Getting your wisdom teeth removed can seem scary, but when your dentist recommends this just know that it’s in the best interest of your dental health. As you prepare to have your wisdom teeth removed, you may have some questions. We want to help set your mind at ease by answering some of the frequently asked questions you might have about wisdom teeth and their removal.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third, and last, set of molars. They usually erupt, or come in, during young adulthood between the ages of 18 and 22. Not everyone has the same amount of wisdom teeth though. Some people have two or four wisdom teeth and some people don’t have any at all.
Do my wisdom teeth need to be removed?
This is a heavily debated topic. Not all wisdom teeth cause problems, and therefore not all wisdom teeth would need to be removed. Eight-five percent of wisdom teeth do end up needing to be removed though. You may be in that 15% that don’t but to some, the risk is too great to take that chance.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth need to be removed for a few different reasons. Your mouth and jaw may be too small to accommodate them so when they start to grow in they cause crowding and are impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth can break through the gums but will not grow in completely. This can cause bleeding, infection, and pain. When you get an infected tooth, the infection can also spread to other parts of your body and become very serious. Having your wisdom teeth removed can help prevent these types of infections.
When should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
Most dentists recommend removing your wisdom teeth when they start to break through your gums. Sometimes though they are impacted and don’t erupt. Your dentist will be able to read the x-rays and diagnose if you have wisdom teeth and can give you a recommendation on when or if they should be removed. Generally this will take place between 18 and 22 years old, but often takes place earlier or later depending on your development.
Will I be awake for the procedure?
You and your dentist can make this decision together based on how well you handle pain and how anxious you are. If you are awake you will have local anesthesia where the doctor will be working to keep your mouth numb and prevent any pain. If you choose to be put under general anesthesia, you will be put under and brought back to consciousness when the procedure is over.
How long is the recovery?
There are several different factors that affect recovery, including age, the number of teeth you had removed, and care that is taken afterwards. Generally, your recovery could be from three to seven days. Most people are able to return to work after a day or two.
What is dry socket and how can I prevent it?
Dry socket is a condition where the blood clot over the wound either doesn’t form or is somehow dislodged. When that clot isn’t there, it causes pain and can take longer to heal. Here are a few tips for preventing dry socket:
- Avoid smoking and using tobacco for at least 48 hours
- Eat only soft foods the first day after your surgery
- Keep your mouth clean and follow your dentist’s instructions for care afterwards
Your dentist will provide you with instructions and tips to take the best care of your teeth and prevent complications following your procedure.
How much does it cost to have your wisdom teeth removed?
The cost of wisdom teeth removal varies depending on your insurance coverage, the number of teeth you have removed, and what form of anesthesia you receive.