If you ever wondered should I remove my wisdom teeth, you’ll be glad to know that today is the day you’ll get an expert answer to that question.
Although many people believe that removing wisdom teeth will provide them with some health benefits, that is not the case. Moreover, the intervention can have some unpleasant or even health-threatening side-effects. Therefore, if your wisdom teeth do not cause you any trouble, let them be.
What are wisdom teeth?
Even though you might assume so due to their name, wisdom teeth will not make you any smarter. They will grow out when you are a bit wiser – somewhere between the age of 17 and 21, and thus the name.
Wisdom teeth are molars. They are wide and tough, and their role is to grind the food. Not all people have all wisdom teeth – so you should not worry if you are missing some.
Sometimes, the wisdom teeth break through the gum and grow out only partially – those are called “impacted” wisdom teeth. Around 80% of adults worldwide will have at least one impacted wisdom tooth that has not broken through completely.
The impacted wisdom teeth are more likely to occur in your lower jaw. The reason is usually a lack of space. In some cases, other teeth get in the way of the wisdom tooth, and it then comes in crooked.
Do impacted wisdom teeth cause some dental health problems?
Most of the time, impacted wisdom teeth do not cause any severe problems. However, sometimes they can cause pain and swelling or even lead to gum inflammation or tooth decay. They can also push your other teeth out of the way.
When Should You Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?
As already mentioned, you should best remove your wisdom teeth only when they are causing you trouble, or there are strong indications that they will create problems in the future. Before you head on to your dentist to have your wisdom teeth removed, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your wisdom teeth cause you any pain?
- Do the wisdom teeth cause damage to your jaw or neighboring teeth?
- Will your wisdom teeth cause any complications with any planned dental or jaw-related treatments you are planning?
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should definitely consider wisdom teeth removal surgery.
What are the risks associated with having your wisdom teeth removed?
The majority of people will have only minor swelling in their mouth or cheeks. It can remain visible for as little as a couple of hours to a few days. You can also expect to feel some pain immediately after the procedure, but it should not last long.
Once the pain goes away, it should not come back. If it does, and it is accompanied by bad breath and swelling you might be dealing with an infection. Usually, the reason for this is that dried blood that is closing the wound has come off too soon and left the wound unprotected. It would be best if you used either an antiseptic mouthwash or gel to prevent such complications. If the problems persist, your dentist can prescribe antibiotics.
The procedure can cause some damage to nerves and blood vessels nearby. It leads to numbness in your tongue or face, but you should not worry – it is usually temporary.
If the procedure is too extensive, you might end up having permanent problems. Namely, up to 1 out of 100 patients experience permanent numbness or damage to nearby teeth.
Even though wisdom teeth are most often removed under local anesthesia, sometimes the complicated cases call for general anesthesia. General anesthesia comes with certain risks of its own.
How to best deal with the pain after the intervention?
- Hold an ice pack against your cheek to reduce the swelling.
- Do not smoke or drink hot drinks during the first couple of days.
- Avoid hard foods for a couple of days too.
- Avoid doing strenuous physical activities.
- Use painkillers such as ibuprofen and acetaminophen (paracetamol) but make sure you do not go over the maximum dose for either of the drugs.
- Apply the enzyme bromelain to reduce inflammation and pain.
Consult a Calgary dentist if you experience any troubles with your wisdom teeth. He or she will advise you whether you should remove them or not. If you do remove your wisdom teeth, make sure you follow through on all your dentist’s recommendations regarding post-procedure recovery.