Wisdom teeth removal procedures are more than just the source of funny videos (usually recorded after an extraction when the patient is loopy) or a normal part of being a teenager. If your dentist recommends a wisdom teeth removal, there are many different reasons that your wisdom teeth may need to come out.
What are the signs that my wisdom teeth need to come out?
Wisdom teeth usually start to come in between the ages of 17 and 25; the exact age is different for everyone. Some people’s wisdom teeth come in without any issue and can stay in without crowding other teeth and causing alignment issues or complications. When wisdom teeth start to grow, it is normal for there to be redness, pain, tenderness, and swelling. However, these uncomfortable symptoms are not reason alone for a wisdom teeth extraction.
In certain situations, the emergence of wisdom teeth can be accompanied by an infection. When an infection occurs, a sac full of pus forms around the tooth (called an abscess). An abscess is usually very painful and may feel like a throbbing toothache. You may also notice a bump, red gums, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, pain that extends to the jaw, sensitivity to hot or cold foods, or tender lymph nodes. Schedule a dentist appointment immediately if you notice any of these symptoms (remember to call, don’t e-mail in cases of an emergency). In extreme cases, an abscess can cause swelling or trouble breathing; visit a doctor immediately if you have either of these serious symptoms.
Why do I need my wisdom teeth removed?
Your dentist may recommend a wisdom tooth removal procedure if the tooth is infected. Another reason for a wisdom teeth extraction is if the wisdom teeth are impacted. When wisdom teeth can’t come in properly because of the jawbone or other teeth, the wisdom teeth get stuck in place (but keep developing). This condition can cause pain, infection, and even lead to cysts. Schedule an appointment with your dentist immediately if you experience pain or numbness, or any symptoms of an infection.
What can I do to make my recovery better after a wisdom teeth removal procedure?
Wisdom tooth extraction is a fairly common dental procedure. As with any other procedure, there can be complications from wisdom teeth removal. These issues can often be minimized by taking these steps for a smooth recovery after the procedure:
- Take a few days off from normal activity to reduce swelling and allow the body to rest.
- Use ice to minimize swelling and replace gauze as often as necessary.
- Prevent dry mouth, a painful complication, by avoiding straws, cigarettes, vigorous swirling of anything in your mouth, and any action that involves too much suction.
- Be gentle when opening your mouth for the first 24 hours (but do so from time to time).
- Be cautious about foods and liquids that could cause problems during recovery, such as popcorn, alcohol, hot liquids, hard foods (chips, nuts, etc.), solid foods, acidic foods, and sticky foods (peanut butter, marshmallows, etc.).
- Eat soft foods after the wisdom teeth extraction such as soup, pudding, mashed potatoes, soft vegetables, gelatin, and smoothies.
- Don’t brush teeth for 24 hours after the wisdom teeth removal procedure. Adjust your brushing technique for a few days and use the mouth rinse your dentist recommends to keep your mouth clean.
- Keep activity light for another 7-14 days after wisdom teeth extraction so you can prevent complications.
- Contact your dentist or oral surgeon immediately if you experience symptoms of any complications, such as excessive bleeding or pain.