As your teenager gets older, you may eventually hear your dentist say that it’s time have their wisdom teeth removed. Some parents wonder whether removing the teeth is truly necessary to their child’s dental health. After all, it seems like a potentially expensive process and the idea of putting a child under anesthesia can make parents extremely apprehensive.
Before you make a decision on when or if you should remove the wisdom teeth, it helps to know a few of the basics. If you have lots of questions about wisdom teeth removal, this guide can help you to put your mind at ease.
Why Should Wisdom Teeth Come Out?
Young adults and teenagers who finally have these teeth grow in often experience pain and discomfort both during the growing process and beyond. When there’s pain involved with the teeth, most parents don’t question whether they should be removed. Fortunately, not everyone experiences pain with their wisdom teeth. This does, however, make wisdom teeth removal a little more difficult to decide on for parents.
Unlike the other teeth, the jaw typically doesn’t contain enough space to house these additional teeth. In the present moment, your child may not experience any pain with their new teeth. They may not have even fully erupted to the surface just yet.
Because the jaw may not have enough room to accommodate the newer wisdom teeth, they can grow in at odd angles. Wisdom teeth can pose a problem for the rest of the mouth long before they’re ever seen or felt on the surface of the gums. They can fight for their right to erupt by growing in at an angle and competing with nearby molars. It isn’t uncommon to see these four new teeth cause significant problems for the other molars directly next to them.
Most dentists will recommend wisdom teeth to be removed before they become an issue. Particularly if this issue can be visibly seen on an x-ray, your dentist may advise removing them preemptively before larger issues can occur. It’s rare to see a patient who has a jaw large enough to keep and maintain their wisdom teeth safely.
Do I Have to Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Many people want to know how they can tell if they could be the exception to the common route of having the wisdom teeth removed. For most individuals, this is a wait-and-see type of game that is difficult to predict in advance. Some people will truly have enough room for their wisdom teeth to develop and never need them taken out.
The other main concern is that your wisdom teeth may not come in all the way. These are known as impacted wisdom teeth, and they can cause severe pain. One of the major causes for concern with impacted wisdom teeth is the development of cysts or tumors. According to research from the National Institutes of Health, many patients with these third molars or wisdom teeth developed cysts or tumors, even though malignancy was rare.
Parents and patients may both prefer to wait to see what happens with the wisdom teeth over the coming months or years. Unfortunately, this hesitancy toward wisdom teeth removal can make for a more complicated and painful surgery.
It’s ideal to remove the wisdom teeth before they have the opportunity to form a solid root. The more time the tooth has to grow and develop, the more intensive and laborious the surgery will ultimately become. While it is typically no problem for the dentist to still remove the wisdom teeth under these conditions, it does make for a longer recovery time for patients.
What is the Procedure Like?
Having your wisdom teeth removed rightfully fills many patients with trepidation. Knowing what to expect from the process can put your mind at ease and give you more confidence in moving forward with the surgery.
The procedure itself typically takes less than an hour to complete. You may receive one of several different types of sedation depending on your unique circumstances. Dentists may use local anesthesia such as Novocain to numb the affected area or they could use general or IV sedation to keep you drowsy or asleep during the surgery.
Following the proper amount of time for the anesthesia to kick in, your dentist will begin the procedure. There will likely be a need to cut into the gums or bone to remove the tooth. The wound will be sewn up with stitches that dissolve over the course of the next few days.
Upon arriving home that afternoon, you may experience more bleeding from where the wisdom teeth were removed. This is completely normal and gauze pads can absorb most of it for the first day. It’s normal to experience facial swelling and some pain or discomfort for the first three to four days following the surgery.
During this time, you will want to stick to eating soft foods or liquids. You will not be able to eat hard or crunchy foods that could reopen the wound and cause excess bleeding. Drink lots of fluids to help speed up the healing process. Be aware that you won’t be able to drink through a straw until your mouth is fully healed.
To minimize swelling and help with pain, you may apply an ice pack to your face.
It’s very important to take all prescriptions the doctor gives you to help with healing and swelling. Take them as prescribed to prevent issues with the healing process.
Getting your wisdom teeth removed doesn’t have to be a scary process if you know what to expect. For most individuals, it is a necessary life event in order to preserve their other teeth and their long-term dental health. You can contact Markham Dental Centre today to ask any other questions you may have regarding wisdom teeth removal or an in-office consultation!