Wisdom Teeth: The What, Why, and Bye!

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Wisdom Teeth: The What, Why, and Bye!

If you haven’t had your wisdom teeth removed, there’s a chance you’ve heard some nasty rumors. Wisdom teeth extraction gets a bad rap in the real world. But, approximately 85% of wisdom teeth get pulled. So what about that one bad story you heard? Put it behind you and get wise to the truth.

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Your wisdom teeth are your third set of molars. They typically erupt between the ages of 16-20 when we are at a more “mature” age, thus the term “wisdom teeth.” If they grow correctly with good alignment, they are helpful for chewing and you’re off the hook for extraction. However, if you feel any pain or discomfort as they start to come in, it’s time to call the dentist’s office.

Is There Room?

Some people have enough room in their mouth for their wisdom teeth to come in with no problem. When the space isn’t big enough, they are “impacted.” That means that the molars are trapped under your gumline or in your jaw.

Your dentist starts monitoring these teeth early on to see how they’re developing because when they don’t have the proper amount of room, problems like these can arise:

  • Food becomes trapped giving bacteria a place to grow.
  • Flossing becomes difficult leading to plaque build up.
  • Partial eruption can give bacteria a place to enter the gums and create a place for infection to occur.
  • Neighboring teeth can get crowded by wisdom teeth that are trying to come in.
  • A wisdom tooth that is impacted can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth leading to root damage.

How Are They Removed?

It’s easy to see that if they aren’t coming in right, they aren’t worth the trouble. The good news is that removal isn’t as bad as that one story you heard. It’s a common procedure using sedatives and anesthetics (something you and the dentist will discuss prior to your appointment). Once the procedure is over, you’ll need to bite on a soft piece of gauze for 30-45 minutes to minimize the bleeding. There will be some pain and swelling, but in most cases it goes away after three to four days. Anytime there is severe pain, swelling, bleeding, or fever, you should call your dentist immediately.

Of course our entire team at Asheville Dental strives to make every extraction as comfortable as possible for our patients. Have questions about a procedure before having it done? Call us for a consultation. We’d love to put your mind at ease.

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