It’s said that wisdom teeth are called such because they appear in your mouth not while you’re still a kid, but when you get much older — when you’ve supposedly become wiser and more mature from going through experiences in life.
That may be so, you think — but sometimes, writhing in agony for extended periods of time due to the pain caused by an emerging, misaligned, infected or impacted wisdom tooth, and not being able to do anything about it on your own, can make you feel hopeless and not-so-wise after all.
But there’s certainly no reason for you to grit your teeth (so to speak) and simply bear the pain — not when there are skilled dentists in your area who can look at your wisdom tooth and determine the best course of action to take.
To help you learn more about this specific tooth, check out the brief guide provided below.
What are wisdom teeth?
The term refers to the third and last set of molars that most people get during their teenage years or early 20s.
They aren’t bad news per se, but they often become misaligned and unhealthy, angling inward, outward, toward or away from the second molars, or horizontally. This poor alignment can cause damage to the nerves, the nearby teeth, and the jawbone.
Impaction can also occur. An impacted wisdom tooth is one that only partially broke through the gums, or is enclosed within the jawbone and/or the tissue. These create an opening around the tooth that can be entered by bacteria, causing an infection that will bring pain, swelling, and stiffness in the jaw.
Wisdom teeth that only partially erupted are also hard to reach with a toothbrush and dental floss, so caring for them is difficult. It’s common for wisdom teeth and its surrounding area to become more prone to tooth decay and gum disease.
When these things happen, removal is typically required.
How will I know if I have wisdom teeth?
You can undergo an examination by your dentist NYC residents may be taken through periodic X-rays to evaluate the presence and alignment of any wisdom teeth. From their observations, they can recommend an early extraction, so that more painful, lengthy or complex procedures in the future can be prevented. Also, the younger you are at the time of removal, the quicker your recovery and healing time will be.
What happens during and after wisdom tooth removal?
Wisdom teeth that have fully erupted through the gums can be easily extracted, like a typical tooth. Those that remain partially enclosed in tissue, however, can be reached by making a small incision in the gums and then extracted in small sections.
Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the wisdom tooth and the surrounding tissue, along with a sedative if it’s needed to control your anxiety, before extraction takes place.
After the procedure, you can expect some bleeding and facial swelling for the first 24 hours. You can be advised to apply constant pressure on the area of the extraction with clean, moist gauze and to avoid rinsing or spitting, sucking actions, and hot liquids to prevent the clot in the space from dislodging. Ice wrapped in cloth can help bring down the facial swelling. And your dentist can prescribe antibiotics and pain medication for a specific period to help with your recovery.