Having a tooth extracted is one of those unfortunate, although sometimes necessary, dental services. It's performed when the tooth in question has degraded to the point that it cannot be salvaged, and it is then replaced with an appropriate prosthetic, whether that's an implant, a denture or something else deemed suitable. But what about when you need to have an extra tooth removed because you simply don't need it? Many people have teeth that are surplus to their requirements, and if you have wisdom teeth, you are likely one of these people. How do you know when it's time to have those unnecessary teeth removed?
The Ideal Age
Dentists will often make the suggestion to extract wisdom teeth before the patient becomes aware of any issues. It's generally recommended to do it while a person is still young, such as before they turn 20. The wisdom teeth, though fully formed, might not yet have a fully developed root system, which can make extraction easier at this age. But problematic wisdom teeth can be removed at any stage.
Wisdom teeth can cause discomfort at any age. They're often partially impacted (as in, they did not erupt from the gums and grow to the same size as the surrounding molars), and this can cause complications. The gums around the wisdom teeth can become irritated and swollen, and given their position, they might start to crowd their neighbouring molars, potentially damaging these teeth. There might also be cysts on the gums.
Uncomfortable wisdom teeth can be managed with anti-inflammatory pain medication (such as ibuprofen) and even a warm compress applied to the rear of your jaw. But recurring discomfort should not have to be managed reactively, and the potential for infection means that your overall health can be compromised by your wisdom teeth. See your dentist for a thorough examination, which will include an X-ray. If your wisdom teeth have become a frequent annoyance, removal will generally be recommended.
Removing Your Wisdom Teeth
The removal of your wisdom teeth is moderately invasive, although it will be performed under local anaesthetic, as is the case with most tooth extractions. Your jaw will be entirely numbed and then the teeth will be removed. There will be some discomfort as the anesthetic wears off, and you will need to use over-the-counter pain relief in the days following the procedure. There will also be some bleeding, and your dentist will likely provide you with a supply of sterile gauze, which can be changed as necessary. You simply gently bite down onto the gauze and allow it to absorb the blood from the site of the extraction. You will generally need a day or two to recuperate, and antibiotics might also be provided.
If your wisdom teeth give you trouble on an ongoing basis, it might be time to think about having them extracted. Visit a general dentistry today to learn more.