Wisdom Teeth Extractions - Pros and Cons

Wisdom teeth usually arrive during our adolescence, and just like teenagers, they can sometimes cause a little trouble!

Our doctors at PearlFection Dentistry in Frederick Maryland and Urbana Maryland, see a lot of teeth and we answer a lot of questions about when is it recommended to get wisdom teeth removed.

Some folks go through their entire life with wisdom teeth in place and have no trouble, but wisdom teeth often create issues later in life so it is usually recommended that they be extracted and certainly they should be extracted if they begin creating dental pain or get infected. Also, it is usually easier to extract wisdom teeth, and patients experience less complications, if they have the procedure done earlier in their life. Wisdom teeth often get harder to extract later in life.

Complications are commonplace with wisdom teeth; symptoms include failure to fully erupt through the gum bed, the teeth becoming impacted or cause other teeth to shift out of alignment. Wisdom teeth can actually damage other teeth and cause major discomfort. In some cases, orthodontic treatment can be required to correct shifted teeth.

To avoid pain, infections and teeth alignment issues your dentist may recommend a wisdom teeth removal procedure called an extraction or third molar extraction. This procedure is best performed by a board certified oral surgeon with advanced training is the surgical removal of teeth and the skills required to deal with complications. Remember, all dentists in the State of Maryland are licensed to remove wisdom teeth the day they graduate from dental school. They have probably done some wisdom teeth extractions under the supervision of a faculty member at school. Oral surgeons, in addition to having done dental school have gone on to additional years of training to learn how to extract the most difficult teeth and have likely extracted thousands of wisdom teeth. Ask yourself, who would you rather extract your wisdom teeth?

Not everyone will require surgical removal of wisdom teeth. If you suspect your wisdom teeth are causing you pain or you suspect you may have a wisdom tooth infection you should set up an appointment for a consultation at Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick Maryland or Urbana, Maryland. One of our oral surgeons can meet with you, look at the xrays and determine a good course of action.

Many folks get their wisdom teeth extracted in their late teens or early 20s. It’s wise to address issues with your wisdom teeth early when your gums are young and healthy and will heal quickly. If you wait, it is likely that you will notice problems and pain when your body is run down due to some life event, like a cold or stress.

- Learn more about Wisdom Teeth

We start teething in our infancy and revisit the process in our late teens or early adult life, when our so called ‘wisdom” teeth emerge.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are an additional set of molars that generally arrive between the ages of 17-21 and are generally considered to be ‘vestigial’ or excess to requirement from an evolutionary perspective. The anthropological view is that the third molars were used to provide the extra grinding power our ancestors needed to break down predominantly raw, unprocessed food but this doesn’t explain why they arrive so long after childhood. Put simply, oral hygiene is a relatively modern concept. Our ancestors were likely to lose teeth at an earlier age, so the arrival of an additional set of molars later in life may have evolved to assist survival. Not everyone gets their wisdom teeth. In some people, only two will emerge, in others four. When wisdom teeth do erupt, they are located at the far back of the mandible (lower) and maxilla (upper) jaw. Modern man has a much smaller jaw than our ancestors and this means there may not be enough room in the mouth to accommodate the wisdom teeth. They may fail to erupt or only partially erupt, which is sometimes referred to as having ‘impacted’ molars. Partial eruption can leave the soft tissue around the tooth exposed to bacterial build up, crowding or movement of other teeth, the formation of cysts and more rarely, tumours.

Symptoms of Adult Teething

In the first instance, teething often proves as painful for teens as it does for tots. The size of the wisdom teeth and the lack of room in the mouth mean it can sometimes take a long time for the teeth to come through. Inflammation of the gums at the back of the jaw can make it painful to chew. There may be increased sensitivity to hot or cold and pressure on surrounding teeth can refer pain into other parts of the face and jaw, resulting in ear ache, headache and a sore throat.

Treating Wisdom Teeth

As wisdom teeth are excess to requirement and their presence can cause complications, it is common for dentists to recommend the removal of wisdom teeth.

How much will Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost?

The cost for having wisdom teeth removed can vary between different areas and dental practitioners. But it can get expensive, if teeth are impacted and need special procedures to come out. Sometimes medical insurance will pay for wisdom teeth extraction and sometimes dental insurance will pay. Make sure you ask your insurance carrier if they pay for wisdom teeth extractions and under what conditions.

When making enquiries with a dentist, it is important to find out more information than simply the cost. Find out their approach, what kind of x-rays they’ll take, and their approach to numbing the pain of the removal and if they offer sedation dentistry. Are they a board certified oral surgeon or just a general dentist? How many extractions do they do weekly? And of course, read on line reviews.

Post-Care – Wisdom Teeth Removal

After wisdom teeth removal, you will need to take some care to ensure you recover smoothly. Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of wisdom teeth recovery, whether you have one, two, three or all four teeth removed.

Immediately following your surgery you will need to take special care not to disturb the surgical area. You should ensure you rest so your body can have a chance to heal. Follow any doctor recommendations.

Food and drink

Make sure you drink plenty of water after surgery, although it is best to avoid using a straw as this can dislodge the blood clot that would have formed in the socket. Although it is essential to remain hydrated, try to stick to water for the first 24 hours and avoid drinking alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot drinks. It is important to eat after surgery, although you will need to stick to soft foods for at least the first 24 hours. Once you feel you can tolerate them, you can move on to semisoft foods. Hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods should be avoided as they can irritate the wound or become stuck in the socket.

Smoking and spitting

You should avoid smoking as this can slow healing and increase the chances of developing dry socket, which is a painful infection of the extraction socket. It is essential to avoid this in the first 24 hours at least – and longer, if possible. Sucking on lollies or straws and spitting can also remove the blood clot essential to a good recovery, so you should take care to avoid these actions, too.

Cleaning your teeth

Follow your doctor's advise here. But generally you will need to avoid cleaning your teeth at least for the first 24 hours. Don’t brush, rinse or spit. After the first 24 hours are over, you can gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours or so and after meals. Your salt water mix can be made by mixing half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of lukewarm water. Your surgeon may give you a special mouthwash or paste.

Pain management

Your oral surgeon or dentist may provide you with a prescription for pain medication, which can include over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen. It is important you follow your dentist’s instructions about its use and never abuse pain medication.

Antibiotics

You may be given a course of antibiotics in order to prevent the development of an infection after wisdom teeth removal. It is essential to take these when required and to finish the entire course. Your dentist will be able to provide you with more information.

Like any medical procedure or surgery there are risks. Before proceeding with a surgical or invasive procedure, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

Visit Pearlfection Dentistry in Frederick Maryland or Urbana Maryland or call today and find out if your wisdom teeth need to be extracted

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