Category: Author: Taylor
What Are They?
Your wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes they can be a valuable asset to your mouth when they’re healthy and aligned properly, but more often than not– they cause problems and need to be extracted.
About 33% of people never get their wisdom teeth, and if you’re one of them– consider yourself lucky. They usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25. There are a number of reasons why you might need to have them removed, but the 3 main reasons are impaction, overcrowding, or pain.
Impaction is the most common reason your wisdom teeth need to be taken out. An impacted tooth is a tooth that gets blocked as it’s erupting through the gum into your mouth.
An impacted tooth can be painless and you may not even realize it’s there. However, when an impacted wisdom tooth tries to come in, the flap of gum on top of it can become infected and swollen. This can hurt and might even cause pain in your nearby teeth, or in the ear on that side of your face.
An impacted tooth can lead to an infection called pericoronitis. If left untreated, this infection can spread to your throat or into your neck and may even require a hospital stay and surgery.
Essentially, your mouth can hold 28 teeth, but including your wisdom teeth, you have about 32 teeth all looking for space. When your wisdom teeth come in, they can mess up the spacing in your mouth and shift your other teeth around. Not only is this bad aesthetically speaking, but if they get too overcrowded– it can lead to impaction.
If you visit us regularly, Dr. Theriot will keep track of your wisdom teeth and let you know if they start to cause spacing issues in your mouth and need to be removed.
If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, for any reason– it’s time for us to extract them. Call us right away if you ever feel any pain in your back teeth. The sooner we can remove them, the better.
Recovery & Aftercare
Immediately following your surgery, we recommend you ice your cheeks as much as possible to prevent swelling. After 24 hours, ice has no real impact on swelling. However, if it helps control your pain– feel free to continue to use it. Swelling and jaw stiffness may continue for 7-14 days and is a normal reaction to the surgery.
After surgery, avoid drinking through a straw and spitting for the first few days. Also, don’t rinse your mouth too often. If you do rinse, do so gently. Be sure to make it to any scheduled follow-up visits.
A socket is the hole in the bone where your tooth has been removed, and about 2-5% of people suffer from dry sockets after surgery. After your tooth is pulled, a blood clot forms in the socket to protect the bone and nerves underneath it. Sometimes, that clot can become dislodged or dissolve a few days after the extraction. That leaves the bone and nerve exposed to air, food, fluid, and anything else that enters your mouth. This can lead to severe pain and infection that can last up to a week. If this occurs, Dr. Theriot will need to see you right away. He can clean out the area and prescribe medication if necessary.
Make An Appointment
If you think it’s time to have your wisdom teeth removed, or you’d like to have X-rays taken to see their progress– request an appointment. We can answer any and all questions you might have. We look forward to seeing you!
At the Lafayette Dentist office of John C. Theriot, DDS and Associates, we love caring for your smile. In fact, our staff has earned a reputation for providing a warm, comfortable, and relaxing experience to our guests. Our goal is to provide you the best dental care in Lafayette.