For many people, wisdom tooth removal is the first surgery they ever undergo. Some people even consider the procedure to be a rite of passage into adulthood. But is it even really necessary to get your wisdom teeth removed? If it is necessary, what can you expect during and after your treatment? Let’s talk about these important questions.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction — Is It Really Necessary?
The answer to the question “Is wisdom tooth removal necessary?” varies from person to person. Some individuals can retain their wisdom teeth for a lifetime and suffer no negative consequences because of it. More often, however, these third molars pose a threat to a person’s oral health. Some of the issues they can cause include:
- When the wisdom teeth erupt, there might not be enough room in the mouth to accommodate them. They may push neighboring teeth out of alignment.
- Poor oral hygiene. Because the wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth, it may be difficult to clean them properly.
- When wisdom teeth are only partially erupted, there is a greater risk that they will become infected.
During regular checkups, your dentist will examine your wisdom teeth and let you know if it looks like they are causing problems for you or may cause problems in the future. Then, you can make an informed decision about whether to get them removed.
Timing Your Wisdom Tooth Removal
Most people who have their wisdom teeth removed get the procedure done sometime between the ages of 17 and 24. This is the ideal window because 17 is the average age when the roots of wisdom teeth are at least two-thirds developed, which makes them easier to remove. 24 is the upper end of the age range because as a person grows older, the roots of the teeth become more fully developed, and the risk of complications from the extraction surgery increases.
The Extraction Process
Your dentist will do their best to make sure you don’t feel a thing during your surgery; your mouth will be numb, and you will be sedated. Once you’re nice and relaxed, the dentist will begin the extraction process. This may require making an incision in the gums or breaking the wisdom teeth into pieces in order to make the removal process a bit easier.
You should plan to take at least three or four days off of work or school after you get your wisdom teeth removed. You may bleed for the first 30 minutes or so after the surgery, and then you can expect your mouth to be sore for a week or so. However, as long as you stick to eating soft foods, get plenty of rest, and take painkillers as needed, you shouldn’t be in any extreme discomfort.
Wisdom tooth extraction is a common procedure that is nothing to be afraid of. If you need to have your third molars removed, simply trust your dentist, follow their advice for recovery, and look forward to having a healthier mouth.
About the Author
Dr. Tim Stirneman has been working in dentistry for nearly 30 years. His has extensive experience in oral surgery, including wisdom tooth removal. If you have questions about your wisdom teeth or other oral health concerns, contact our office at 847-854-7645.