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How do I know when to have my wisdom teeth pulled?

Are you worried about your wisdom teeth and wondering if you should have them extracted? Our Family Dental Care - Downtown location dentists provide some information about signs that you may need your wisdom teeth removed.

What are wisdom teeth?

For most people, the rear molars will emerge anytime between the late teens and early twenties. These rear molars are known as wisdom teeth. For many people, these teeth will be healthy and straight when they erupt and generally harmless. However, for some people these molars may come in misaligned, or cannot erupt completely, dental surgery may be recommended so your wisdom teeth can be removed.

When should I consider having my wisdom teeth removed?

In order to prevent future complications, your dentist may recommend removing these wisdom teeth. In some cases, a patient will undergo another procedure (example: corrective jaw surgery) that requires their wisdom teeth to be extracted so they won’t be in the way.

If possible the wisdom teeth should be removed at the first sign of possible issues, well before they create any problems or infection. Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing pain, they may still eventually cause crowding, which can lead to tooth decay as crowded teeth can be difficult to clean.

You’ll want to schedule your wisdom teeth extraction in advance and plan for a few days at home while you recover.

At what age is it best to have wisdom teeth removed?

Usually, most people are around the age of 18 when their dentist decided to remove their wisdom teeth. This is because the tooth roots haven’t completely formed and haven't yet hooked onto the jaw bone. Once this happens, the procedure and recovery process can be more difficult.

What are some signs that wisdom teeth should be removed?

If you begin to notice any of the following symptoms you should contact your dentist, as your wisdom teeth could be causing problems:

  • Sinus problems
  • Headaches
  • Bad breath (caused by plaque bacteria collecting on the wisdom teeth, or infection)
  • Pain in teeth or jaw
  • Difficulty eating
  • Gum inflammation
  • Facial swelling (caused by impacted wisdom teeth that remain below the gum surface)
  • Misaligned wisdom teeth

Is wisdom teeth extraction painful?

Luckily, dentists now use sedatives and anesthetics to ensure that you are as comfortable as possible throughout the extraction process. In many cases, patients who have wisdom teeth pulled experience little to no discomfort, and perhaps only minor bleeding.

Before the tooth is extracted, your dentist will numb the area around the tooth with an injectable or topical anesthetic to ensure comfort.

Once your dentist has removed the tooth, he or she will discuss tooth replacements options with you. These may include bridges or dentures.

How long is recovery from wisdom teeth extraction?

It is common for dentists to use techniques such as IV sedation so the procedure is as comfortable as possible for patients.

Expect to be in and out of your appointment in about an hour. Recovery takes a few days, with some potential discomfort and swelling within the first 2 to 3 days.

During healing, eat soft foods, refrain from strenuous physical activity, and follow your dentist’s advice and post-care instructions. If you do these things you should have a smooth recovery process.

Are you considering whether you should have your wisdom teeth removed? Our dentists at Family Dental Care - Downtown in Prince George can provide advice on whether your wisdom teeth should be extracted.

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