If you were alive millennia ago, there might have been a day in your late teen years when you might have thought: “Wow, I wish I had another set of molars!” Back in those days, your jaw would have been large enough to accommodate an extra molar in each quarter of your mouth. Your diet of raw meats and plants wore down your other teeth pretty quickly and by the time you were in your late teens or early twenties, you may have needed new molars to eat what needed to be eaten. Fast forward several millennia, though, and that’s no longer the case. Today, we don’t need a fourth set of molars in our jaws. The diets of modern humans don’t wear out molars the way our cousins of millennia ago experienced. Our jaws have shrunk since then, too. We just don’t have room to accommodate more molars without disrupting or distorting the alignment of our other teeth.
For all these reasons, your dentist in Indian Land may recommend that you have your wisdom teeth removed before they cause any issues. After all, you just don’t need them and leaving them in place can cause no end of trouble. Here are four facts to consider about wisdom teeth and wisdom tooth extractions near you if your dentist has made that recommendation.
Wisdom teeth can cause no end of troubles that extraction can prevent
Because our jaws are smaller than they once were and usually already full when wisdom teeth begin to emerge, wisdom teeth frequently become impacted (stuck) under other teeth and unable to break through. Wisdom teeth that become impacted (in whole or in part) can cause pain, infections, damage to other teeth or even twist other teeth out of position. Extracting those unnecessary wisdom teeth before they emerge can prevent the teeth in the back of your jaw from being crowded or pushed out of position; wisdom teeth from becoming impacted; and the increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease on and around overcrowded teeth.
Here’s what will happen during an extraction
A maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist in Indian Land extracts wisdom teeth in routine and safe medical procedures. There are three basic steps to wisdom tooth extractions in Indian Land:
- In most cases, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area of the extraction. If you’re having several teeth removed in an expectedly complex procedure, your dentist may recommend general anesthesia
- While some wisdom tooth extractions are more complex than others, the basic steps of each procedure are the same. Your dentist will make an incision in the gums over your wisdom teeth, remove any jaw bone tissue covering the tooth, separate the tissues that hold your tooth to your jaw, and then remove the tooth
- Your dentist will place stitches (either self-dissolving stitches or stitches that will be removed a few days later) over the site of your extraction to protect your blood clots, to promote healing and to prevent infection
Here’s how to ensure a speedy and comfortable recovery
Be sure to follow your dentist’s after-care instructions even if they are different from the tips listed below. Here, though are some general tips for recovering from a wisdom tooth extraction during a recovery period that typically takes several days.
Do not drink with a straw or spit during recovery, to protect your clot
Eat only soft and lukewarm foods and thin soups
Avoid engaging in any strenuous physical activity for several days
Rest as much as possible and keep your head elevated when lying down
Use over-the-counter pain medications as directed and cold compresses to reduce pain and swelling
When is the best time to have wisdom teeth pulled? Before they cause any serious problems that will require more complex or stressful procedures to treat. If you’ve reached your mid to late teens and are concerned about the risks of emerging dental teeth, as a dentist near you to examine your mouth and jaw and determine if wisdom tooth extractions are appropriate.