Wisdom teeth are your last adult teeth to emerge. They are the furthest back in the mouth and can cause many problems, particularly if there is not enough room or they come in misaligned. Before you head to the dentist, here’s some information, so you know what to expect.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
In your late teens or early twenties, your third, final set of molars typically come in. These teeth—typically four of them—are commonly referred to as "wisdom teeth" because you get them at a more mature age.
Why Remove Them?
Wisdom teeth often emerge wrong at an angle. They may also only come partially through your gums or be impacted (trapped in soft tissue or your jawbone). When they don’t come through properly, they can damage adjacent teeth, cause infection, jaw stiffness, tooth decay, gum disease, pain, or other issues.
If you experience swelling or discomfort with your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment with your dental office. The dentist will take x-rays and examine them to determine whether to remove or monitor them.
What's Involved In an Extraction?
Your doctor may recommend the extraction of your wisdom teeth. If wisdom teeth are already fully through the gums, they can remove the teeth with a simple extraction. A dentist will loosen your tooth with a tool, and pull it with forceps. However, impacted wisdom teeth require oral surgery where professionals make incisions in the gums and remove bone to get the teeth out. The doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb the area, and perhaps also laughing gas or a sedative medication if you have anxiety.
After professionals remove the tooth, gauze will be used in the socket to stop the bleeding. Professionals recommend that you don’t rinse, spit, or suck for 24 hours after the extraction so the wound can heal. Your dentist may also tell you to avoid hot liquids and eat only soft foods. They may prescribe pain medication and antibiotics.
If you are having problems with your wisdom teeth, contact Susan Kleier, DMD in Lexington, KY. Since 1987, Dr. Kleier and her staff have provided extractions, teeth cleanings, and exams. This professional, compassionate practice also offers affordable periodontal, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services. Call (859) 225-1188 to make an appointment, or visit the office’s website for more information.