What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth in the back of your mouth, also referred to as third back molars. Typically we recommend wisdom teeth are removed at 17 to 21 years old. At this time, your jaw is still malleable. The procedure and recovery are more straightforward when done around this age. Although wisdom teeth can be helpful to chew foods in the back of your mouth, they are not necessary if they are causing you pain or discomfort. Most wisdom teeth do not erupt correctly and often cause discomfort or pain.
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
Most wisdom teeth cause pain or discomfort if they do not erupt properly. Patients that keep their wisdom teeth may also experience infection, gum disease, and tooth decay. Wisdom teeth are not only hard to clean because they are in the back of your mouth. They also erupt at different angles. Due to their different angles and sizes, wisdom teeth often collect more bacteria than other teeth, putting them at risk for infection, gum disease, and tooth decay. If you have an infected tooth, Dr. Gray can treat the condition with an antibiotic and a tooth repair such as a dental filling. However, infected wisdom teeth are often removed because they are not needed.
Another reason Dr. Gray may recommend removing wisdom teeth if you have jaw pain. Often, if your mouth is small, the extra teeth in your mouth can cause jaw pain. Additionally, wisdom teeth can also contribute to sinus pressure, pain, and congestion. Call our office today if you think you have one of these symptoms and have wisdom teeth.
Does Removing Wisdom Teeth Hurt?
At Philip M. Gray DDS, we use sedation and local anesthesia for wisdom tooth removal. We typically give patients conscious sedation, where they are awake enough to follow commands, such as moving your head, but they will not remember the procedure. In addition to conscious sedation, we also use local anesthesia, such as lidocaine, to numb the area we are working on. You may feel slight pressure during the procedure with these two methods, but you should not feel pain.
What to do After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
For the first few days after your surgery, you should relax and avoid heavy activities. We recommend that patients do not touch the surgical site, avoid rinsing vigorously, and take the recommended pain medications that Dr. Gray and his team gave you during the first day. You should also not use a straw and eat soft or liquid foods for the first few days because these activities can dislodge the clots formed where the teeth were extracted. It would be best to gently rinse your mouth with salt water for the first few days for oral hygiene. If you experience pain, take the recommended medications and apply an ice pack to the outside of the cheek.
When Should I Call my Doctor After Wisdom Teeth Surgery?
After your wisdom teeth surgery, or at any time, you can call Philip M. Gray, DDS, for advice. However, following wisdom teeth surgery, here are some specific situations when you should contact your doctor. After surgery, you will have some bleeding. However, if it is excessive, you should call Dr. Gray. If you have a fever, severe pain that is not resolved with the recommended medication, a bad taste in your mouth, numbness, bloody or pus discharge from your nose, or pus from the socket, call Dr. Gray immediately. If you have a life-threatening emergency such as difficulty breathing, contact or go to your nearest emergency room.