Wisdom Teeth FAQ
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are sometimes referred to as third molars. They are the last molars to come in at the back of the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, one each on the top and the bottom on both sides of the mouth. However, some individuals never develop all four teeth and may have one, two, or three wisdom teeth.
At what age do we get wisdom teeth?
Most people do not get their wisdom teeth until they are in their late teens or early twenties, when they have supposedly become wiser, which is where the term “wisdom teeth” originates. Wisdom teeth typically come in between 17-25 years of age.
Do we all have wisdom teeth?
No. Some people only develop a few wisdom teeth or none at all. Those with wisdom teeth often develop complications because there is insufficient room in the back of the mouth for them to erupt fully.
What are the symptoms of wisdom teeth problems?
If your wisdom teeth fully emerge and have enough room not to disturb the adjacent teeth, you may not have any symptoms. However, many patients have wisdom teeth that do not fully emerge or emerge crooked, intruding on other teeth. Symptoms may include:
- Pain and inflammation in the back of the mouth
- Discharge from infection or an abscess
- Bleeding in the back of the mouth
- Swelling and tenderness around the teeth
- Jaw pain
- Painful chewing
- Inability to fully open your mouth without pain
- Unexplained, recurrent headaches or earaches
Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
If a wisdom tooth cannot erupt fully, it may become impacted, leading to pressure on adjoining teeth, infection, and other complications. If there is not enough room in the back of the mouth, misalignment and overcrowding can damage other teeth. This makes proper cleaning and care of wisdom teeth difficult.
Even when wisdom teeth fully emerge, they can be prone to issues later in life. They must be carefully monitored throughout your life. Having your wisdom teeth removed before they become a problem is one way to protect yourself from dental complications in the future.
When should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
We recommend having your wisdom teeth extracted before they become a problem. For most people, between the ages of 17 and 20 are ideal. As you get older, the roots of the wisdom teeth grow longer and may become entangled with nerve bundles in the lower jaw. This makes removal more complicated and can cause nerve damage.
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
If the third molars cannot fully break through because there is not enough room, it is said to be impacted. Impacted teeth often lead to inflammation, pain, and infection.
What problems may arise if my wisdom teeth are not removed?
- Inflammation & pain
- Infected gums
- Sinus problems
- Jawbone damage
- Damage to other teeth
- Misaligned teeth
How much does wisdom teeth removal cost?
At your initial consultation, we examine your teeth and the surrounding area, take digital images, and determine the complexity of the surgery. The number of teeth being removed also impacts the cost. At the end of your consultation, we provide an accurate cost analysis, so there are no surprises.
Am I sedated during wisdom teeth removal?
Most patients prefer to be sedated during wisdom tooth surgery, which can last one to two hours. We offer our patients nitrous oxide, IV sedation, and general anesthesia. To choose the safest, most effective option for you, we will review your medical history, allergies, and any other issues that could affect your level of sedation.
Does the surgery hurt?
You do not feel any pain during surgery. We use a local anesthetic on the area and perform surgery while you are under sedation. When you wake up, you do not remember the procedure. Once the anesthetic wears off, you will have some mild pain and swelling for a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication and ice packs keep your discomfort under control.
How long is the recovery phase?
You will need to rest at home for a few days following wisdom teeth removal. Avoid strenuous activities, do not go to work or school, and get plenty of sleep and fluids. Most patients are fully recovered within a week to 10 days.
Will I have stitches?
Dissolving sutures are used to stitch closed the extraction sites. Within a few weeks, these will dissolve and fall out. You do not have to return to the office to have them removed.
If you or your child needs their wisdom teeth removed, schedule an initial consultation with us at 843-554-5003 or use our online registration form, and we will contact you to confirm your appointment.