Similar to getting braces, wisdom teeth removal seems to be a right of passage for young adults throughout the United States. These teeth can cause pain and prevent the ability to properly clean your mouth. So, wisdom teeth are commonly removed when the need arises. In this article, we will take a look at what you should know before having your wisdom teeth pulled.
Why do we have wisdom teeth?
Similar to our appendix, wisdom teeth are the vestiges of our early days of existence. These teeth begin to grow in our jaws at around the age of 7 and push through from teenage years all the way through adulthood. It is thought that wisdom teeth (known by dentists as third molars) would grow in to replace lost molars worn down from a harder diet. Nowadays, however, with softer diets and routine dental care, this replacement purpose is largely unneeded. Wisdom teeth can also cause overcrowding in the mouth, resulting in the need for removal.
Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Some of us will be able to keep our wisdom teeth, as we naturally have enough space in our jaw for these third molars to grow in. However, the majority of people do not have this space, resulting in pain and discomfort as the wisdom teeth try to force their way in, which can result in misalignment of existing teeth. Common reasons for removal include:
- wisdom teeth growing in at irregular angles
- wisdom teeth remain partially or completely hidden within the gums (impaction)
- infections of or surrounding the wisdom teeth
- inability to correctly clean the wisdom teeth, resulting in bacteria, cavities, and increased risk to existing teeth
- lack of space for wisdom teeth to grow in
- excessive pain or nerve sensitivity caused by wisdom teeth
- damage to surrounding teeth
Preparing for Removal
Typically, your wisdom teeth will be removed under local anesthetic, though it may be necessary to undergo general anesthesia if your wisdom teeth are difficult to remove. The surgery is quick, and you will be able to go home on the same day, so long as there are no complications (which are rare). Either way, for many of us, wisdom teeth removal is our first experience of a surgical procedure. As it occurs in your mouth, aftercare is important. Therefore, consider making some simple preparations before you arrive to your wisdom teeth removal procedure.
1. Bring a Friend/Parent
Bringing a friend or a parent is a great decision for several reasons. You will have moral support, which will help to reduce your overall anxiety. Most importantly, during the procedure you will be medicated and therefore will not be able to drive yourself home. You may also need to be observed for the rest of the day, depending on the medication given to you at the time of surgery.
2. Keep your Head Raised
After any kind of surgery, you can expect swelling. This is your body’s natural healing response and is completely normal. However, as the surgery is in your facial area, excessive swelling should be prevented where possible. For the following 24 hours after your surgery, you should keep your head raised to allow the fluids to settle away from your head, reducing swelling.
3. Rest Up
As the surgery has taken place in an area with many nerve endings, you are likely to experience some degree of discomfort or pain. You will be given medication to help with pain and should rest and allow your body to heal.
4. Soft Foods
This may sound like common sense, but this can easily be overlooked. Ensure you have a supply of soft foods, such as soups and yogurts to keep you nourished while your heal.
5. Listen to your Dentist
Listen to your dentist’s advice. If you are worried you will forget due to the anesthesia, ask your friend to make a note of instructions. Ensure you take your medication correctly and follow all your dentists recommendations, as they really do know best. If you are worried at any time during your healing, be sure to contact your dentist.
Dental Group of Simi Valley
If you live in or around Simi Valley, CA and have been bothered by your wisdom teeth for some time, or have been advised to undergo surgery, speak to the friendly husband and wife team at the Dental Group of Simi Valley. With over 50 years of experience between them, you will be able to relax, knowing you are in safe and trusted hands.