When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

All about wisdom tooth removal

Everything You Need to Know About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom tooth removal is something many patients must go through during their adolescence or early adulthood. It’s a common procedure but is often among the most invasive dental procedures a patient will have in their lifetime. 

It’s natural to have some questions about wisdom tooth removal. Read on to get answers about the mechanics of wisdom teeth and why it’s often best to take them out.

What are wisdom teeth, and why do we have them?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that most adults develop between the ages of 17 and 21. Molars are the back teeth, or jaw teeth, that we use to mash and chew up food to get it ready for swallowing.

All of a person’s teeth are present at birth and erupt at different stages of life. First, the baby teeth grow in and fall out to make room for permanent teeth. The majority of people have all four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom. However, some individuals simply don’t have some or all of these teeth.

In prehistory, people had diets full of much tougher and harder foods. This made having a third set of molars an advantage. Today, wisdom teeth don’t provide many benefits and can even become a problem.

Why do so many people need wisdom tooth removal?

Millions of wisdom tooth extractions happen every year. The fact of the matter is modern humans generally don’t have enough room in their mouths for that many teeth. As the wisdom teeth erupt, they can impact other molars, pushing them out of place and causing tooth pain.

Many people believe that harsher diets led to increased jaw growth that naturally allowed for more space in prehistoric humans’ mouths. As agriculture and cooking began to take hold, softer foods became more common. 

Now, most humans are left with teeth they have neither use nor room for, and wisdom tooth removal is often their best option.

When’s the right time to have my wisdom teeth removed?

Only a dentist can tell you when the right time to have your wisdom teeth removed is. While the most common age range for removal is between 17 and 25, this can vary widely among individuals. Some can have their wisdom teeth removed as early as 14 or even as late as 30.

If you’re keeping up with regular dental checkups, your dentist will be able to identify the need for wisdom tooth extraction based on your X-rays. Impacted teeth can be visually identified using the same X-rays that check for cavities and other issues.

There are also some symptoms that can indicate the need for wisdom tooth removal. Reach out to a dentist for a closer look if you notice signs, like:

  • Pain in your jaw
  • Swelling in the jaw or gums
  • Sinus problems
  • Inflammation or infection
  • Earaches or headaches
  • Difficulty chewing

Ideally, you should keep up with regular dental checkups to quickly identify any issues. Those who don’t visit the dentist regularly should take extra care to watch for symptoms and seek help as soon as they notice anything.

What is the wisdom tooth removal procedure like?

The wisdom tooth extraction process is carried out under either local or general anesthesia. You will likely need to arrange a drive home after the procedure due to the anesthesia. The dentist will go over all of this ahead of your procedure to ensure you have a thorough understanding of what your treatment will entail.

In most cases, wisdom tooth extraction is carried out at the dentist’s office. However, some patients could have complicating factors. In more serious cases, a surgical approach may be required, and this could mean performing the procedure at a hospital.

If the wisdom tooth has completely erupted, then the tooth removal can proceed much like any other. This will involve simply pulling the tooth out with specialized dental tools.

In general, wisdom teeth are only partially erupted and require additional steps. The dentist will cut the gums to expose the tooth. They may need to remove some bone as well. With impacted teeth, cutting the tooth into pieces may be necessary for removal. Once the tooth is removed, the dentist will clean the site and stitch it up.

You may be prescribed pain relievers or antibiotics following the procedure. You should also avoid any vigorous activity for two to three days, depending on your dentist’s instructions.

Meeting All of Your Dental Needs in Flower Mound, Texas

Whether you’re looking for a dentist to handle your regular checkups and cleanings or need to make an appointment for a particular issue, River Walk Dental is your top choice for a dentist in Flower Mound, TX. 

Contact us today to make an appointment and get started with your care.

River Walk Dental

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