The third and final set of molars are referred to as wisdom teeth. Most people have these removed in their teens or early twenties due to the teeth’s tendency to be misaligned.
Here are five facts about wisdom teeth and their removal you may not have known.
Wisdom teeth can cause several problems that are detrimental to oral health. They may overcrowd your mouth, pushing other teeth out of place. This doesn’t just do damage to your smile – it can cause serious nerve damage or hollow out your jaw.
Wisdom teeth are removed early in life for a good reason. The older you get, the harder the bones in your mouth become. As time goes on, this makes removing wisdom teeth more difficult. Many dentists and oral surgeons recommend removing wisdom teeth before they have posed any tangible problems for the simple reason that these problems can quickly become severe and more difficult to deal with after the fact.
Sometimes wisdom teeth become impacted, meaning they’re enclosed within soft tissue or have not managed to fully penetrate the gums. When wisdom teeth have only partially erupted through the gums, they create an opening that is prone to infection. Side effects of such an infection include general illness, jaw stiffness, swelling, and pain. Impacted teeth are also more difficult to brush and floss, making them vulnerable to decay.
Depending on their stage of development and positioning, wisdom teeth can be relatively easy to remove or quite difficult. Wisdom teeth that have fully erupted through the gums can be pulled just like other teeth. A wisdom tooth that is still totally embedded in the jawbone requires an opening in the gums to be incised before removing part of the bone that overlays the tooth. In this scenario, the tooth is often extracted one small piece at a time.
During the first 24 hours after having your wisdom teeth extracted, you need to restrict yourself to a liquid diet. Facial swelling around the tooth extraction area is common. The gums surrounding the spot where your wisdom teeth were may continue to bleed for several hours. To remedy bleeding, moist gauze or moist tea bags are placed over the empty tooth socket.. Tea bags possess tannic acids which assist in the formation of blood clots to stop the bleeding.
Dr. Michael McBride has decades of experience dealing with wisdom teeth. If your wisdom teeth have been giving you trouble (or any other teeth for that matter), contact us today to schedule an appointment.