When it comes to wisdom tooth extractions, it is normal for adults to feel fear. You will often hear stories of how painful the recovery is, how much bleeding you will experience, and how long it takes for the swelling to subside.
That being said, not everyone undergoes wisdom tooth extraction. Some people have wisdom teeth that grow properly and do not need extraction. Others might not have any wisdom teeth at all. Regardless, the procedure is common in America. In 2016, ten million wisdom teeth were extracted by dentists.
If you are curious about wisdom tooth extraction or are expecting to go through one soon, this article will help you understand everything you need to know about this dental procedure.
The Beginnings of Wisdom Teeth
Your wisdom teeth grow between the ages of 17 to 24. At these ages, people are considered adults who have enough wisdom, and that is where the name comes from. Wisdom teeth are the teeth found at the back corners of your mouth. In medical terms, they are called the third molars.
Many anthropologists believe that our caveman ancestors used their wisdom teeth to eat their diet, which consisted of hard-to-chew food such as nuts, meat, leaves, and raw roots. However, since modern humans learned to cut, crush, and cook these foods into more manageable and bite-sized pieces, these teeth lost their use.
As part of the evolutionary process, human jaws also adjusted. Unfortunately, people’s wisdom teeth continued to grow. Because human’s gums and jaws are much smaller than those of their ancestors, their mouths do not have enough room for these third molars to grow.
The Impacted Wisdom Tooth
A wisdom tooth that got stuck under your gums is called an impacted tooth. If it partly erupts above the gums’ surface, it is called partially impacted wisdom tooth. Impacted or partially impacted teeth usually happen because of the lack of space in one’s mouth to accommodate the new teeth. These teeth often grow at odd angles that may cause pain, discomfort, or other complications, such as:
- Feeling pain around the wisdom tooth
- Food particles trapped in the mouth that can cause tooth decay
- Bacterial growth along the gumline
- Development of cysts around the wisdom tooth
- Nearby teeth or the surrounding jaw bone getting damaged, too
When to Remove Your Wisdom Tooth
If you experience any of the following symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist to gauge whether you need a wisdom tooth extraction soon:
- You are having a hard time opening your mouth
- Your gums are swollen or red
- Your gums are tender and bleeding
- You experience pain or swelling around the jaw
Your dentist is the only person who can tell you whether you need to get an extraction. They often recommend a tooth extraction given the following conditions:
- When the wisdom tooth already causes the patient pain or when it causes further damages to the other teeth
- When the tooth is impacted, and its roots are almost one-third or two-thirds formed (waiting until the tooth is already full-grown may lead to more complications)
The Pain After
There is nothing to fear about wisdom tooth surgery. During the extraction, you will not feel anything because of the anesthesia. Most people experience discomfort and pain for three to four days after the surgery. To manage this, your dentist will ask you to take pain medication.
You should also expect some bleeding as you recover. Your dentist will also provide you with gauze you can bite on to control it.
Only a dentist or an oral surgeon can perform a wisdom tooth extraction, especially for those with an impacted tooth. If you are nervous or have more questions about the procedure, do not hesitate to call your dentist. Your dentist will orient you on the dos and don’ts before and after the extraction, so you only need to come prepared.
Are you having your wisdom tooth extraction soon? If you are looking for a dentist in Marietta you can trust, book an appointment with us. We are a team of highly trained clinicians and dentists committed to maintaining excellence in all our dental services. Contact us to learn more.