Of all the age-defining milestones you have to look forward to in your late teens and early twenties, having your wisdom teeth come in has to be the most uncomfortable.
Your wisdom teeth are the final set of molars you get. When they come in properly, they typically cause no issues. However, in some cases, they might come in misaligned or not erupt properly, causing pain, discomfort, and other dental problems.
At LivWell Dentistry in San Francisco and San Ramon, California, Dr. Wenli Loo and Dr. Steve Deng have encountered their fair share of problematic wisdom teeth, making them experts at determining when they need to come out.
Here, we help you understand why your wisdom teeth can sometimes be a cause of concern and what you can do about it.
Should you be concerned about your wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth can be prone to problems for many reasons. For starters, they can be hard to reach when brushing and flossing, making them a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, which causes tooth decay and gum disease.
In many cases, your jaw may not be large enough to accommodate your wisdom teeth, which causes crowding that can cause pain and discomfort to the neighboring teeth.
To extract or not to extract?
There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. To determine if your wisdom teeth need to be removed, we need to examine your teeth properly at the clinic. The position of your wisdom teeth, your oral health, and the potential impact on the surrounding teeth are all factors we consider.
When is extraction necessary?
Extraction is sometimes necessary to ease your discomfort and improve your oral health. These cases include:
- Impacted teeth, which can lead to pain, discomfort, and infection
- Overcrowding, which can push other teeth out of alignment
- Limited access, making them hard to clean and increasing your risk of cavities and gum disease
- You aren’t at risk of developing complications during surgery
- Your wisdom teeth are coming in crooked
If your wisdom teeth are healthy, fully emerged, correctly aligned, and functional, they might not need removal. However, it's crucial to come in for regular dental visits so that we can monitor these teeth.
What to expect from the extraction process
Extraction can be simple or surgical. The method we choose will depend on the position and health of your wisdom teeth. After the removal, we'll give you detailed instructions on how to care for the extraction area.
It would help to avoid the area for a few days when eating, brushing, or flossing. We'll also prescribe painkillers to help ease pain and discomfort after the extraction.
If you experience significant swelling, you can hold an ice pack against that cheek for a few days. You should also avoid stressful physical activities like sports for a couple of days to help the healing process.
Wisdom teeth don't necessarily need to be removed. They do need to be carefully monitored to prevent any complications. If you're concerned about your wisdom teeth or you’re experiencing pain and discomfort, book an appointment with us online or call 415-477-3700.