Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth to emerge in the mouth, typically appearing in the late teenage years or early twenties. Wisdom teeth can be a source of pain and discomfort if they do not have enough room to emerge properly or become impacted, which means they are stuck in the gums or jawbone.
If wisdom teeth are causing problems, such as pain or infection, or are at risk of becoming impacted, a dentist or oral surgeon may recommend removing them. Wisdom tooth extraction is an oral surgery procedure usually performed under local anesthesia to numb the area, although general anesthesia may sometimes be used.
When wisdom teeth start causing problems, the dentist can remove them. These problems include pain, infection, crowding, or the risk of becoming impacted. Discussing the potential risks and benefits of a wisdom tooth extraction with a dentist or oral surgeon is essential. They can evaluate the position and health of your wisdom teeth and recommend the best course of action.
Wisdom teeth may need to be removed if they are:
If wisdom teeth are only partially emerged, they can be hard to clean and more prone to infection.
If wisdom teeth are stuck in the gums or jawbone and cannot emerge normally, they may need to be removed.
If there is not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to emerge properly, they may push against other teeth and cause crowding.
If wisdom teeth are damaged or decayed, they may need to be removed.
It is normal to experience some swelling, soreness, and discomfort after wisdom tooth extraction. These symptoms should improve within a few days and can be managed with over-the-counter pain medication and cold compresses.
However, some potential complications can occur after wisdom tooth extraction, including:
Dry socket, also known as alveolar osteitis, is a painful condition that can occur following the failure or dislodging of the blood that clots in the extraction site. Symptoms of dry socket include severe pain, bad breath, and a foul taste in the mouth. Dentists treat dry socket with medicated dressings placed in the socket by a dentist or oral surgeon.
An infection can occur if bacteria enters the extraction site. Symptoms include fever, swelling, and pain that does not improve with over-the-counter pain medication. Dentists can treat infections with antibiotics.
In rare cases, wisdom teeth extraction can cause damage to surrounding teeth or structures, such as the sinuses or the inferior alveolar nerve (which controls sensation in the lower lip and chin).
Following the instructions provided by the dentist or oral surgeon after a wisdom tooth extraction is essential to promote healing and prevent complications. If you experience any unusual symptoms or problems after the procedure, it is necessary to contact the dentist.
For more on when to remove your wisdom teeth, visit Midtown Dental Center at our office in Atlanta, Georgia. Call (404) 874-0800 to book an appointment today.