Worried about your emerging wisdom teeth? Many people have their wisdom teeth removed pre-emptively, while others choose to leave them if they’re not causing problems. Here’s everything you need to know about your last few teeth.
What are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?
Your third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to emerge in the back of the mouth. They usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Sometimes, wisdom teeth become impacted, meaning they do not fully emerge from the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth occur when there is not enough space for them to come in properly or when they grow at an angle.
*Individual results may vary
Risks of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If your wisdom teeth become impacted, they can cause significant discomfort and complications. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause a range of problems, such as pain, swelling, infection, damage to neighboring teeth, and even cysts or tumors.
Impacted teeth often cause frequent infections because they irritate the surrounding gums and are difficult to keep clean. Wisdom teeth may also crowd your other teeth. This can damage your healthy teeth or require orthodontic treatments to straighten misaligned teeth later.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
Because of the risks associated with impacted wisdom teeth, many dentists recommend removing your wisdom teeth even if they aren’t impacted. Though the teeth may not be causing immediate problems, they are more difficult to remove later. Over time, the roots of wisdom teeth grow longer, and your jawbone becomes denser. Having your wisdom teeth removed has greater risks of complications as you get older.
For these reasons, people often have their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens or early 20s. Dr. Sonneveld can evaluate whether your wisdom teeth may cause problems later on through X-rays.
How Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Work?
Wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure that typically takes less than an hour. You’ll be given local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia, so you won’t feel any pain and will likely sleep through the entire surgery. Dr. Sonneveld will cut out a section of the tooth to access the root and may divide the tooth into pieces that are easier to remove. Stitches in the gums may be necessary for optimal healing.
What to Expect After Wisdom Tooth Extraction
You may feel drowsy, nauseous, or dizzy from the anesthesia when you wake up, so you’ll need someone to drive you home. Swelling and discomfort are normal, and you may not be able to open your mouth fully. You’ll need to eat only liquids and soft foods for a few days. Dr. Sonneveld will give you instructions regarding pain medications, using gauze, and what to expect during recovery. Most people resume work and regular activities within a few days.
Take the Next Step
If you have further questions about impacted wisdom teeth, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at Faces Fort Worth. Call us at (817) 927-1818 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to taking care of you.