For most of us, wisdom teeth are evolutionary hold-overs that create more problems than they are worth. Wisdom tooth extraction is commonly recommended for patients in their late teens or early twenties; keep reading to learn more from our St Louis wisdom tooth dentists…
To quickly review, your wisdom teeth are your third set of molars that emerge along your top and bottom gum line. For most of us, these teeth emerge in our late teens, though it’s possible for this process to happen later.
The problem for most of us is that we don’t have sufficient spaces along our top and bottom jaws to accommodate additional teeth. Consequently, wisdom teeth can put pressure on our existing smiles, and create misalignment and discomfort. It is also common for wisdom teeth to emerge at irregular angles; these teeth may stick out horizontally or diagonally, for example. For all of these reasons wisdom tooth removal is recommended for most patients.
The removal process varies from patient to patient, but the primary consideration is whether a patient’s wisdom teeth have erupted above the gum line. If these teeth are accessible above the jaw and gum tissue, we may be able to simply pull them, in much of the same way we’d pull a normal tooth.
However, many people have impacted wisdom teeth, which are stuck in the jawbone tissue, and thus difficult to access. In these cases, you’ll benefit from surgical extraction; your dentist will open the gum and bone tissue to retrieve problematic teeth.
Once your wisdom teeth have been removed, you want to maintain a clean oral environment so that your smile can heal. As much as possible, you want to avoid touching or disrupting the surgical site. It is also important that you refrain from vigorously rinsing/gargling your mouth, as well as using straws.
You can use icy compresses as well as prescribed pain medications to minimize discomfort.
Your dental team will give you a rough idea of how long you should expect to experience side effects of wisdom tooth removal; it’s generally around two weeks. If you are not noticing that your mouth does not seem to be healing, or if the swelling is only getting worse day after day, you should reach out to your dentist for additional guidance and support.
If you are looking for additional information about living with wisdom teeth, or having them extracted, our St. Louis wisdom tooth dentists are here to help. Schedule your personal consultation by phone or by using the Contact Us page on our website!