Getting your wisdom teeth removed can be daunting, even scary. There is a lot of talk about wisdom teeth extraction being a big deal.
The truth is, technically speaking, extracting wisdom teeth is not much different than getting any molar extracted. But there are a few factors that may complicate wisdom teeth extraction or make the experience a bit different.
Here is an overview of why getting your wisdom teeth out can differ from other tooth extraction.
Wisdom teeth differ from other adult teeth in a couple of important ways. So while extracting them may not be a completely unique procedure when compared with other tooth extraction, there are factors that make wisdom teeth distinctive. The biggest issue is that oftentimes the jaw is simply not big enough to accommodate them. As a result, a long list of potential problems can occur.
Unlike the other 28 teeth, wisdom teeth do not have corresponding “baby teeth.” When each of your other teeth comes in (“erupts”), there was a baby tooth holding its place before. This means that they are erupting through an area of the gums that had no tooth prior. It is normal to experience some discomfort when wisdom teeth erupt, although some people don’t feel anything noticeable.
When wisdom teeth do appear, they are some of your biggest teeth. Wisdom teeth are part of a group of teeth referred to as molars. Molars are designed to allow you to chew food with the large flat surface area of the tooth. They are larger than the teeth at the front of your mouth and designed for biting into food. The bigger the tooth, the bigger the root. For this reason, larger teeth are more complex to extract.
Because wisdom teeth are large, come into a new space, and there may not be enough space to accommodate them, they tend to cause more problems than other teeth. They are prone to becoming impacted, meaning the lack of space prevents them from breaking through the gums. This can be painful and even result in cysts and other issues.
Wisdom teeth can also come in at odd angles and negatively impact neighboring teeth. When they do come through, they can be overly crowded, leaving you susceptible to decay that results from difficulty cleaning them properly. While these issues are possible with other teeth, they are far more common with wisdom teeth.
When you get a tooth removed due to decay or trauma, it is often just one tooth affected. When dealing with wisdom teeth, you often need the procedure on more than one tooth. This is because your jaw is relatively symmetrical. So if one side of your jaw is not large enough to accommodate your wisdom tooth, the other side likely has the same problem. You may also have the same issue on the upper and lower jaw, meaning up to four problem teeth instead of just one.
Wisdom teeth recovery can be a little more difficult than other tooth extractions. The reasons for this include the fact that the procedure is more likely to be more complex. The size of the hole (or “socket”) left when the larger tooth is extracted will be bigger and therefore need more attention and time to heal. Also as we mentioned above, you may need multiple extractions. Don’t worry, recovery is still a short process, and your dentist will guide you through ways to recover quickly.
There are many signs you may need to consider a wisdom tooth extraction. You may experience one or more of these symptoms towards the back of your mouth:
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms and you think you may need to have your wisdom teeth (or any other teeth) extracted, contact our office right away.