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What’s the deal with wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also called 3rd molars, are an oft-discussed topic in the world of dentistry, but if they aren’t actively bothering you, removing your wisdom teeth might not be a top priority in your already busy life. While it might seem like a major hassle to schedule an appointment to get them extracted, know that you’ll be doing yourself and your smile a big favor by getting them removed as soon as possible.

Why do I have to get my wisdom teeth removed?

Though wisdom teeth are a completely natural occurrence, dentists recommend you get them removed because they tend to present more issues than benefits. First of all, the average human mouth really only has room for 28 teeth, not 32. So, more often than not, there isn’t any room for the wisdom teeth. This can cause them to only partially break through the gum line, or not erupt at all, and become impacted. At this point, the teeth aren’t functioning for their original purpose, and they can also present a lot of problems. Impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth, potentially shifting that beautiful smile you’ve cultivated since grade school. This pressure can also hit nerves in your mouth, creating daily pain and discomfort. In addition to the potential for pain, wisdom teeth are inconveniently located in the very back of your mouth making it difficult to clean around them, which encourages bacterial growth and cavities.

When should I get my wisdom teeth removed?

Now that we’ve covered why it’s beneficial to get your wisdom teeth taken out, when is the best time to have that procedure done? It’s a good idea to talk to your dentist about your teeth specifically, but in most cases, the sooner the better. If you get your wisdom teeth removed as soon as they come in, the roots won’t have fully developed, which will make the extraction process a lot easier and less painful for both you and your dentist.

What’s the procedure like?

So, what should you expect when you go in to get your wisdom teeth taken out? In all cases, you will be given some sort of anesthesia. Depending on your dentist, and also on the location of your wisdom teeth (whether they are impacted or have erupted), there are several choices of anesthesia. The two most often utilized are local anesthesia and sedation anesthesia. A local anesthesia is administered just to the gums and area around the tooth, and while you will be awake for the procedure and might feel some pressure, you won’t feel any pain. Sedation anesthesia is typically administered through an IV and will suppress your consciousness during the procedure. You probably won’t remember most of it, and won’t feel any pain. If you’re given sedation anesthesia, you’ll also be given a local anesthesia to numb your gums during the extraction. In either case, once you’ve received the anesthesia, the doctor will surgically remove your wisdom teeth and you’ll be on your way – usually in some time around two hours.

How long will it take to recover?

While it will take any time from a few weeks to a few months for your mouth to completely heal, any pain you experience should subside after three to four days. Our dentist will probably prescribe you painkillers for the first few days, and you can expect some swelling and bleeding for the first 24 hours. You will have to avoid solid foods for the first couple of days, but you’ll be feeling better in no time. In most cases you will feel completely back to normal in no more than two weeks.

If you’re considering having your wisdom teeth removed or have any questions, feel free to call us at 231-737-5500 or you can even schedule your appointment online today!

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