How to Know If You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Do I Absolutely Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

May 23, 2017

Merion Village

Categories: Dentistry FAQs

It’s a question we all face – do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed? The short answer is likely yes.

While having one’s wisdom teeth removed is not always necessary, it almost always makes sense to have the procedure completed. Understanding what wisdom teeth are is one of the first steps in making the decision, along with talking with your dentist.

Wisdom Teeth – the Basics

Wisdom teeth are the third and back-most set of molars, which usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Most adults have four of them; some people are born without them, and occasionally someone has more than four.

Wisdom teeth often become impacted as they develop, necessitating their removal. About 5 million people have wisdom teeth removed each year, making it a fairly common procedure.

Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Should be Removed

In addition to impacted wisdom teeth, one of the most obvious ways to tell there’s an issue with them is pain. Occasional pain isn’t something to be concerned about, but if you are feeling persistent, moderate-or-worse pain in your molars, jaw, or other teeth, it’s time to see the dentist.

Even without pain, you may notice your wisdom teeth coming in crooked, or that they cause difficulty when eating. If this happens, it’s always best to see your dentist.

When is Removal Necessary?

There are several instances where wisdom teeth should be removed, such as:

  • If they are crowding your other teeth and forcing them out of alignment
  • If they are causing significant sinus pressure and pain
  • If cysts begin to form around them, which can damage the jaw and nerves
  • If the surrounding gum tissue is becoming inflamed and sore
  • If tooth or jaw pain has become insistent and unbearable

You will be able to recognize some of these symptoms on your own, while others may take an inspection from your dentist to be noticed. This is one more reason why regular dental appointments are so important.

Are There Complications of Wisdom Teeth Removal?

If a wisdom tooth has already erupted from the gums, it can be removed just as easily as any other tooth. If it is impacted, it takes a bit more work.

Despite wisdom teeth removal being considered a major surgery, it’s a rather simple and quick process, taking anywhere from 1-2 hours. Complications can arise from their removal, but it’s typically a seamless operation, getting you back on your feet in no time.

It’s important to note that anesthesia is used in most cases, so you’ll feel a little loopy after the surgery, and you’ll need someone to help you get home safely.

How Long Does it Take to Recover from Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Immediately following the surgery, you’ll still feel the effects of the anesthetic. You’ll likely experience some pain and swelling, and maybe slight bleeding. This is normal. You’ll be given medication to help ease the pain of recovery and we’ll recommend that you use an ice pack to reduce the swelling— in most cases, you’ll feel much better after 24-48 hours.

While your mouth is healing, it’s important to be extremely diligent in following the directions your dentist provides you. For example, using a straw or smoking could cause a dry socket to form, which can be quite painful. You shouldn’t consume solid food, hot beverages, soda, coffee, and other items for the few days following surgery. Softer foods, like yogurt, applesauce, cottage cheese, etc. will be your best option to ensure your mouth heals properly.

Ultimately, it depends on the patient, but usually full recovery takes just 3-4 days.

How Merion Village Dental Can Help

When it’s time for one or more of your wisdom teeth to be removed, our professionals at Merion Village Dental can typically finish the procedure in just one appointment. With sedation services and modern technology, the process is made as comfortable as possible.

If you’re unsure whether or not your wisdom teeth need to be removed, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us online, or by calling 614-443-4400.

Learn more about wisdom teeth removal from Merion Village Dental here.

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