Wisdom teeth, despite their name, don’t make you smarter. Essentially, they are your third set of molars. They are referred to as “wisdom teeth” because they usually show up between the ages of 17-25 when we are “wiser.” Our ancestors ate a diet of coarse foods that wore down teeth faster, so the third set of molars were necessary. Over time, our diets became softer and easier to chew. Evolution made wisdom teeth obsolete; so many people today don’t develop them at all. Like your appendix, wisdom teeth are vestigial organs or body parts that no longer serve any function. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that they don’t cause problems.
Is Keeping Wisdom Teeth Possible?
If your wisdom teeth are healthy and fully erupted (grown in completely), there is no need to have them removed. They should also be positioned correctly and provide a proper biting position with their opposing teeth. It is also important to keep them clean as part of your daily dental cleaning process.
Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?
By the time your wisdom teeth make their appearance in adulthood, your other 28 teeth are usually in their place. This does not allow for enough room in your mouth for wisdom teeth to grow properly. Crowding means wisdom teeth may emerge at an angle or get stuck and only emerge part of the way. This is referred to as impacted. You don’t need to get your wisdom teeth removed if they are impacted and not causing any pain or other issues. There’s no proven benefit of removing wisdom teeth when no issues are present.
What Are Some Signs You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed? Is it Unavoidable?
There are many reasons why taking out your wisdom teeth is a good idea. The number one reason is pain. Many individuals only realize they have a problem with wisdom teeth when they experience pain. It can start as a dull ache and escalate to throbbing pain. Note where the pain occurs in your mouth. Pain in the back of your mouth might mean wisdom teeth removal is in your future. Inflamed and swollen gums from impacted teeth can also be painful to the touch.
Erupting wisdom teeth will cause issues with surrounding teeth if there is crowding. Your teeth are in their permanent position, and erupting wisdom teeth cause them to shift. This can result in bite problems, crooked teeth, and increased difficulty keeping your teeth clean and flossed. Wisdom teeth removal helps to reduce the chance of cavities and tooth decay, as well as the need for procedures to straighten teeth.
Teeth erupt from the jaw, so wisdom teeth can also affect your jaw. This includes stiffness, pain, and eventually difficulty opening and closing your mouth. Foregoing wisdom teeth removal can result in cysts forming along these newly erupted molars and damage to surrounding nerves if left untreated.
Because it is all connected, sinuses can also fall victim to erupting wisdom teeth. Sinus pain, pressure, and congestion can all be associated with impacted wisdom teeth. Pay attention to sinus issues when there are no other obvious causes, it might be your wisdom teeth knocking.
When is The Best Time to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed? Is It Safe at 30? Older?
This is one of those circumstances where youth plays in your favor. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons estimates that about 85 percent of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed and recommends this take place when you are a young adult. Individuals who undergo oral surgery at 30 or older have higher risks of complications and a longer healing time than teenagers or those in their early twenties. Ideally, wisdom teeth removal is performed between the ages of 15 to 18 when the roots are not yet completely formed.
What Should I Do Before Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
- Schedule time off school or work. You won’t be running back to the office right after you leave the procedure. Anesthesia can take up to 24 hours to completely wear off, so have a comfortable place to relax and recuperate.
- Have a cold pack and some over-the-counter pain control medication ready to go.
- Don’t eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight the evening before surgery.
- Dress comfortably
- Arrive about 20 minutes early to complete any paperwork such as insurance forms.
- Bring a responsible adult with you to the procedure that can stay and take you home.
What Happens During Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
An experienced professional can make your wisdom teeth removal a quick and painless procedure. You will receive either local anesthesia, IV sedation or general anesthesia. Your provider will make certain your mouth is completely numb before beginning. If you have local anesthetic, you might feel some pressure as the tooth is rocked back and forth during removal. You will have stitches so your wounds heal quickly, and they dissolve within a few days.
What Are Some Rules to Follow After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Here are the top five dos and don’ts following wisdom teeth surgery.
- Use those cold packs on your cheeks to curb swelling.
- For a sore jaw, moist heat is good.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Stay away from carbonated beverages.
- Eat soft foods as instructed like soup or pasta.
- Follow your doctor’s instructions. Call the office if you have a fever, or if your pain or swelling doesn’t get better in a day or so.
- Don’t eat or drink until the numbing medication has worn off.
- Don’t drink really cold or really hot fluids. Your teeth and gums will be more sensitive.
- Don’t drink through a straw.
- Don’t eat crunchy, sticky, or hard foods that might irritate your wounds.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking can slow your healing.
Where Can I Find a Wisdom Teeth Dentist in Roanoke?
For complete and professional oral care, Irby Dentistry is the only name you need to know. In our convenient Southwest Roanoke location, we focus on providing high quality and affordable dental care for patients of all ages. Do you need a wisdom teeth dentist? Call Irby Dentistry today at 540-342-6800. Are you new to the area and want to establish dental care for you and your family? Call Irby Dentistry today at 540-342-6800.
We listen. We care. We are Irby Dentistry.