Wisdom tooth removal seems to scare many people. I wanted to write this article in an attempt to put your mind at ease and explain this process a little bit. First of all, wisdom teeth don’t always need to be removed. If they are healthy, they erupt fully, and are positioned correctly, you may have nothing to worry about. However, many times wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to erupt, so they emerge only partially or remain completely hidden in the gum, or worse they may crowd or damage nearby teeth. In all cases, and especially if you experience pain or discomfort, you should come in for a dental check-up to see if there are any issues with your wisdom tooth and if it needs to be removed.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your third molars. They are located in the very back of your mouth, in the upper and lower jaws. Usually, wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21. However, some people only have some of their wisdom teeth or none at all. Some believe that wisdom teeth were more necessary for our ancestors, who ate raw food that was harder to chew and break up into smaller pieces. They also didn’t have forks and knives. Nowadays, wisdom teeth are largely considered vestigial structures, which means that they are unnecessary for our lives.

What happens during wisdom tooth removal?

If your dentist has determined that your wisdom tooth needs to be removed, most of the time he/she will refer you to a dental surgeon.The surgeon will take dental X-rays and assess the health of your wisdom tooth. Wisdom teeth extraction is typically performed under local anesthesia, except for rare cases that require general anesthesia. The surgeon will discuss these options with you. Be sure to tell your surgeon about any medications or supplements that you might be taking.

Typically, the procedure of removing a wisdom tooth (or several wisdom teeth) takes under one hour. If your wisdom tooth is Impacted, which means that it is trapped in the gums or bone, it will need to be exposed with incisions, giving your surgeon adequate access to remove it. Afterwards, your oral surgeon carefully loosens and lifts them from their sockets, cleans the areas and places stitches. In most cases, you will feel some pressure but no pain during the removal.

What happens after wisdom tooth extraction?

You can expect some mild discomfort after the anesthesia wears off. It can be accompanied by some bleeding and swelling. Be prepared to rinse your mouth with a salt solution, eat soft foods, and avoid smoking. Pain medications can be taken if necessary. Your oral surgeon will give you instructions for wisdom teeth management to ease the side effects. Many times, a cold compress or ice pack on the face can alleviate swelling. Most people are comfortable in three to four days following an extraction, but it can take a couple of weeks for your gums to heal completely.

I hope you found this information helpful. I am Dr. Onatsky. If you need a consultation regarding your wisdom teeth, call today to schedule an appointment: 718-621-0827. Onatsky Dental Clinic is located at 2960 Ocean Ave 1st Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11235. I look forward to seeing you.