By: Kathryn Hyer
Between the ages of 17 and 25, a person may develop third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth. While some never develop wisdom teeth, those that do develop wisdom teeth will often experience pain or discomfort until they are removed. When wisdom teeth come in, many questions may arise such as, when should they be removed? What does the procedure entail, and what is the recovery process like? Below is everything you need to know about wisdom teeth and the removal process. Give our dentist in Idaho Falls a call today if you would like to schedule a consultation.
When Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
While there’s no set age as to when wisdom teeth should be removed, if they begin to cause pain in your mouth, you should consider getting them removed. Many doctors suggest getting wisdom teeth removed while they are still emerged in the gums, and long before they become problematic. This allows the recovery period to go smoother, as the bones and roots haven’t fully formed yet.
Some organizations require you to have your wisdom teeth removed as a health precaution. If you plan on doing volunteer work for an extended period of time with an organization, such as serving an LDS mission or joining the Peace-Corps, the removal of wisdom teeth is generally required beforehand.
While removal isn’t required in the military, it is highly encouraged in order to avoid situations where intense pain may be experienced, without the proper resources available, particularly for those serving overseas.
You should look into getting your wisdom teeth removed if:
- You feel any pain
- Notice damage to any nearby teeth
- Develop a fluid-filled cyst around any of your wisdom teeth
- Have any tooth decay on any erupted wisdom teeth
- Experience infection or gum disease
- Notice food and debris being trapped behind wisdom tooth
What Kind Of Anesthesia is Available?
During wisdom teeth extraction, there are three types of anesthesia options available:
- Local anesthesia. The dentist or oral surgeon will administer the anesthesia injections near each extraction. This option allows you to be completely conscious during the procedure. Although you’ll experience a feeling of pressure, you shouldn’t experience any pain.
- Sedation anesthesia. This option is more feasible for those who have anxiety about the procedure itself. The anesthesia is administered through an IV in the arm, and completely suppresses your consciousness during the procedure. No pain is felt and the patient has limited memory regarding the procedure. Local anesthesia is also applied to numb the gums.
- General anesthesia. This type of anesthesia is similar to sedation anesthesia, with a few differences. Patients may either receive sedation through an IV, or through the nose, or both. Consciousness is lost completely, with no memory of the procedure. A surgical team closely monitors medication, temperature, breathing, blood pressure and fluids.
Recovery Period for Wisdom Teeth Removal
The recovery period typically lasts between three to four days, and in some cases, up to a week. During the healing process, you should follow your dentist or oral surgeon’s instructions on:
- Pain management. Over-the-counter pain relievers such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen may help with pain relief. Generally, a prescription for pain relievers is given from your dentist or oral surgeon. Experts also suggest icing your jaw to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Bleeding. It’s normal for your sockets to bleed or ooze the first day after your procedure. Dislodging a blood clot from the socket can cause further complications. As such, experts recommend the avoidance of excessive spitting. The dentist or oral surgeon will most likely provide gauze for you to place over the extraction site to assist with blood control.
- Bruising and swelling. Bruises may take several days to heal, but the swelling of your cheeks will usually improve in two to three days. Icing your cheeks will help them go back to normal at a faster rate.
- Activity. Avoid strenuous activities for a week that would cause the blood clot to be removed from the socket. On the day of the initial surgery, you should rest for remainder of the day.
- Food. Chewy, hard, hot and spicy foods should be avoided until they can be tolerated. Only soft foods, such as yogurt and applesauce, should be eaten for the first 24 hours.
- Tobacco use. Don’t smoke for at least 72 hours after surgery. Chewing tobacco shouldn’t be used for at least a week.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be a hassle, but preparing for it doesn’t have to be. At Idaho Falls Smiles, we’re here to ensure you have a smooth experience when it comes to getting your wisdom teeth removed. Everything you need to know about wisdom teeth can be answered by one of our very own dentists in Idaho Falls. If you have any further questions or concerns regarding your wisdom teeth, don’t hesitate to give Idaho Falls Smiles a call today at (208) 524-1700.