How Long Should I Wait to get my Wisdom Teeth Removed?

young female at dentist

Typically, between the ages of 17 and 25, wisdom teeth appear. Wisdom teeth, also called third molars, are the last permanent teeth to appear in the mouth.
Wisdom teeth are the four permanent adult teeth that are positioned at the back four corners of your mouth. For many, wisdom teeth appear and don’t create any dental problems. For others, wisdom teeth eruptions create issues and removal may be necessary.

Why do wisdom teeth usually need to be removed?

If your wisdom tooth doesn't have the space it needs to grow, it’s known as an impacted wisdom tooth. This can cause pain to mild discomfort, infection or other dental problems, and you'll need to have the offending wisdom tooth taken out. Wisdom tooth extraction is done by your dentist or oral surgeon.

What are the signs that your wisdom teeth may be growing in?

Wisdom teeth often erupt through the gums without any symptoms, but the following signs could occur as your wisdom teeth are growing in:

  • Mild pain
  • A feeling of pressure
  • Dull throbbing in the gums near your throat or in the jaw bone
  • Gum pain as the tooth cuts through
  • Shifting teeth
  • A flap of gum tissue appears over your erupting wisdom tooth
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • For lower wisdom teeth, a feeling of getting a cold or sore throat

When do most people have their wisdom teeth removed? When will your dentist suggest removal due to certain signs?

Many people have their wisdom teeth removed when the teeth are “impacted”. Impacted wisdom teeth occur when they don't have enough room to erupt into the mouth or they develop abnormally. Impacted wisdom teeth that can signal a need for removal may:

  • Grow at a slant in the direction of the next tooth or towards the back of the mouth
  • Grow "lying down" at a right angle
  • Grow straight up, but the tooth stays confined inside the jawbone

What happens during the extraction procedure?

A local or general anesthetic is given that keeps you comfortable during the extraction. Once you’re sedated, your dentist opens the gum tissue over your wisdom tooth and removes any bone that may be blocking access to the tooth root. In some cases, the wisdom tooth is separated into sections for easier removal.
Once it’s completely removed, the area is flushed clean and sutured closed. A cotton gauze pad to control bleeding is then placed, which helps blood clots form.

What’s recovery like after a wisdom tooth extraction?

You’ll need to:

  • Replace the gauze regularly.
  • Avoid strenuous activity or lying flat, both can prolong bleeding. If bleeding continues after 24 hours, contact your doctor.
  • Use pillows to raise your head when resting.

You may need over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, so talk with your doctor about these options.

Your doctor will give you specific instructions for preventing dry sockets, a condition you’ll want to avoid, which is the loss of blood clots at the site where you had surgery. Eat soft foods. Avoid using straws when drinking during your recovery, because you don’t want to dislodge the blood clot formed at the surgery site.
Swelling and bruising can last for several days after the surgery, but using ice packs helps minimize these symptoms. Bruising may last a few days longer.

At Dental365, we provide our patients with world-class, compassionate dental care. Contact us today to find out more about wisdom teeth removal.

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