For teens and young adults, the arrival of wisdom teeth is often viewed with some trepidation. They may have heard stories from friends and family members about the process of wisdom teeth extraction and the recovery. Here are some straight facts about wisdom teeth and their removal to put you at ease and help separate truth from fiction.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third molars. They typically arrive between 15 and 25 years of age, when you are starting to learn some of life’s lessons – thus the name. Of course, by this time, you already have a full set of adult teeth.
Will Everyone Get Wisdom Teeth?
No, the amount of wisdom teeth, if any, varies from person to person. Some people have no wisdom teeth, while others will get two to four. It is even possible to have more than four wisdom teeth.
Why do Wisdom Teeth have to be Removed?
Not all wisdom teeth have to be removed, although it’s usually the case that wisdom teeth need to be extracted due to crowding. Since you already have all your adult teeth, there is often no room for your wisdom teeth to erupt, or break through the gums. If wisdom teeth are allowed to come in anyway, they can shift your other teeth out of position and even cause infections.
Using x-rays, your dentist will be able to see your wisdom teeth long before they actually arrive. An extraction can then be scheduled. Your dentist may ask you not to eat or drink for about 12 hours prior to the procedure, but you’ll receive detailed preparation instructions that you should follow. When you arrive to the office, you’ll be sedated. This is not general anesthesia and there is almost always no need for hospitalization with wisdom teeth extraction.
The entire procedure takes less than two hours. Afterwards, you’ll be groggy and probably won’t be able to remember much about the extraction. You won’t be able to drive and will need a responsible adult to take you home. Your dentist will most likely provide you with a prescription to help with any pain.
Aftercare of your wisdom teeth extraction is very important to prevent infection and other complications. Follow your dentist’s instructions exactly and don’t hesitate to call their office if you encounter any problems.
Wisdom teeth are a part of life, but their removal doesn’t have to be scary. Your dentist has performed the procedure many times before and is an expert. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask questions and always follow your dentist’s advice.