Wisdom teeth removal has become a routine surgical procedure that generally requires only a short recovery time. Depending upon your age, your wisdom teeth's positioning within your jaws, the number of wisdom teeth you’re removing, and your overall health, you may need as little as a few days to a week to recover completely.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are located at the back of your mouth behind your second molars. Wisdom teeth are generally the last adult teeth to erupt into your mouth. However, most people's wisdom teeth never fully erupt from their gums into their mouths due to lack of space or due to what’s called impaction, where their wisdom teeth are stuck within their jaws.
Why Do My Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Extracted?
Generally, teenage patients pursue wisdom teeth removal in order to prevent problems later in life. In adult patients, though, most oral surgeons consider wisdom teeth removal on a case-by-case basis–removing only teeth determined to be causing complications.
Some of the reasons why wisdom teeth are recommended for extraction include the following:
As just mentioned, impaction means that a tooth is stuck in a way that prevents its successful eruption into the mouth. For instance, other teeth could crowd it to where it cannot emerge, or the tooth may be turned on its side or at an odd angle. If an oral surgeon determines that one or more of your wisdom teeth are impacted, it is more likely that you will be recommended for extraction, depending upon the anticipated difficulty of the teeth to remove.
Sometimes, a wisdom tooth erupts part way but remains partially covered by bone and/or gum tissue. This tends to cause both pain and infection, as the area becomes difficult to clean. Even as an adult, your oral surgeon may encourage removal of partially impacted wisdom teeth due to these teeth’s track record for causing cavities, bone loss, and damage to adjacent teeth.
Malposition of Teeth
Occasionally, wisdom teeth may erupt in a problematic position, or may push other teeth out of alignment, leading to stressed and crooked neighbors. When wisdom teeth have erupted into your mouth in a harmful way, your oral surgeon may recommend removal.
Wisdom Teeth Surgery
If your oral surgeon recommends wisdom teeth removal, you will be informed about the procedure's risks and benefits. You will have a consultation appointment where your oral surgeon will take highly-detailed digital x-rays to safely plan your surgery.
Wisdom teeth surgery is typically routine, although removing impacted teeth in an adult patient may take extra time. You will often have more swelling and bruising if your teeth are impacted.
After your wisdom teeth surgery, make sure that you take enough time off from school, work, or sports to recover. Most patients can resume sedentary activities within a day or two after the procedure but returning to physical activities may take a few days to a week. Generally, you’re advised to avoid contact sports for 2 weeks following wisdom teeth surgery.
Make sure to have plenty of ice packs and heating pads on hand, and plan to remain on a soft diet until your gums have healed. You may have some residual soreness in your jaws for 2 to 3 weeks after surgery.
Younger Patients Recover Faster
It is essential to consider that younger patients recover more quickly than patients in their mid to late twenties, thirties, or older. If your oral surgeon determines that your wisdom teeth should come out, having the surgery as a teen or young adult is often more manageable than waiting until later when your wisdom teeth may have caused more significant problems.
Call Manchester Oral Surgery
If your dentist has informed you that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, or if you are experiencing any problems, call our office at 603-622-9441 to make an appointment for a consultation. We will explain the procedure and answer any questions you may have.