By the time we reach puberty, most of us have lost our baby teeth and seen adult permanent teeth grow into place. But many people also have wisdom teeth that will grow into place during early adulthood.
These patients often worry that these teeth will harm their oral health and require extraction surgery to remove them. This may seem overwhelming, but your dentist can let you know what to expect in your unique case when you schedule a dental consultation. In the meantime, you can relieve lingering dental fear by reading on to find responses to frequently asked questions regarding wisdom teeth function, complications, and the removal process.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth refer to the third set of molars that often grow after a person completes adolescence, usually between ages 17 or 21, hence the name. Not every dental patient has wisdom teeth, as humans have evolved to eat softer diets and do not require these extra molars. Some patients only have a few of these teeth, and others will have all four molars.
Your wisdom teeth, if you have them, might grow into place without issue. But often, these teeth come with different types of complications. Your dentist will monitor these teeth during routine dental check-ups to ensure they do not harm your oral health.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Often Need Extraction?
When you hear about wisdom teeth, you often also consider the need to remove these teeth with an extraction procedure. There are a number of reasons these teeth could pose a threat to your smile and require removal. For instance, you might not have enough room in your mouth for these teeth which could lead to overcrowding.
Your teeth could become crooked, and you might have trouble completing oral functions if overcrowding occurs. So your dentist will intervene before this point. They can see the position of your wisdom teeth below the gumline with x-ray imaging.
If you have limited space in your mouth, wisdom teeth can easily become impacted when they start to grow. This happens when the teeth get stuck in the jawbone and cannot burst through the gumline.
You have a high risk of oral infection with impacted wisdom teeth. You may also feel a great amount of pain with this issue, so do not hesitate to call your dentist about your symptoms.
What Can I Expect from Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Some people might feel nervous about undergoing an extraction of their wisdom teeth. But your dentist will prioritize your comfort during this oral surgery. They will use a local anesthetic to numb the area and offer you sedation dentistry options to help you relax further during the procedure.
Then the dentist cuts away the tooth from the bone and through the gums. They stitch the surgical site and provide you with aftercare instructions for you to take home directly after your appointment. You can expect a few days of downtime and up to two weeks to fully recover from this procedure.