Out of the blue, you may feel irritation in the back of your mouth. Your gums start hurting in a specific area and it’s constant.The thing is, it’s not an area where you have teeth…. that you know of. A dental appointment may reveal the presence of wisdom teeth, which are back molars that are doing their best to come out. All this then leads to the question: “What are they? Why do they come out at a particular time? Would I ever need them?
Like several other body parts, wisdom teeth may have played a much larger role for our ancestors – the ones that had to live off the land and eat a very rough diet. Think of the ones that lived in caves, not log cabins. They needed extra teeth to be able to chew some of the things they ate. As the centuries went by, people started consuming very different things… and now a lot of things are pre-prepared and not difficult to chew.
So, these teeth, which usually crop up around the time one becomes a teen or a young adult, have become more of a nuisance than a benefit. Over that same amount of time, people’s jaw structures also changed and now the wisdom teeth have made it an overcrowded situation – which is not good since other teeth can shift and drastically affect your overall bite. The teeth can also be angled quite differently than the other ones and that also creates many difficulties. Now, the dentist has taken a look and decided on the next step… removal.
It depends on where the wisdom tooth is in your mouth, how much has already come out and other factors. Usually an oral surgeon will do this. They will likely take an X-ray or look at a very recent one from your dentist. He or she will numb the area of your face where the tooth is going to be removed and use pliers to take it out. Sometimes the tooth will come out in one piece and other times it will break into two or more pieces and the surgeon will carefully remove all the pieces before putting stitches, which are usually dissolvable, in the empty space to facilitate healing. If they do not dissolve, you may need to come back in or have your general dentist remove the stitches at a predetermined date.
Your mouth will still be numb once the procedure is finished. You will need someone to drive you home if you went under for anesthesia – your reflexes will be impaired for a bit. Once you get home, you should rest for the remainder of the day. Take Tylenol for pain and apply ice to your face to keep swelling down to a minimum. Even though the surgery is routine, it is still surgery.
Do not smoke or drink from a straw, since both of those could wind up dislodging the blood clot and causing dry socket. Swish your mouth out with warm salt water to keep bacteria from forming. People usually recover from this pretty quickly and often are able to return to work in a day or two. Ideally, they would avoid strenuous activity until the dentist says so. Soft foods are also recommended until the area heals.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed. There are times that people have all their teeth properly aligned and when the wisdom teeth emerge, they slide properly into their space and do not interfere with the other teeth. They would be extra teeth that help in chewing. But when they are misaligned, then the dentist will decide to have them removed.
Also, there are some people who are born without one or more wisdom teeth. It’s an individual thing and does not mean anything. In fact, that means they are spared from having to have work done down the road.
The staff at VIP Dental Center have seen many wisdom teeth over the course of their careers and they know exactly how to make the removal process go smoothly. If you live in or near the Palm Harbor area, call them at 727-787-2424 to make an appointment. You will be treated in a relaxing spa-like environment and will have the situation fixed quickly.