The short answer is that it depends. Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. Although it’s a procedure that dentists in Birmingham, AL perform by the hundreds every year, some people go their entire lives with their wisdom teeth intact. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not a prime candidate for wisdom tooth extraction.
If you’re not experiencing any pain or discomfort, then your wisdom teeth may be positioned correctly and will grow in just like the rest of your teeth. But if it looks like they are not properly aligned and like they may become impacted, then you will need to have a dentist or oral surgeon remove them. However, if you are beginning to experience some discomfort in your mouth, look up your local Birmingham dentist to make an appointment.
What Does ‘Impacted’ Mean?
Your dentist will take X-rays to determine if your wisdom teeth have been impacted or if they are in danger of becoming impacted. This means that the teeth have been blocked from growing in correctly. This can cause significant problems for the other teeth situated around your wisdom teeth.
You may start to experience mouth pain and impacted wisdom teeth can even affect the way you bite down. When the tooth is impacted it will begin to grow horizontally instead of vertically, which can stimulate pain or force the tooth to grow sideways, moving in on other teeth next to it.
Leaving your wisdom teeth alone and not extracting them could also lead to other issues ranging from inflamed gums (which can promote tooth decay), cavities, and tooth misalignment throughout your mouth. In extreme cases, patients have experienced sinus problems and jaw damage from cysts that develop on new teeth.
Your dentist will examine your teeth and the shape of your mouth to determine whether or not wisdom tooth extraction is right for you. Preventive measures to avoid these major dental problems down the line may call for your wisdom teeth to be removed even if you aren’t feeling any pain or discomfort. Just because you aren’t experiencing these problems now, that does not guarantee that you won’t later on.
If needed, your dentist in Birmingham, AL will suggest removing wisdom teeth sooner than later because the bones in your mouth become tougher as you get older. This makes it more difficult to try to remove wisdom teeth. Therefore, many dentists want to get a jump on the procedure at younger age so the teeth are easily extracted and you experience less pain post-surgery along with faster healing time. That’s why an X-ray can give a dentist early detection to gauge whether or not your wisdom teeth may cause problems as you age.
That’s not to suggest that all wisdom teeth are taken out during childhood. Many adults have their wisdom teeth removed as well, but usually if and when there are problems. You may never feel any discomfort as your wisdom teeth grow in and they could be perfectly positioned.
If you’re well into adulthood with those molars intact and there have been no oral aggravations or difficulties, then you can leave them in. You’ll have no reason to remove them.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
Having anything extracted from your body poses the potential for pain, but your dentist will give you some anesthesia or inject Novocain or some other numbing agent into your mouth. Once that takes effect, you won’t feel anything more than some mild pressure as the dentist yanks each tooth. Any pain you might feel should be reported to the dentist immediately so additional anesthesia or Novocain can be administered.
In some rare instances, post-surgery complications can include excessive bleeding, severe numbness, and some minor limitations to jaw movement. These symptoms are uncommon and typically temporary, often lasting no more than a few days.
Eating After Surgery
Any oral surgery is going to leave your mouth feeling sore and numb for a couple days and you’ll want to adjust your diet accordingly. Refrain from eating foods that requires a lot of chewing, opting instead for soft foods that don’t require much use of your jaw or teeth. These food items may include pudding, mashed potatoes, soup, scrambled eggs, yogurt, smoothies, apple sauce, shakes, and anything else that is easy to swallow without chewing.