Wisdom teeth are the third molars on the upper and lower jaws. They are the last adult teeth to emerge and typically emerge when someone is in their late teens or early twenties.
Why are Wisdom Teeth So Troublesome?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to emerge, and there is often not enough space in the jaw to accommodate them. As a result, they can get trapped under the gum tissue by bone or other teeth. Trapped wisdom teeth are often described as “impacted,” and impacted teeth can cause tenderness, swelling and damage to neighboring teeth.
Sometimes, the wisdom tooth does erupt, but at an improper angle. In some cases, the tooth will erupt horizontally, or other times only partially, so only part of the tooth is above the gum line. That can create a passage for bacteria and increase the risk of infection or gum disease. Even if the wisdom tooth erupts normally and seems to be fine, it is still hard to reach to clean properly.
Our orthodontist may recommend removing wisdom teeth in order to prevent future problems, even if they have erupted normally. Extracting a wisdom tooth is easier and much less likely to cause complications if it is done before the patient is 20 years old because the wisdom tooth’s roots aren’t fully formed as of yet. Also, a young patient will have a significantly lower recovery time from the surgery than an older patient.
Other problems associated with wisdom teeth include the following:
• Fluid-filled sacs called cysts
• Tooth decay
What’s the Recovery Like?
The recovery period typically lasts a few days. The patient will be given gauze pads to help stop bleeding, and they should change them periodically. They should sleep with their head elevated at least the first night.
During the first few days, the patient should eat soft foods. They should not smoke or use a straw, for the sucking motion could loosen the blood clot and slow healing. Smoking can also increase the risk of infection by introducing contaminants to the wound. After the first day, the patient should gently rinse their mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce pain and swelling.
Trust the Experts at Runnels Orthodontics
A wisdom tooth extraction is generally performed by an oral surgeon. At Runnels Orthodontics, Dr. Runnels and his team will be able to monitor the presence of your wisdom teeth and provide proactive advice on your next step regarding the possibility of wisdom teeth removal. We have offices in Panama City Beach and Destin, and happily serve the following areas: Panama City, Panama City Beach, Rosemary Beach, Seaside, Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Freeport, Niceville and Fort Walton Beach. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more about the status of your wisdom teeth.