Dealing with wisdom teeth is an unavoidable part of growing up. But they don’t have to be a literal pain. Knowing some important facts about these late-arriving teeth will help you understand more about them, what to expect, and what your oral surgeon can do to help you. So read on for more information about how wisdom teeth “impact” you or your child.
They’re Late to the Party
It varies, but wisdom teeth generally make their appearance around 16 to 24 years of age, once the patient has had some time to become “wise.” They erupt in the very back of the mouth, behind the other teeth. The problem is that by the time they arrive, all the spaces have usually already been taken by other molars.
This issue is called impaction, and it can lead to pain and dislocation of the other teeth. Fortunately, an oral surgeon can remove the wisdom teeth before they become a problem.
Everyone is Different
Although most people end up having four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom, a few people get five, and some have none at all. It all depends on genetics.
So how can your oral surgeon tell how many wisdom teeth you’ll eventually have? Simple! X-rays will show the teeth long before they erupt through the gums so that you and your oral surgeon can make a plan together.
The Removal Isn’t That Bad
While oral surgery can sure sound intimidating, the procedure is not actually that bad. Oral surgeons have extensive experience with wisdom teeth removal, and the operation is very routine. Naturally, you’ll need to let your oral surgeon know your medical history and any allergies you may have.
You won’t have to check into a hospital, the procedure only takes a few hours, and you usually will not be under general anesthesia. In fact, most of the time, the oral surgeon uses something called conscious sedation. It’s a mixture of painkillers and a medication to help you relax. You’ll drift off to sleep and when you wake up, it will be all done.
Of course, your vital signs will be monitored the entire time. When you’re done, you’ll be a little woozy, so you will need someone to drive you home.
Aftercare is Important
Your surgeon will send you home with some medications and important aftercare instructions. These include directions about keeping your mouth clean, what you can eat and drink, and things to watch out for. Follow these instructions closely, as they are important to prevent infection and other complications. If you have any questions or think anything may be wrong, contact your oral surgeon’s office immediately.
While it may not be a fun experience, having your wisdom teeth removed doesn’t have to be scary. More importantly, the procedure can prevent future pain and major dental problems. Speak with your dentist or oral surgeon in Denver if you have any questions or concerns. They’ll be happy to help.