The Cause of Impacted Wisdom Teeth: On the D-List
Impacted Wisdom TeethSymptom: Painful Prehistoric Baggage
Picture this: You're enjoying a game night with friends when a battle of wits ensues. Want to know how to stump them? Talk teeth. Wisdom teeth, in particular. Because chances are, you've probably heard different things about whether to extract a wisdom tooth or not. (Everyone has an opinion, right?) But the professional truth is wisdom tooth removal isn't a blanket treatment — not everyone needs it. But if you feel wisdom teeth pain or have wisdom teeth swelling, you could have an impacted wisdom tooth that needs some TLC. Does that mean surgical tooth extraction? Maybe. But don't worry. Today's technologies make wisdom teeth extractions a cinch.
Q: How did wisdom teeth earn their name?
A: Wisdom teeth are the last molars to grow in — usually around age 20. Generally, this is the age when've gained some wisdom.
Q: In what cases should a wisdom tooth be extracted?
A: As we mentioned, not everyone has to get their wisdom teeth extracted. It depends on whether your mouth has enough room for wisdom teeth to grow in properly. In many cases, wisdom teeth don't erupt or only partially erupt (aka impacted wisdom teeth).
Wisdom teeth that do fully erupt sometimes grow in sideways. All of these problems can cause wisdom teeth pain, wisdom teeth swelling, infection, tooth decay and cysts, which makes extraction necessary. In some cases, a wisdom tooth is removed as a preventative measure - so that you can avoid pain and a complicated extraction later.
Q: Does a wisdom tooth extraction hurt?
A: The actual wisdom tooth removal procedure doesn't hurt because the area is numbed with a local anesthesia. On the day following the removal of your wisdom teeth, pain may set in. You may experience some wisdom teeth swelling as well. This is normal. And, in most cases, your dentist will give you a painkiller prescription to make post-op recovery more comfortable. What's not normal is if the pain continues after a couple of days or gets worse. This could be a sign of dry socket, which requires the immediate attention of a dentist.