Should I have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Oral Surgeons in Northern Virginia

If you’re reading this article your dentist has probably recommended your wisdom teeth be removed. Your first response after hearing that news was probably: “ugh. Do I really have to?”.  To help answer this question and educate you on the removal process, we’ve included a some informative facts and information below.

There isn’t a “perfect age” to have your wisdom teeth removed. Some of us get these teeth as an adolescent, while others don’t have them grow in until they are an adult. So, if your wisdom teeth are in, should you have them out now or wait? Unfortunately this is isn’t a simple answer as there are a few factors to consider.

If your wisdom teeth are impacted or crowding your existing teeth we recommend they be removed as soon as possible. Impacted wisdom teeth can grow crooked due to the lack room in your mouth and push against the other teeth.  This can cause pain and often leads to bigger problems such as infection as bacteria can easily grow between the crowded teeth . This is why we tend to remove wisdom teeth more frequently than not. Other issues as noted by WebMD can be:

  • Damage to other teeth: That extra set of molars can push your other teeth around, causing mouth pain and bite problems.
  • Jaw damage: Cysts can form around the new teeth. If they aren’t treated, they can hollow out your jaw and damage nerves.
  • Sinus Issues: Problems with wisdom teeth can lead to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.
  • Inflamed Gums: Tissue around the area can swell and may be hard to clean.
  • Cavities: Swollen gums can create pockets between teeth that help bacteria grow and cavities form.

Wisdom teeth removal Northern VAMost dentists believe it’s better to have them removed at a younger age as the healing process is usually quicker. That being said, if you’re an adult with all your wisdom teeth and they don’t hurt, nor have they crowded your mouth or caused infection, taking them out is not necessary. However, we strongly recommend you make this decision only after consulting your dentist and/or oral surgeon.

After speaking with your dentist, if you decide to keep them we recommend regular exams and xrays to ensure everything remains OK. Even though you may not have pain, wisdom teeth are susceptible to infections and pushing other teeth out of alignment over time. Some dentists continue to recommend the removal of healthy molars to prevent problems later on. As you age, the bones in your mouth get harder. That makes your teeth tougher to remove.

Is having your wisdom teeth removed painful?

It can be, but with proper anesthesia, care and treatment you should only feel pressure, slight discomfort, but not a lot pain. If you do feel any sort of pain during the procedure, let your dentist know as he or she will more than likely re-apply your pain numbing agent.

Fully recovering from this procedure can take a week or so, however most people feel better after a few days; especially when following these post procedure instructions:

  • Keep Your Head Elevated for the First Three Days
  • Massage Your Masseter on Both Sides
  • Ice the Area of the Cheek Closest to the Extraction Site for the First Day
  • Don’t Let Your Mouth Dry Out
  • Drink Ice Cold Coconut Water Until You’re Able to Eat Soft Foods

Sometimes eating is difficult after your wisdom teeth have been removed.  Here are a few foods that you should try to eat:

  • Pudding
  • Gelato
  • Smoothies
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Hummus
  • Soup
  • Yogurt
  • Milkshakes
  • Applesauce
  • Jello
  • Sorbet
  • Milk
  • Protein shakes

If you notice any unusual symptoms like pus discharge, severe pain or a fever, call your oral surgeon right away. While complications such as an infection are rare, they are possible.

Whether your wisdom teeth are crowding your other teeth or have become infected, Gainesville Dental Associates has the experience and expertise to safely remove these teeth through minor, out-patient surgery.