By the age of 12 or 13, most people will already have two sets of molars, the big chewing teeth in the back of the mouth. However, there is often a third set of one to four molars still under the gumline. Commonly called wisdom teeth, these are the very last of the adult teeth to grow into place, erupting sometime between the ages of 16-26.
While many people never have any problems with the eruption of their wisdom teeth–some people never even develop them at all–millions of others will, to the point where the teeth need to be extracted.
Wisdom teeth removal (or wisdom teeth extraction) is a common dental procedure that removes some or all of a person’s wisdom teeth, and, at Castle Dental, we have the state-of-the-art facilities and expert staff needed to make your wisdom teeth removal fast, easy, and affordable. When it comes to wisdom teeth, trust the Castle Dental professionals for exceptional customer service and an unbeatable standard of care.
Since they come in so much later than all the other adult teeth, when the jaw is nearly fully developed and there is very little room, wisdom teeth can disrupt already well-established teeth and cause severe pain. In these situations, a dentist or oral surgeon may suggest having some or all of the wisdom teeth removed to maintain a proper smile and smile, as well as good dental health.
The development and eruption of wisdom teeth looks different for every person, and some people do not need to have their wisdom teeth removed at all. However, only a dentist or oral surgeon, with the help of x-rays and an oral exam, can determine whether or not wisdom teeth should be extracted.
Every patient and situation is unique, so while these are common problems caused by wisdom teeth, there could be others or even a combination of these that warrants their extraction.
Every person’s experiences with wisdom teeth are unique, so it is difficult to determine a specific list of symptoms that suggest the need for wisdom teeth removal. For many people, jaw or tooth pain– sometimes resulting in ear aches or headaches–are a common sign the wisdom teeth may be causing problems. There may also be a change in bite, a foul taste or bad breath, and consistent sinus issues.
Only a dental professional can determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary. If you or your child are nearing the late teens to early 20s in age, it’s a good idea to schedule a consultation with a dentist to discuss wisdom teeth and recommendations for future treatment.
Regular exams and checkups with a dentist can also be helpful in determining whether or not you need wisdom teeth extracted. Often times, the x-rays and cleanings performed at routine appointments give the dentist an opportunity to identify warning signs or potential problems in the wisdom teeth before they become painful or difficult to remove.
Wisdom teeth removal is considered oral surgery because the dentist or oral surgeon has to make an incision in the gums to extract the tooth. While individual procedures will vary slightly, most wisdom teeth extractions consist of:
At the conclusion of the procedure, the dentist will have you bite down on gauze or cotton where the wisdom teeth were removed. The pressure from biting down helps the blood to clot in this area, creating a barrier against bacteria and helping the incision site to heal.
Having some symptoms after wisdom teeth extraction is normal, especially since it is a surgical procedure, but symptoms will vary from patient to patient.
A dry socket occurs when the blood clot created during the wisdom teeth removal procedure moves or breaks apart. When the clot moves, the bones and nerve endings at the incision site are exposed. Not only does this create additional opportunities for bacteria and infection, but it also can cause pain, fever, and additional swelling. Dry sockets are common because it is easy for the blood clot to become dislodged, but they are a complication that needs to be addressed and treated promptly by a dentist.
Post-surgery experiences differ for each individual so referencing the after procedure care information provided by the dentist is vital. Having a safe driver to take the patient home and care for them after the surgery is highly suggested and in some cases mandatory. Mild to moderate pain and bleeding are normal after the removal of wisdom teeth, as well as reactions to transitioning off of the pain medication and sedation anesthesia. Swelling, bruising, and a slur or difficulty speaking are also common, sometimes lasting days after the procedure. For these reasons, resting, icing tender areas, following pain management suggestions as needed, and limiting or reducing activity up to a week after the procedure is suggested.
Post-procedure oral care after wisdom teeth removal will look a little different than that after other treatments like fillings, primarily because it is important to maintain the blood clot created in the incision area. The possibility of tenderness, stitches, bleeding, swelling, and bruising makes oral care after this surgery a concern for many patients, so you may limit brushing or rinsing for a full day after surgery. After these 24 hours, you can gently resume your oral hygiene routine, making sure to be cautious around the incision site and softly swishing a mixture of warm saltwater h every two hours or after eating to keep the area clean and minimize swelling.
Eating and drinking can be difficult or uncomfortable for a short period after the wisdom teeth are removed. The blood clot created by biting down on cotton or gauze during the surgery is important to maintain, so drinking with a straw is highly discouraged because the suction created from the straw can move the blood clot from the incision site. Choosing water over other beverages, such as those that are alcoholic, carbonated, or hot, is important in keeping the site clean. Softer, more neutral foods will be easier to eat and better tolerated by the incision site than hard or spicy foods, minimizing irritation. It’s also important to refrain from smoking or chewing tobacco for at least a week, if not longer, for both the procedure and overall health.
Every person heals differently after this procedure; however, any sign of infection, such as excessive pain, fever, or drainage is not normal after surgery. If any of these symptoms arise, it’s important to contact the dentist or oral surgeon as soon as possible to assess if there is bacteria or infection within the incision site.
Most dental insurance plans will cover some or all of the cost of your wisdom teeth removal, but the exact cost can vary.
If you do not have insurance, Castle Dental offers several options for helping you afford treatment like wisdom teeth extraction. In addition to accepting CareCredit, we also provide low-interest financing, flexible payment plans, and the OneSmile Dental Plan.
A lifetime of good oral health takes teamwork, and Castle Dental is here with all of the general, specialty, and cosmetic dentistry services you and your family need to keep your smile healthy and beautiful for years, including wisdom teeth removal. Find your nearest Castle Dental location and schedule an appointment today!