The Definitive Guide to Wisdom Tooth Extraction
According to Business Insider, about 5 million people per year get their wisdom teeth removed just here in the United States. In fact, it’s become one of the most commonly performed dental procedures in the US.
Let’s talk about why someone might need their wisdom teeth extracted, what the procedure looks like, and how long recovery might take.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the molars that come in at the back of your gums. They’re usually the last of your teeth to come in and typically start poking their way through in your late teens or early twenties.
Technically, these molars are supposed to be your toughest teeth, able to chew through harsh foods. Having said that, these days we rarely really need them, since our food is packaged and cooked. Moreover, these teeth tend to cause oral problems since our jaws often don’t have enough space to accommodate them.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Come In?
According to the American Dental Association, wisdom teeth typically come in at the age of 17-21.
Recommended Wisdom Tooth Extraction Age
This will vary from person to person as everyone’s teeth grow at different rates. While it is possible to get your wisdom teeth removed earlier or later, the recommended age is usually between 18 to 24 years old. These third molars usually erupt around this age making it an ideal time for extraction. This is because the roots aren’t fully formed yet and they are easier to remove with fewer complications like damage to nearby nerves.
If the wisdom teeth are creating problems in the mouth, this would be a time you should look into removing them earlier. If you have been living for decades with your wisdom teeth, they can become symptomatic later in life as well. Older wisdom teeth can become impacted or infected.
First Signs Of Wisdom Teeth Coming In
Some common symptoms of wisdom teeth coming in are:
- Pain in the jaw area.
- Swelling of the gums, especially in the areas near your wisdom teeth.
- A bad taste in your mouth.
- Light bleeding in the gum area surrounding your wisdom teeth.
Keep in mind that although these symptoms are common, you should keep an eye out for anything concerning. Wisdom teeth can occasionally get infected, so it’s best to consult with your dentist as soon as possible if you notice symptoms of infection or serious pain.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
If you feel any pain or discomfort in your wisdom teeth, it’s always best to see a dentist. A specialist will catch any infections or impacted teeth earlier on, making it an easier fix. Here at Snodgrass-King Dental, we’re happy to do a consultation and evaluate your wisdom teeth’s health.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Get Removed?
As mentioned earlier, since wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, our jaws often don’t have enough space to accommodate them. This can result in them being impacted or growing incorrectly. Even worse, these molars can overcrowd your existing teeth, hurting them as well. Since they’re harder to clean, wisdom teeth may also be more prone to cavities or infections.
These days, many dentists recommend getting wisdom teeth extracted at a young age in order to prevent future problems from occurring. Since the roots of the tooth are not fully formed when you’re a young adult, the extraction process is typically more straightforward. Additionally, getting these molars extracted at a younger age also has the added bonus of faster recovery for the patient.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The first step to getting your wisdom teeth removed is a consultation or check-up with your regular dentist. Your dentist can tell you how your wisdom teeth are doing and whether or not a wisdom tooth extraction is recommended.
Following that, your general dentist will either schedule you for an in-house extraction or refer you to an oral surgeon. Make sure to ask your dentist about what medications and food to stay away from prior to the procedure. Your dentist or oral surgeon may also recommend that you bring someone along to drive you home. This is because many wisdom tooth extractions are performed under general anesthesia and may leave you too groggy to drive after the appointment.
During the procedure itself, your oral surgeon will start by numbing the area and/or administering a sedative. Following this, your surgeon will remove a bit of gum tissue in the area covering the wisdom tooth. If there is bone covering the tooth, your surgeon may have to remove a bit to get to the molar. Following this, your surgeon will loosen and pull the tooth out. Lastly, if necessary, your surgeon might stitch up the area to help the healing process along.
After the procedure, you’ll slowly come out from under the sedative. Prepare to feel a little groggy and/or swollen in the jaw area.
The most important thing to remember is to follow all after-care instructions given to you by your dental office. Also, keep in mind that there may be some pain and swelling for the next few weeks, so plan accordingly.
How Long Does A Wisdom Tooth Extraction Take?
Most wisdom tooth extractions take less than an hour, although the exact duration of the procedure varies.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost
According to Delta Dental Insurance, the average cost of a simple wisdom tooth removal clocks in at about $75-$200 per tooth. This cost can increase exponentially, however, if the wisdom teeth are impacted or have other complications. That’s why having dental insurance is so important. When selecting a plan, make sure to ask what’s covered and how soon the insurance can be used after signing up.
Answers To Common Questions
We know that a tooth extraction can seem like a daunting procedure. That’s why we’ve compiled this handy list of answers to common questions.
Does Everyone Have Wisdom Teeth?
Surprisingly, the answer is no. Some people may have just one, two, three, or no wisdom teeth whatsoever. Although the exact cause of this is unknown, genetics seem to play a large part in whether or not you have wisdom teeth. So if neither of your parents ever had wisdom teeth, you may not either. Keep in mind, however, that just because your wisdom teeth haven’t erupted yet, doesn’t mean that you don’t have any. Some wisdom teeth simply become impacted and are unable to burst to the surface.
What Can I Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Stick to soft foods and liquids for the next few days. Yogurt, soups, and smoothies are all great options for food when you’re recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction. Try to get all of the nutrients that your body needs throughout the next week or so. Although it may be tempting, fasting is not a good idea since you’re going to need all the healthy foods you can get to speed along the healing process. Regardless, consult with your dentist or oral surgeon for after-care instructions and try to follow them as closely as possible.
How Many Wisdom Teeth Do You Have?
Most adults have four wisdom teeth. Having said that, it’s not uncommon for some people to have fewer than that. So don’t worry if your X-rays indicate that you only have two or three. In rare cases, a person could even have more than four wisdom teeth.
How Long Is Wisdom Teeth Recovery?
Most of the pain and swelling associated with a wisdom tooth removal should be able to subside within a week or so. The exact recovery time can depend on the patient and whether or not their procedure had any complications. Do keep an eye out for persistent pain, inflammation, or other signs of infection. If you notice anything amiss, consult with your dentist as soon as possible.
Looking for a Dentist in Tennessee?
Here at Snodgrass-King Dental, we offer dental services for the whole family. The best thing about us is that you can come in for your own dental check-up while your child sits down for theirs!
We also have a variety of locations all across Tennessee, including offices in Mt. Juliet, Murfreesboro, Franklin, and Cool Springs. You’ll also find that each one of our locations prioritizes patients above all else. We know that toothaches can be a scary time, so we do everything we can to make your dental visits a little bit easier.
Our providers work hard to make your visit professional, fast, and comfortable. We also follow COVID-19 cleaning protocols and keep the office clean from top to bottom.
So don’t wait. If you’ve got a toothache, come on in, and we’ll take a look. We can perform an evaluation and take some X-rays. Following that, we’ll do our best to get you treated or referred to a specialist as soon as possible.