Do you know why wisdom teeth are called wisdom teeth? Well, it has to do with age and wisdom. According to the American Dental Association, “One major dental milestone that usually takes place between the ages of 17 and 21 is the appearance of your third molars. Historically, these teeth have been called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature age.”
During the late teen years, many Houston dentists recommend having the wisdom teeth removed as a preventative measure. Since you tend to need a few days to recover from wisdom teeth surgery, we recommend trying to schedule the surgery for one of the upcoming school breaks, such as fall break, Thanksgiving, or winter holidays.
What are some reasons why wisdom teeth do not need to be removed?
First, some people don’t have wisdom teeth. Healthline reports, “It’s estimated that anywhere from 5 to 37 percent of people are missing one or more of their third molars.” So, if your Houston dentist doesn’t see wisdom teeth in your dental x-rays, then you don’t have to worry about wisdom teeth surgery.
Additionally, some dentists may choose not to wisdom teeth if they are healthy and have grown in completely without positioning issues or bite issues. Your Houston dentist will also want to make sure you can clean your wisdom teeth well based on their position.
When do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Unfortunately, most people have to have their wisdom teeth removed at their dentist’s recommendation. The American Dental Association explains, “Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there isn’t enough space for them to surface or they come through in the wrong position. If your dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, he or she means they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.”
Here are some of the main signs you need to have your wisdom teeth removed:
- They are impacted (or unable to come through). This can cause pain in your jaw and gums.
- They come in at the wrong angle and are uncomfortable.
- Your dentist can tell your mouth simply isn’t big enough for them.
- You have dental issues, such as cavities or gum disease, and cleaning your wisdom teeth is a problem.
What are some of the problems that wisdom teeth cause?
Houston dentists tend to recommend that wisdom teeth be removed because they cause problems. If you don’t have enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth, not only will it cause your teeth to become misaligned and crooked, but it can also cause painful oral health issues. Here are some of the problems that wisdom teeth cause:
- Tooth pain as the wisdom teeth start to emerge
- Swollen and painful gums
- Cysts in the back of your mouth
- Oral infections
- Cavities (especially true because there may not be enough space around the wisdom teeth to brush or floss properly)
- Shifting teeth
Who removes wisdom teeth?
Depending on your dentist’s qualifications, he or she may be able to remove wisdom teeth in their Houston dental office. However, some dentists refer their patients to oral and maxillofacial surgeons since they can perform IV sedation. These dentists and surgeons are highly trained specialists who perform numerous wisdom teeth surgeries regularly – 10 million wisdom teeth are removed by dentists and oral surgeons each year.
What should you expect before surgery?
Before your wisdom teeth surgery, you will meet with your Houston dentist or oral surgeon to discuss the procedure. Your dentist will explain what will happen and ask you a series of questions regarding your health and medications to ensure you receive the proper care during the procedure. You will also have time to ask any questions you have about the surgery.
What happens during wisdom teeth removal?
The wisdom teeth surgery itself is relatively short and typically takes less than an hour. Your Houston dental practice will make sure you are comfortable and will administer a form of anesthesia (local, IV sedation, or general), so you don’t feel anything during the procedure.
During the procedure, your dental surgeon will remove the wisdom teeth. WebMD explains, “Your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out. If so, he’ll stitch the wounds shut so they heal quickly. […] He may also stuff gauze pads in your mouth to soak up some of the blood.”
What should you expect after surgery?
People respond to anesthesia differently, which is why Houston dentists always recommend having someone come with you to the procedure so they can drive you home. Typically, you won’t feel any pain (especially while the anesthesia is wearing off). Once it wears off, you may experience discomfort and swelling for a few days. During recovery, you will be asked to alternate ice packs and moist heat to the jaw area. You will also need to eat soft foods and take over-the-counter medications for pain and swelling.
How long will it take to recover from wisdom teeth surgery?
How long it takes to recover varies from person to person, but you should expect to need to take a least three days off work or school. According to Healthline, “Wisdom teeth removal is very common, and recovery can take up to a week, depending on your specific case. Recovery may take longer if your wisdom teeth are impacted.” Again, this is why many parents choose to schedule wisdom teeth removal for school breaks.
What are the risks of wisdom teeth removal?
Like all surgeries, there are always risks for complications. Informed Health says, “Nerves and blood vessels can be damaged during the procedure. This can cause bleeding and usually temporary numbness in the tongue or face. In very rare cases serious infections may occur. Up to 1 out of 100 people may have permanent problems as a result of the procedure, such as numbness or damage to nearby teeth.” Discuss the risks with your dentist or oral surgeon beforehand.
Schedule an appointment to discuss your wisdom teeth options with Greenspoint Dental in Houston!