The wisdom teeth are the final four teeth to erupt from the gums – usually sometime between age 17 and 25. Ideally, these wisdom teeth grow in without complication. However, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, as many as 9 in 10 Americans have at least one wisdom tooth that is impacted.
What is an impacted wisdom tooth?
An impacted wisdom tooth is a third molar at the back of the mouth that doesn’t have enough room to erupt, or grow in to the mouth, normally.
Even if the teeth all erupt normally, they may cause overcrowding or grow in at an angle that can be problematic in the future. For that reason, many people choose to have their wisdom teeth removed to prevent infection, crowding, and other complications.
Did you know…
that wisdom teeth may need to be removed even if they have not yet caused any problems? Even wisdom teeth that erupt normally may still be vulnerable to decay over time. Due to wisdom teeth coming in at the back of the mouth, many patients find it difficult to clean and floss all surfaces of the teeth each day thus increasing the risk of developing a cavity. Although complications may not appear immediately, wisdom teeth may begin causing problems in middle to late adulthood.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need my wisdom teeth removed?
You may need your wisdom teeth removed if you have one or more impacted wisdom teeth or if you are having difficulty adequately cleaning those that have emerged. It is recommended that all young adults be evaluated by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. A consultation and x-ray can reveal impacted wisdom tooth symptoms, such as damage to neighboring teeth, signs of decay, gum disease, or perceived complications with future wisdom tooth eruption.
What should I expect when getting my wisdom teeth taken out?
Your wisdom teeth removal will likely be performed in your oral surgeon’s office. Most removals take only minutes to perform, but you’ll be under anesthesia or sedation to prevent discomfort. Once the teeth are removed, the gums are sutured shut. Keep in mind that you will need a responsible driver to take you home following the extraction because it will not be safe for you to drive after being heavily sedated.
How long does wisdom tooth pain last?
Because wisdom teeth can cause overcrowding and misalignment of teeth which makes it difficult to properly clean and care for teeth, pain from wisdom teeth can continue indefinitely. Therefore, it is advisable to get a consult to learn whether surgical extraction is the best course of action.
What is the cost of wisdom tooth removal?
The cost for removing wisdom teeth varies on the basis of how many teeth are to be removed, how many have erupted normally, how much crowding there is in the mouth and whether any of the teeth are impacted. The best way to get an accurate quote is to have your dentist send us a referral with your dental record and x-rays and schedule a consult.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recovery
Will I need to follow any special instructions following my wisdom teeth removal procedure?
Yes. You’ll need to keep the extraction site clean and free of debris for the first couple of weeks after the wisdom teeth removal. You’ll also need to take all medications exactly as prescribed by your surgeon to prevent possible infection. Avoid sucking through a straw for the first several days after surgery so as to prevent a condition known as dry tooth socket, and notify your surgeon if you experience fever or discomfort that worsens after a few days.
Does your practice perform emergency wisdom tooth removal?
The short answer is yes, however, most people do not require emergency removal. Typically, we can help a patient manage any pain for the short period it takes to schedule a planned non-emergent removal.