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How do I know when to have my wisdom teeth pulled?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth that erupts, usually once you are entering adulthood, but did you know that they commonly need to be removed? Our Toronto endodontists talk about wisdom teeth and share the signs indicating that you may need to have them removed.

What are wisdom teeth and how are they different from your other teeth?

Your wisdom teeth are the last set of molar teeth which should erupt when you are between the ages of 17 and 25. These teeth are commonly referred to as the wisdom teeth. If they are healthy and straight when they erupt, wisdom teeth are generally harmless. However, there are a number of situations where the wisdom teeth don't erupt properly and can cause a plethora of issues resulting in the removal of these teeth.

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

Because of the problematic nature of these wisdom teeth, your dentist will often begin recommending their removal as soon as they begin to erupt in order to protect your oral health both now and in the future. In some cases, a patient will undergo another procedure (such as corrective jaw surgery) that requires their wisdom teeth to be extracted so they won’t be in the way.

By removing your wisdom teeth your dentist can help you avoid any potential issues that may develop later on down the road. Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing pain, they may still eventually cause crowding, which can lead to tooth decay as crowded teeth can be difficult to clean.

You’ll want to schedule your wisdom teeth extraction in advance, and allow a few days for recovery.

Is there a specific age when wisdom teeth should be removed?

Generally, the average age that wisdom teeth will be removed is 18. This is because the tooth roots haven’t completely formed and are hooked to the jaw bone. Once this has occurred the treatment becomes much more complicated.

What are the common signs that you should have your wisdom teeth removed?

You should contact your dentist is you begin to exhibit any of the symptoms listed below as these can indicate an issue with your teeth:

  • Sinus problems
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath (caused by plaque bacteria collecting on the wisdom teeth, or infection)
  • Pain in teeth or jaw
  • Difficulty eating
  • Gum inflammation
  • Facial swelling (caused by impacted wisdom teeth that remain below the gum surface)
  • Misaligned wisdom teeth

Will wisdom tooth extraction be painful?

Luckily, with the use of sedation and anesthesia, you are more likely to stay comfortable than in the past. In many cases, patients who have wisdom teeth pulled experience little to no discomfort, and perhaps only minor bleeding.

Before the tooth is extracted, your dentist will perform an x-ray to gain a full view of the area and the tooth will be numbed with an injectable or topical anesthetic to ensure comfort.

Once your dentist has removed the tooth, he or she will discuss tooth replacement options with you. These may include bridges or dentures.

Will I need to take time off after wisdom tooth removal surgery?

Many dentists use techniques such as IV sedation to help keep patients as comfortable and pain-free as possible.

Your appointment may take approximately an hour on average. Recovery may take a few days, with some potential discomfort and swelling within the first 2 to 3 days leaving the decision on whether or not to take time off work up to your personal preference.

During healing, eat soft foods, refrain from strenuous physical activity, and follow your dentist’s advice and post-care instructions. If you do these things you should have a smooth recovery process.

Do you think that you are experiencing a serious dental concern? Contact our Toronto endodontists for a consultation.

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