Everything you need to know about wisdom teeth removal.
Wisdom teeth can seem so unfair, afflicting some patients, but not others. Here’s how wisdom teeth work.
We’ve had a lot of reaction to our recent blogs on the topic of wisdom teeth, and it seems that very many of you out there have either had problems yourself, or perhaps members of your household are starting to exhibit symptoms of wisdom teeth problems.
First of all, let us answer the main question we’ve been receiving: Why don’t wisdom teeth appear with the rest of our adult teeth?
That’s a great question. You’d be tempted to assume that, logically speaking, your wisdom teeth form part of your adult teeth, so they should be arriving from the age of 8 or thereabouts.
The fact of the matter, however, is that the arrival of your various teeth takes place in a very highly organized manner. The first molar appears around the age of six, and in another six years or so, the second molar should be nudging through.
As part of the lottery of life, some people will never get wisdom teeth – and good luck to them. But if you're one of the unlucky punters who do, you’ll generally find yourself looking at one to four wisdom teeth.
The big problem with wisdom teeth owes much to the evolution of the human species. As our food has become softer and more easily bitten and chewed, the human jaw has become smaller over tens of thousands of years. Because of this, there’s less room for the new arrivals, which means that you get impacted wisdom teeth, i.e. they’re blocked by the surrounding teeth.
Another problem is that, if the tooth only partially erupts (breaks out of the gum), bits of food can become trapped in the surrounding gum tissue. At best, this can lead to the growth of bacteria, but at worst, it can lead to very serious infection.
What happens if I have to get my wisdom teeth removed?
If you do have to opt for wisdom teeth extraction, it’s better to have it done sooner or later. The surgery is usually less complex and less painful if the roots are caught when they’re about two-thirds developed.
Having wisdom teeth removed is usually more dramatic than a normal tooth extraction, so you need to take care of yourself afterwards. Here are some hints to help you get over the process:
• Don’t be shy about taking any painkillers that your dentist prescribes for you. Take them early, as prevention of pain is better than curing of pain.
• Use an icepack on the outside of your face to keep the swelling down.
• Avoid too much movement for the first 24 hours – it will give your operation wound a better chance to heal quickly.
• When you're rinsing or spitting, try not to dislodge the blood clot that’s stopping further bleeding.
• Once you’ve got over the first 24 hours, you can start to rinse with warm, salty water.
We’re here to help
If you think you may be facing wisdom teeth removal somewhere down the line, come in to us as soon as possible and let’s discuss your options.