Wisdom teeth typically grow in in your late teen years or early twenties. These are the last four teeth that grow in, back behind all of the molars. Many people need to get them removed because they become impacted or otherwise cause problems. The following guide can help you get answers for some of your wisdom tooth questions.
Question: What are the signs of trouble?
Answer: Pain in the jaw, gums, neck and throat are usually the first signs of trouble. Wisdom tooth pain is not always localized to just the specific area of the tooth. The infection can also lead to the swelling of the lymph nodes in the throat, which can can also cause symptoms to present in the throat. You may also experience swelling or bleeding of the gums, and you may have difficulty chewing without pain. This is caused by an impaction or infection of the wisdom tooth.
Question: What is an impacted tooth?
Answer: An impacted tooth is one that cannot fully emerge from the gums because it is blocked by other teeth, or in the case of wisdom teeth, the jaw bone itself. This causes the roots of the tooth to grow at odd angle, sometimes interfering with other teeth or working their way into the jawbone itself. A pocket is sometimes formed if a tooth partially erupts, which can trap bacteria and also lead to gum infections.
Questions: Are there common complications with extraction?
Answer: There are always a few risks involved, but the benefits usually out weigh them. The main concerns with wisdom tooth removal is infection and bleeding, but both are avoidable if you take any antibiotics that are prescribed and keep the site properly cleaned as instructed by your dentist. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot over the empty tooth socket is washed away prematurely. Your dentist will need to clean the socket and make a temporary dressing to fix the issue.
Question: Is anesthesia used?
Answer: This depends on the procedure you need and what you and your dentist decide. Generally, a local anesthesia is always used. You may also be put partially under or given laughing gas to further help with any discomfort. Some dentists also offer sleep dentistry, which allows you to be put under completely during the procedure. The effects of anesthesia usually wear off by the following day. You will likely need someone to drive you home from the appointment, regardless of the type of anesthesia used.