What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are your four back molars and are relatively superfluous teeth as they are so far back in the mouth that they do not aid in the chewing process. The teeth generally erupt between ages 17 and 20 and represent the final stages of dental development in a human. While they are a natural part of your mouth, they can cause some dental problems if not addressed.

Why Might My Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?

Wisdom teeth only need to be removed if they are causing you problems. If the wisdom tooth grows in at an angle it can cause damage to the surrounding teeth. This can lead to additional issues, such as gum irritation, bleeding, jaw aches, and headaches. Sometimes wisdom teeth do not always fully erupt and can cause a patient discomfort. The only way to alleviate the pain is to remove the tooth. You do not really need your wisdom teeth, so if you are having any health problems as a result, then it’s usually best to see a dentist.

Is it Safe to Keep My Wisdom Teeth?

If your wisdom teeth erupt straight and cause no issues to the teeth around them or to you, then there is no need for an unnecessary surgery. In fact, wisdom tooth removal surgery accounts for 10 million unneeded surgeries in the United States alone on a yearly basis. Recovery from the surgery can be painful. There is also a risk of infection, as well as dry sockets, so it is important to get a second opinion and share your concerns with your dentist before moving forward with surgery to remove the teeth.

I have Decided to Get the Surgery, What Should I Do After?

After surgery, you need to make sure you have someone to drive you home, especially if you have to be put under general anesthesia. Also, it may be difficult to eat post-surgery so patients are often advised to maintain a soft food diet until they have recovered. Some options for your temporary diet include:

  • Gelatin
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Broth / Soup
  • Apple Sauce
  • Hummus
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Mashed Pumpkin
  • Ice Cream
  • Pudding
  • Smoothies

This list is not exhaustive. Basically, you should eat things that you don’t have to chew. In terms of medication, you may be prescribed painkillers and other drugs depending on how your surgery went. You should finish any courses of medicine given to you, such as antibiotics. If you experience any complications, such as dizziness, excessive bleeding, numbness of the face, or other issues, then you should seek medical treatment straight away. Some of these symptoms, while not common, can cause life-threatening medical emergencies.

In the end, even if you are being caused problems by your wisdom teeth, it is up to you if you decide to have surgery, but if the teeth are causing you problems then they really need to be removed. To speak to a San Marcos dentist, or to schedule a consultation, contact the office of Dr. Larry D. Molenda, D.D.S., located in San Marcos, TX.