Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth can be a source of pain and irritation, as they often grow in at an angle, pushing against the other teeth and causing them to shift. In some cases, wisdom teeth may even need to be removed. In this article, we will look at some of the various wisdom teeth removal signs to look for.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth, or molars, are the backmost teeth in the mouth. They usually erupt during the late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth can cause problems if they become impacted, which means they do not have enough room to grow into your mouth properly.
Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, infection, and damage to nearby teeth. Wisdom teeth that are not extracted can also lead to gum disease, sensitivity to hot/cold, infection, pain, and tooth loss.
The best thing for you to do is to consult with a dentist about it proactively. Your dentist can check for potential problems before they occur. That will likely save you time, pain, money, and maybe even some of your teeth. Most of the time, it is best to have your wisdom teeth removed in your late teens or early twenties.
For these reasons, many people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed. The wisdom tooth extraction process is typically performed by an oral surgeon, and most people recover from the procedure without any complications.
How do I know if I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
In some cases, it may already be too late for you. Let’s take a look at some of the wisdom teeth removal signs to look for:
- Cysts: Essentially, a cyst is a fluid filled sac. It can start to develop if wisdom teeth are not removed in a timely manner. They are a strong indication of wisdom teeth needing to be removed.
- Headache or jaw pain: This can be caused by wisdom teeth pushing against the other teeth or the jawbone. If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed, this could be the cause.
- Fever: This is usually a sign of infection. If you have wisdom teeth that are impacted or not removed, they can become infected.
- Painful, inflamed, or irritated gums: If you are experiencing this symptom and have not had your wisdom teeth removed, there could be a link.
- Stiffness, pain, or weakness in your jawbone: This wisdom teeth removal sign is more common if you have an impacted wisdom tooth. The wisdom tooth can put pressure on the surrounding jawbone, causing these symptoms.
- Overcrowding: If you notice that your teeth are starting to feel overcrowded, it could be because of your wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth don’t often fit in everyone’s mouth properly.
- Sensitivity: One of the symptoms of wisdom teeth needing to be removed is that they make the rest of your teeth or mouth extra sensitive to hot/cold.
- Sinus pressure: If you have wisdom teeth, they can push against your sinuses and create pressure as they start to come in.
What to expect with wisdom teeth surgery
If you have wisdom teeth that need to be removed, your dentist might refer you to an oral surgeon. Especially if your case is particularly complex or difficult.
X-rays will be needed to help them understand what to expect and how to prepare for a successful surgery. Sedation options will also be discussed.
Wisdom teeth removal is often performed under the following:
- Local anesthetic
- IV sedation
- General anesthetic
Once the sedation meds have been administered, the dentist or oral surgeon will make small incisions in your gums to access the wisdom teeth.
The wisdom teeth are then removed in sections. The oral surgeon will take care to preserve as much of your healthy tooth structure as possible while also ensuring that the entire wisdom tooth is removed.
After the wisdom teeth have been removed, dissolvable stitches are placed in the incisions. If you were sedated, you will need to have an escort to drive you home following surgery.
After the surgery
You will be given post-operative instructions and pain medication to help you through the recovery process.
Most people recover from wisdom teeth surgery without any complications. However, it is important to follow your post-operative instructions from your dentist carefully to reduce your risk for problems.
It is important to get plenty of rest and avoid strenuous activity after wisdom teeth removal surgery. You should also take any meds prescribed by your dentist.
Be cautious not to brush teeth or swish your mouth too aggressively. You should also avoid sucking from a straw or using tobacco products. It is usually a good idea to eat softer foods and avoid any foods that are hard, crunchy, or could irritate the extraction site at all.
Ice cream, eggs, pasta, rice, yogurt/smoothies, and soups are generally good types of food to consume in the days following surgery.
Most people fully recover from surgery within a few weeks. However, it is important to monitor your mouth for any signs of infection or other problems.
Common side effects from wisdom tooth extraction
Most wisdom teeth extractions are successful. However, there is always a risk when you have surgery. With wisdom teeth removal, some side effects are:
- Loss of bone or other teeth
- Dry Socket
Following your post care instructions for wisdom teeth removal will lower your chances of complications.