Wise words for Wisdom Teeth
We cringe at the thought of the pain related to those teeth. I mean really, what’s so wise about teeth who only provide unconditional pain! Let’s talk specifics and talk about wisdom teeth in more detail.
First things first, what are wisdom teeth? Most adults have four wisdom teeth which are the third and last molars which are located at the back of your mouth on each side and found both on the upper and lower side of the jaw.
These little bad boys are the last of your adult teeth to grow. Some people are extremely lucky and have no wisdom teeth development at all! They tend to grow between your late teens and early twenties but can vary. Wisdoms usually grow without any problems unless they have insufficient space for them to grow properly and become impacted. Now why are they called wisdom teeth? Well it’s because they grow at a time when you are supposedly wiser and no longer a child! This was a term created in the 1600’s.
One of the most common questions we get asked in the clinic is why do we even have wisdom teeth? Many many years ago, our ancestors ate foods that were a lot harder and tougher than what we are use to in the modern day. They needed these teeth to be able to support their diets. Fast forward to today where humans now are more use to a softer diet, these teeth have sort of become obsolete.
One thing we’re really familiar with (unfortunately) is the discomfort and the pain that comes with wisdom teeth erupting. Wisdom teeth can hurt for a few reasons. Sometimes there is not enough room for the teeth to grow causing them to push on your existing teeth.
They can also hurt if the tooth is growing sideways and hence the gum can become swollen and infected. Wisdom teeth growing through can cause discomfort for a couple of weeks, but it really varies between each person and because they grow at different times, you get to experience this pain a couple of times (lucky us!) There are some great products for discomfort available such as bonjela gel and ibuprofen. Anything with sever discomfort is highly recommended to see your dentist and discuss appropriate treatment.
To extract or to leave in?
That’s the most important question. The only person who can really answer this is your dentist. Some people have enough room in the jaws to be able to accommodate the teeth of wisdom and those people who don’t should have them taken out as they will impact the adjacent teeth and cause you all sorts of problems.
Remember you don’t have to take all four out. An OPG X-ray will show your dentist which ones might be growing side ways and which ones will cause you problems. Your dentist will also tell you if they can be taken out in chair or if a hospital visit is best. Some teeth are a little more complexed than others which means for your comfort, it may be best to go to the hospital and have a general anaesthetic. If your dentist says they can extract the tooth either in chair under local numbing or in a hospital then it comes down to personal preference.
You’re one brave trooper and have had your wisdoms taken out, now what? Recovery time can be uncomfortable for the first couple of days as the teeth are quite large and are deep so they usually require stitches. It’s normal to notice swelling and a bit of blood too. Your dentist will provide pain relief that will help ease this and also provide you with a post care treatment plan that you must follow to allow for a smooth recovery. A soft diet is also recommended for the first couple of days. The mouth is the fastest healing body part, so recovery should be relatively quick when compared to the procedure.
We hope we’ve provided you more wisdom on the wisdom tooth.