Wisdom Teeth FAQs

Commonly Asked Questions About Wisdom Teeth

What are wisdom teeth?

The wisdom teeth are the final molars to erupt in the back of the jaw, often called third or three-year molars. Most people get their wisdom teeth between 14 and 25 years of age.

Does everyone get wisdom teeth?

No. Up to 30% of the popular do not develop wisdom teeth or develop some of them, but not all four. We are not sure why, although it may be an evolutionary adaptation. When you are a teen, your dentist should take x-rays to see whether yours are developing and if they need removing.

Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?

Most people do not have enough room in the back of the mouth for their wisdom teeth to come in properly. The teeth may become impacted, come in sideways, or push your other teeth out of alignment. If trapped (impacted) in the jawbone, they often become infected or develop cysts. If the teeth erupt only partially, they are challenging to clean and harbor bacteria that lead to tooth decay.

One of the most common results of leaving wisdom teeth in place is chronic mouth pain, inflammation, and recurring infections. Oral cysts that can lead to tumors sometimes develop. Tooth decay can also develop due to gum disease from bacteria harbored in hard-to-clean wisdom teeth.

The sooner you have your wisdom teeth removed, the easier the surgery. As you grow older, the roots of the teeth grow longer and can become entwined with nerve bundles or push into other teeth’s roots. The wisdom teeth may migrate toward the sinus cavity in the upper jaw. By removing your wisdom teeth early, you can minimize the chances of complications.

Does everyone have their wisdom teeth removed?

Although many people have their wisdom teeth removed, not everyone does. In some people, the wisdom teeth never develop, or they come in without complications. If your wisdom teeth seem to fit well and are not causing problems, your dentist may advise you to leave them alone unless there is a problem. However, because wisdom teeth are prone to decay and gum disease, your dentist will need to monitor them throughout your life.

What is the best time to have my wisdom teeth removed?

For most people, the best time is when they are in their late teens or early twenties, so the roots have not grown long enough to impinge on any nerves or disturb the surrounding teeth. Most patients have the surgery around 16 to 18 years of age.

Do all four wisdom teeth need removing?

It depends. Some people never develop all four wisdom teeth; others have them erupt safely if there is sufficient room. If only one or two wisdom teeth are a problem, you may not need to have them all removed. Your dentist will use x-rays and exam results to determine whether your wisdom teeth should come out.

How long does it take to remove wisdom teeth?

If the procedure is straightforward, removing a single wisdom tooth can take less than an hour. For impacted wisdom teeth, it may take longer. You are unconscious during wisdom teeth removal, so you will not remember how much time has passed.

How long does recovery from wisdom tooth removal take?

Full recovery takes about a week for most people, but you can return to most activities within a few days. It might take slightly longer if the surgery is complicated. For the days immediately following surgery, get lots of rest, avoid strenuous activities, and stay hydrated. Most people return to normal activities after three to four days.

Does it hurt to get your wisdom teeth removed?

The surgery does not hurt, as you are sedated while your wisdom teeth are removed. After the anesthetic wears off, you will feel some mild pain for a few days, which is easily controlled with pain medication and ice packs. Most people are relieved to discover the pain is minimal and goes away within a few days.

Am I awake during wisdom teeth surgery?

You have the option to be awake if you like, but most people prefer full sedation. We will review your options with you before scheduling your surgery. We are fully trained and experienced in all forms of dental sedation.

Is IV sedation safe?

Our doctors administer IV sedation under carefully controlled guidelines and monitor you throughout your surgery. It is one of the safest forms of sedation for dental surgery. It alleviates anxiety and any memory of the procedure.

What is an impacted wisdom tooth?

Impaction is common with wisdom teeth, as most people do not have enough room in the back of the jaw for the teeth to erupt fully. When a wisdom tooth cannot emerge from the gums, it is referred to as “impacted.” Impaction is the leading reason for wisdom tooth removal.

What is a dry socket?

A blood clot forms over the empty socket when wisdom teeth are removed. If the clot is dislodged, a dry socket develops, which can be quite painful. However, this is a temporary complication and is easily remedied by calling our office for a follow-up appointment. If you follow your post-operative care instructions, you should not develop a dry socket. Do not use drinking straws, probe the surgery site, or brush the area while healing.

For more information or to have your wisdom teeth evaluated, please contact our Hamden office at Hamden Office Phone Number 203-281-3737 or our Guilford office at Guilford Office Phone Number 203-453-4381 to schedule an appointment.


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