When Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come in, typically between the ages of 17 – 21. Unfortunately, these third molars often cause problems and may need removal to maintain your oral health. At Dental Care of North Carolina, we are committed to delivering the quality, gentle care our valued patients deserve. Your comfort and wellbeing are always our topmost priorities.

Do You Need to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?

According to the American Dental Association, wisdom teeth extraction may be necessary if you experience changes in the area of those teeth, including pain, repeated infection, cysts, tumors, damage to the nearby teeth, gum disease, or extensive tooth decay.

There are many reasons wisdom teeth may need removal. Most people do not have sufficient room in the jaw to accommodate the additional molars. That may result in them being impacted, or trapped in the jawbone, which can cause excruciating pain. Moreover, impacted wisdom teeth may begin to grow inwards toward the adjacent molars, which can cause complications such as infections or cysts. If not treated, cysts can cause damage to the jaw and nerves. Problems with these third molars can also lead to sinus pain, pressure, and congestion.

Wisdom teeth often come in an incorrect angle, pressing against the surrounding teeth, and pushing them out of alignment. That can cause the crowding of the other teeth and may affect your bite, which will likely require orthodontic intervention down the road.

Wisdom teeth, being so far in the back of the mouth, may be challenging to reach and clean properly, which leaves them vulnerable to cavities or gum inflammation. Even if they are not causing any apparent problems, if your wisdom teeth have the potential to cause future issues, we will likely recommend having them extracted.

What Are the Signs Of Wisdom Teeth Problems?

Pain or swelling in your upper or lower jaw, a sensation of pressure in the back of your mouth, or difficulty opening your mouth are often the first sign your wisdom teeth are causing problems. Your gum tissue around the emerging tooth may start bleeding or become sensitive, swollen, or inflamed.

Keep in mind that not feeling any pain or discomfort doesn’t necessarily rule out wisdom teeth problems. That is why we encourage you to keep up with your routine dental exams and cleanings every six months to allow us to monitor your wisdom teeth, as well as every aspect of your oral health.

What is the Wisdom Teeth Extraction Procedure?

Before removing your wisdom teeth, we will meet with you to discuss the procedure. Make sure you let us know about any health conditions or current medications you are taking. We are always happy to answer any questions and address any concerns. Most wisdom teeth are performed at our office with little to no discomfort with the help of local anesthesia, coupled with oral or IV sedation.

The procedure involves making an incision in the gum to expose the tooth and bone. We may need to divide a tooth into sections if it is easier to remove it in pieces. After extracting the tooth and cleaning the site, we may stitch the wound, if needed, to promote healing. The last step is placing gauze over the extraction site to control any bleeding and to help a blood clot form in the socket.

After wisdom teeth extraction, you will require a brief recovery time at our office. We will monitor your vitals and will and provide you with post-operative care instructions. We will also prescribe pain medication for use as needed.

Care After Wisdom Teeth Extraction

We may recommend using an ice pack for the first few hours after removing your wisdom teeth. Hold it on your face over the area of the extraction site for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off to help reduce swelling and relieve discomfort. Make sure to eat soft foods for the first 24 hours and avoid chewy, hard, crunchy, spicy, or hot foods that may irritate the area.

Refrain from smoking, drinking through a straw, rinsing vigorously, or spitting forcefully for the first 48 hours after the extraction to avoid dislodging the clot forming in the tooth socket. Otherwise, you will risk developing a severely painful condition called dry socket, which will require in-office care.

When to Contact Our Office

Complications are unlikely after wisdom teeth extraction with proper aftercare. If, however, the extraction site becomes very painful, or if you develop fever, shortness of breath, vomiting, uncontrolled bleeding, or swelling that is getting worse, make sure you contact our office immediately.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth

If you decide to keep your wisdom teeth, make sure you maintain meticulous oral hygiene practices, including carefully brushing and flossing around your wisdom teeth to help remove bacteria and plaque and to keep dental disease at bay. It’s also imperative that you schedule your routine dental exams every six months. We will monitor and evaluate your wisdom teeth because of their potential for developing problems down the road. We will also keep an eye on every aspect of your oral health to ensure your smile stays healthy and free of disease. 

Gentle Wisdom Teeth Extractions in Morrisville and Greensboro

Contact Dental Care of North Carolina to learn more about wisdom teeth extraction and to determine if it is your best option. We are committed to treating our valued patients like family while providing them with the highest quality of care they deserve. Call us and schedule your appointment today!