If you’re like most people, the thought of having your wisdom teeth extracted can be disconcerting, at best. The fact that wisdom tooth extraction is quite common today may not alleviate your doubts or fears about the process.
By learning more about wisdom tooth extraction, why it’s needed, and how it’s done, you can have greater confidence to undergo this procedure. Here are a few helpful facts to get you started.
1. Wisdom teeth are molars located along the top and bottom of the back part of your mouth. They often come in between the ages of 17 and 25, although some people never develop wisdom teeth at all.
If your wisdom teeth have no adverse effect on your oral health, they can be left alone. If they begin to cause problems, however, such as pain, overcrowding or infection, your dentist may recommend having them extracted.
2. A thorough examination by your dentist can determine if it’s necessary for you to have your wisdom teeth extracted. An impacted wisdom tooth can lead to the growth of cysts and tumors in your mouth as well as cause infection that can spread to surrounding teeth and gums.
Left untreated, this infection can cause damage to your kidneys and heart. Having impacted wisdom teeth removed can prevent these and future oral health problems.
3. Wisdom tooth extraction is a surgical procedure performed by a professional dentist. Anesthesia or sedation is generally used, so patients experience no pain.
4. Once a dentist determines that wisdom tooth extraction is necessary, it’s best to have it done right away to avoid the risk of complications. The fewer complications you have, the quicker you’ll recover.
During recovery, you’ll be asked to go on a “soft” diet consisting of ice cream, smoothies, and yogurt — yum! — which will help minimize swelling and bleeding. Your dentist may also prescribe medication, if necessary, to manage pain.
5. Pain, swelling, and discomfort are often early warning signs of problems with your wisdom teeth. Some people, however, experience no symptoms at all. Regular checkups with your dentist will reveal whether a wisdom tooth is problematic and needs to be removed.
6. Most people fully recover from wisdom tooth extraction in a few days. By avoiding strenuous activities, reducing smoking and brushing lightly around the surgical area, you can help speed up recovery.
If your dentist recommends wisdom tooth extraction, rest assured that it will be beneficial to your oral health.