All adults will have to deal with wisdom teeth at some point in their lives, and it’s important that you understand how they can impact your oral health. Here are the basic facts you need to know about your wisdom teeth so that you can maintain a great-looking smile and a healthy mouth.
What are wisdom teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the last set of molars you will grow. They are located next to the second molars in the back of the mouth. Because they usually appear no earlier than the age of 15, they have traditionally seen as a way to represent maturity, hence the name. In most people, wisdom teeth do not appear until the 20s, although there are cases of people who grow them even later than that.
Why would I need to have my wisdome teeth removed?
The human jaw is shaped in such a way that many adults don’t have adequate space for these teeth to fit comfortably. If you’re one of these individuals, your wisdom teeth will erupt in painful ways or not at all.
Wisdom teeth are removed for many reasons:
- If they’re causing you pain.
- When they crowd and misalign the rest of your permanent teeth.
- Because they are impacted and cannot erupt.
- If they will cause problems in the future.
Wisdom teeth do not have to cause pain in order to cause problems. In some cases, wisdom teeth may cause infections in soft tissue, cysts that fill with fluid around the tooth, various kinds of gum disease, tumors or the delay the development of your second molars.
Can I keep my wisdom teeth?
Although there are risks involved with impacted or improperly erupted wisdom teeth, fully positioned wisdom teeth can function just fine with no problems. And some people never grow wisdom teeth at all.
If you believe that any oral pain or discomfort you’re experiencing could be caused by your wisdom teeth, your should seek the advice of a dental professional. There are a few things that you may be able to do to care for your wisdom teeth and reduce the initial problems that may occur. And you may not have to have your wisdom teeth removed if you don’t want to.
Optimize your daily oral care regimen to thoroughly clean your back teeth.
- You may need to invest in a specially angled toothbrush to reach around to all parts of your wisdom teeth.
- Make sure that you floss daily around the gum line of all wisdom teeth to remove food and debris that may cause tooth decay.
- If you are experiencing pain during the eruption of a wisdom tooth, you may be able to alleviate some of it with a saltwater rinse.
- Try not to chew with that tooth when you eat and do not drink especially hot or cold liquids.
- Keep fluid off of your back teeth by using a straw when drinking.
- You may also apply an ice pack to your jaw as needed if you experience any swelling.
- Another DIY home remedy for pain relief is to dip a cotton ball into a bit of clove oil and place it directly on the tooth.
If you are having your wisdom teeth removed, there are some important things you should know.
First, make sure that you know what anesthesia will be used on you during the extraction. In many cases, your dentist will be able to use a local anesthetic—just like you would get for a filling or root canal. If your wisdom tooth is still embedded in the surrounding bone, however, you may need to undergo sedation to dull the pain of removal.
If you need more than one wisdom tooth removed, the process will obviously take longer, and your recovery period may also expand. Have a discussion with your dental professional so that you will understand exactly how long you will need to take to recover and what you can expect during recovery.
Finally, you should understand the things you need to do to protect your dental health before and after an extraction. You may be in a recovery period for up to a few months, so it is very important to follow all dental care directives provided by your dental professional. In general, make sure that you do not aggravate the area around the tooth by eating harsh foods or extremely hot and cold liquids. If stitches were applied to the area, there are additional precautions you must take within the first week of their application.