Most of us have had our wisdom teeth removed or know someone that has but if you are unfamiliar with the process, it can be a little mysterious. Maybe the only thing you know about wisdom teeth removal is that your friend from high school or college missed a week of classes because of it but that does little in helping decide whether or not you need your wisdom teeth removed.
Wisdom teeth removal is a medical procedure, usually performed by a dentist or surgeon, that removes anywhere from one to all four of the patient’s wisdom teeth. If done at all, the extraction is usually performed when the patient is between the ages of 15 and 25, though it can also be done later in life. In most cases, the younger a patient is, the quicker and more easily they heal making surgeries performed later in life more of an ordeal for the patient.
The main reasons for wisdom teeth extraction are to prevent future problems or to stop current problems. When wisdom teeth grow in, they often do so at strange angles, which can lead to pain and infection. By removing the teeth before they finish growing in, the surgery prevents infections down the line. If the teeth have already broken through the gums, they can begin to push against other teeth and cause pain. If they are causing irritation, immediate removal is often the best option.
For the actual surgery, the dentist or surgeon will first numb the area surrounding the teeth with a local anesthetic. After that, they will make an opening in the gums above and around the tooth to make extraction easier. The tooth is then separated from the jaw and gums. As you can imagine, this would be a pretty painful procedure without the use of anesthetic.
After the surgery, the doctor will stitch up the area where the tooth had once been. The patient is then sent home, usually with a prescription for painkillers. Recovery time is typically a few days but could be longer if the patient is older or doesn’t follow the doctor’s orders.
The cost of having wisdom teeth removed varies but it would be best to talk to your dentist and insurance agency before you commit to anything. If you still have questions about your wisdom teeth, let us know! The Dental Center at Easton Town Center is more than happy to help.