Am I getting wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars which can appear when you are in your late teens or early twenties. They are your final set of molars and most adults have four, although some people have more than four which are called supernumerary teeth. Other people may actually have less.
Wisdom teeth are vestigial third molars believed to have been needed by humans long ago in crushing plant tissue. Back during prehistoric times, the human jaw is said to have been much larger and able to accommodate 32 teeth. As our diets evolved over time, so did the human mouth.
How do I know when wisdom teeth are coming in?
Unfortunately, wisdom teeth have a tendency to wreak havoc as they develop. Because of space constraints, they can come in sideways and/or damage other teeth as they erupt. You may or may not feel your wisdom teeth coming in, but when the tooth becomes impacted and infected, you may experience the following symptoms:
- Mouth pain
- Tender, red, bleeding or swollen gums
- Swollen jaw
- Bad breath
- Unusual taste in mouth
Should my wisdom teeth should be removed?
When properly aligned, wisdom teeth can be an asset to the mouth. However, when they start positioning themselves horizontally or are misaligned, your mouth can become overcrowded and the teeth can cause jaw and/or nerve pain and infection. Partial eruption also allows for bacteria to penetrate around the tooth and could cause infection. In addition, teeth not fully erupted are harder to brush and floss which makes them prone to tooth decay and gum disease.
Your dentist can evaluate the development of your wisdom teeth using an x-ray. If it looks like you may need to have them removed, he or she may refer you to an oral surgeon for further review.
How are wisdom teeth removed?
Sometimes wisdom tooth extraction is recommended before problems develop. Completing the procedure early can help you avoid a more complicated extraction later down the road. In addition, it is often easier to remove wisdom teeth when the roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense.
The extent of oral surgery you need will depend on the location of the tooth and number of teeth in question. Typically, the teeth and surrounding tissue are numbed with a local anesthetic and a sedative. You and your dentist or oral surgeon can decide whether you need an oral sedative, such as Valium, and intravenous sedative, or nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas.
While you will most likely experience some pain, swelling and maybe some bleeding following the surgery, you should be feeling better within four to seven days. Recovery time depends mostly on how badly your wisdom teeth were impacted and if they were infected. Of course, precautions must be taken not to dislodge the blood clot or harm your healing gums with solid foods.
Please contact Cambridge Family Dentistry for a free consultation if you have any questions or concerns about wisdom teeth.
Please contact us by calling:
(316) 687-2110 or toll-free (877) 687-2110.
We look forward to meeting you.
The Cambridge Family Dentistry clinic is located at 2020 N. Webb Road in Wichita, Kansas