Wisdom teeth are the third set of back molars that normally develop between the ages of 17 and 21 for most people. It is quite common for people to experience problems with their wisdom teeth when they do not erupt correctly. They can come in at unusual angles and impact teeth that are already present in the mouth. Some people routinely have their wisdom teeth removed before there are any signs of trouble since wisdom teeth are not considered to be essential.
Wisdom teeth were definitely needed by our primitive ancestors who ate a much different diet than modern humans. These hunter-gatherers regularly consumed tough foods like nuts and roots that required the presence of additional back teeth. Today's humans have learned to soften their food through cooking and breaking up their food using utensils.
Over time, the jaws of humans have gotten smaller. This means that there is less space available in the jaw for extra teeth like wisdom teeth. This also means that there is less margin for error when wisdom teeth emerge at unusual angles that can impact already present teeth.
Some reasons that wisdom tooth extraction may be necessary:
The jaw is too small for them, potentially leading to impacted teeth that cannot break through the gums.
Wisdom teeth may erupt only partially, leading to the development of a flap of gum tissue growing over the teeth. This can provide safe harbor for food and bacteria, increasing susceptibility to an infection. Signs of this are painful, red and swollen gums.
The presence of an infection, tooth damage, or a cyst.
Wisdom teeth coming in at a difficult angle.
Your dentist will completely numb your mouth using a local anesthetic delivered via injection. You may also be given nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, so that you are relaxed during the extraction.
An incision of the gums or bone may be necessary to remove your wisdom teeth. If this is the case, your dentist will stitch up the incisions so that they heal properly. Some gauze pads may also be placed in your mouth to soak up blood.
Any type of surgery involves some level of risk. Oral surgery can cause mouth bacteria to enter into the bloodstream, spreading infection to other parts of the body. Anyone with a compromised immune system who has a harder time dealing with infections may need to take a course of antibiotics around the time of their surgery. This includes anyone with genetic heart defects or artificial heart valves.
Following the extraction of your wisdom teeth, and while you are recovering, you should begin with eating soft foods and liquids. This can make things more comfortable for you since you will not have to chew these foods. Harder foods can cause problems and damage when they become trapped in the area that is recovering.
Some soft foods that you can eat include:
blended soups and broths
pudding, Jell-O and ice cream
Cold foods like ice cream, smoothies and Jell-O can help minimize discomfort. Foods like smoothies and soups that are rich in nutrients can speed healing. Soups are especially helpful in balancing out food items that are high in sugar content.
As you continue healing, you can add in more normal foods. Began with semi-soft foods like scrambled eggs, toast or instant oatmeal before you graduate to foods like fruits, chicken and vegetables.
Are you having problems with developing wisdom teeth? Or are you anticipating their emergence and how you will deal with the situation when it arrives? At Aesthetic Dentistry of Rockland County, we are skilled in detecting problems with wisdom teeth and treating them accordingly. Please contact us to request more information or to schedule an appointment.
We take our patients’ privacy seriously. Please refrain from providing any personal health or sensitive information. Call us at(845) 735-7500to schedule your appointment over the phone.
“The staff was very accommodating and friendly. They made me comfortable during my visit and left me satisfied with their knowledge and recommendations moving forward.”
- Dom Bonfiglio
“What a great place! Always clean, well organized and efficient, also easy to schedule with. The staff are super friendly and the dental care is better than I used to get in the city. I would really recommend the Pearl River office!”
- Anna Soloveva
“Excellent! Excellent! service ...root canal ...did not feel a thing. Everyone is professional and pleasant. Office is clean and inviting! Dentist is caring and skilled. Hygienist is excellent too!”
- Lisa M