, you should ask your surgeon about this before the surgery to make sure you can drive yourself afterwards.
What Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Only consume liquids until the numbness from the anesthesia wears off. After that, only eat soft foods for a few days. Depending on the type of pain medication you’re taking, you may need to avoid alcohol.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Recovery?
Take any antibiotics or pain medication as prescribed by your doctor. It’s also important to keep brushing your teeth after a wisdom tooth removal, but avoid the area where your wisdom teeth were removed for a day. Brush this area gently afterward.
Face swelling around the extraction site is common for the first day after removing. Bleeding may occur for several hours after the surgery as well.
Dry socket is another common complication that usually occurs several days after the extraction. Dry socket is caused by a blood clot failing to form in a removed tooth’s socket or when a blood clot did form, but got dislodged. This slows the healing process and can cause moderate to severe pain. If you experience dry socket, contact your dentist or oral surgeon for treatment.