Getting your wisdom teeth removed as a teen or a young adult is almost a rite of passage. In most cases, wisdom teeth crowd the mouth and can cause alignment and hygiene issues. There are some people who don’t need their wisdom teeth removed, but for most people, removing wisdom teeth is essential for a healthy mouth. Mill Dam Dental Care offers wisdom teeth removal in Virginia Beach. Here’s what you should know about wisdom teeth removal.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are a set of four molars that grow in at the back of your mouth. Over time, our mouths have evolved, and we no longer need our wisdom teeth to eat. Many people’s mouths are too small for their wisdom teeth to grow in safely.
WhatAare the signs that wisdom teeth should be removed?
Most people’s wisdom teeth start to grow in when they are in their late teen years or early twenties. Specifically, most people get their wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 17 and 25, although they can be removed at any age if they are causing problems. If your wisdom teeth grow in without crowding any of your other teeth or affecting your bite, then you may be able to keep them. However, most people will need them taken out.
Here are some of the signs you may need your wisdom teeth removed. Many of these symptoms can indicate that your wisdom teeth are impacted, which means they aren’t able to grow properly and are stuck beneath your gums. It’s also common for wisdom teeth to break through the gums at an odd angle, which pushes your other teeth into an uncomfortable position.
- You’re experiencing jaw pain or are having trouble moving your mouth.
- You are feeling pain specifically where your wisdom teeth are coming in.
- The gums at the back of your mouth are swelling, bleeding, or feel painful.
- You’re experiencing halitosis and cannot figure out why.
- You notice sinus pain while your wisdom teeth are growing in.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your dentist right away for further guidance. Most dentists take regular X-rays of their patients starting when they are children. This enables them to watch the wisdom teeth grow in and determine whether or not they will need to be removed. This is why dental checkups are so important – they can help your dentist catch problems and treat them right away to avoid further complications.
What Happens When Wisdom Teeth Aren’t Removed?
When your wisdom teeth aren’t removed, it can have serious health consequences down the road. In the short term, you’ll likely experience tooth pain, which can interfere with your daily activities. When wisdom teeth are overcrowded, it’s also very difficult to clean the area around them, which can result in cavities as well as damage to the surrounding teeth.
Over time, the wisdom teeth can become chronically infected and cause premature decay. This is because crowded wisdom teeth are incredibly difficult to clean properly. Leaving crowded wisdom teeth in can also result in gum disease, which is uncomfortable and difficult to manage. In the worst-case scenario, you could even experience bone loss around the roots of the teeth.
Because of these very serious negative consequences, it’s important to get your wisdom teeth removed as soon as it is safe to do so. If you have a teenager in your family, start talking to their dentist about wisdom teeth now so you can appropriately prepare for them.
What To Expect From Wisdom Teeth Removal
The idea of getting your wisdom teeth removed may feel a little bit daunting, but your dentist will take measures to make sure the process is as comfortable as possible for you. Before you get your wisdom teeth removed, you’ll likely need to have a checkup with your dentist so they can take X-rays and assess how the surgery will proceed.
You will be fully or partially sedated during your wisdom teeth removal to keep you comfortable. The type of sedation you receive will depend on your comfort level and the complexity of your wisdom teeth surgery. In some cases, you’ll be awake, but your mouth will be numb and you will be given drugs to make you relax. In other cases, you’ll be fully sedated, so you will sleep through the whole procedure. Be sure to tell your dentist what your sedation preferences are so they can keep you comfortable during the procedure.
You will likely feel some drowsiness after your surgery, although the extent of this will depend on the type of sedation you had. It’s important to make sure you have reliable transportation home from your wisdom teeth removal, as it likely won’t be safe for you to drive. Some people may be able to return to work or school right away, while others will need some time to recover before resuming normal activities.
Your dentist may have to make some incisions to remove your teeth safely, so you may end up with stitches. It’s also normal for your dentist to put gauze in your mouth to prevent excess bleeding. It’s important not to remove the gauze until your dentist says that it is safe. After the surgery, you will likely have some mild pain and swelling for a few days. Your dentist may prescribe some light painkillers to help with this. In most cases, the pain shouldn’t interfere with your daily life. However, you may need to change your diet in order to avoid irritating your mouth.
If you’re feeling swelling or discomfort after your wisdom teeth removal, try to stick to soft foods like soups, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and smoothies. Cold foods like ice cream can also be helpful if your mouth is feeling swollen. It’s important to make sure you’re still getting a healthy nutrient balance, as this will help your mouth heal faster. Your dentist may also recommend that you rinse your mouth out with salt water, which helps to keep the wound sanitary.
Your teeth and gums will be sensitive for a few weeks after wisdom tooth removal, so don’t engage in any vigorous exercise. There are a number of things you should avoid during the recovery process. You should not smoke, and you also should avoid using straws. Even spitting or slurping too intensely from a straw can cause complications. When deciding what to eat, look for foods with a soft texture, like applesauce, yogurt, mashed potatoes, and soup, for example. You can also make smoothies and juices to get your fruits and vegetables in a safe way. Avoid foods that are too hot and could burn the inside of your mouth. Your mouth will be extremely sensitive and won’t be able to handle these extreme temperatures.
It’s normal to have some bleeding in the hours following the surgery, but this should subside eventually. If you’re experiencing continual bleeding, use extra gauze to absorb it and keep the wound clean. If you’re experiencing a lot of swelling, you can use an ice pack to cool things down and reduce the inflammation. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel, so that you aren’t applying it directly to your skin. Applying the cold pack directly to your skin can cause irritation.
If you are still experiencing a lot of pain after a couple of days, call your dentist right away. You should also call them if you experience increased swelling or bleeding, as these can be signs of complications. It’s also important to watch out for dry sockets. A dry socket occurs if you lose the blood clot attached to your socket. This leaves the nerves exposed and can be very painful. While dry sockets are rare, they do happen, and it’s important to catch them early so you can get the appropriate treatment.
If you do have a dry socket, you’ll notice pain at the removal site that gets worse instead of healing. You also may be able to see the dry socket when you look in the mirror – instead of a blood clot, you may see empty gums. It’s important to call your dentist immediately if you have these symptoms. They can clean the socket, redress the wound with a medicated gel, and prescribe you stronger pain medication.
Most people will need to have their wisdom teeth removed at some point in their teenage years or early twenties. It’s important to know the signs of wisdom teeth growth, so that you can talk to your dentist about having them removed. Mill Dam Dental is a leading dentist in Virginia Beach that offers wisdom teeth removal and other sedation dentistry services. Contact us today to set up your appointment!