If you’re looking to learn all about wisdom teeth, you’ve come to the right place. This article provides answers to several common questions people have about wisdom teeth.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the mouth’s third set of molars. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), wisdom teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 and 21
. They appear in pairs of two, with two teeth on the top jaw and two on the bottom.
Do We Need Them?
Because they are molars, wisdom teeth serve the purpose of grinding down food—in theory. In practice, they are not essential, according to Healthline.com
. That’s because while humans used to need to crush food like roots, nuts, and leaves with their teeth, cooking techniques and utensils make that much less necessary.
Why Do We Get Them Removed?
Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary if there is not enough room for them in the mouth or if they emerge in the wrong position. An important task for any dentist is to monitor young patients to track the progress of their wisdom teeth.
What If I Don’t Get Them Removed?
Problematic wisdom teeth that are not removed early can cause cascading dental problems later. Additionally, even if they don’t cause problems early on, your dentist should still monitor them.
What Should I Look For?
Patients should be on the lookout for pain, infection, and signs of gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth damage. If you are experiencing any of those symptoms, consult with your Colorado Springs dentist to see if wisdom teeth are the cause. Additionally, your dentist may recommend removing wisdom teeth if it is necessary for braces or another form of care.
What Goes Into the Process?
Wisdom tooth removal is fairly routine. Per the Mayo Clinic
, you will likely go home the same day of the procedure, which will be performed by either your dentist or an oral surgeon. The procedure will involve local, sedation, or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia numbs a particular area, while the other two suppress consciousness. They make the procedure painless but may result in grogginess, so you should make arrangements for a ride home after the procedure.
What Does Recovery Look Like?
You will likely be able to resume typical activities the next day; however, you may experience pain, swelling and bleeding. Stay hydrated and follow your dentist’s instructions on caring for the teeth and jaw. Stick to soft foods until you have recovered. You might receive a prescription for painkillers; if not, over-the-counter drugs can be used for pain. Your dentist can provide specific information on your recovery process, so be sure to ask any questions you may have.