Wisdom teeth 101

Every year, five million people have their wisdom teeth removed, according to Vox. It is a common surgery, especially among younger people. Most people will have issues with their wisdom teeth, and have them extracted between their late teenage years and early twenties. But how often do you stop to think about what wisdom teeth removal means for your oral health?   

It all starts with a simple question. 

What are wisdom teeth? 

Wisdom teeth are a set of four teeth which grow at the back of the mouth. They are also known as “third molars,” since they pop up behind the back molars.  

Why are they removed? 

Most human jaws are not large enough to accommodate wisdom teeth. As the teeth grow in, they squish other teeth together and crowd the mouth. They can make teeth crooked, even after braces. They can also cause tooth decay and gum infection. This is why most dentists will recommend their patients to undergo wisdom teeth extraction. However, some patients may experience no issues with their wisdom teeth. In these cases, wisdom teeth extraction may not be necessary.  

How do they impact oral health? 

Before removal, wisdom teeth can crowd the mouth and lead to tooth decay or infection. After removal, most of these issues will be solved. However, directly after surgery, it is important to care for the sockets properly. Eating salty, hard or sticky foods too soon, or drinking out of a straw can lead to dry sockets.  

It is important to rest and use antimicrobial mouthwash after surgery. Cold compresses and icepacks can help reduce swelling around the face.   

If you’re wondering about your wisdom teeth, and whether you should have them removed, book an appointment with Jackson Dental! We’ll check out your wisdom teeth, and give you advice on the next steps for your oral health. Call us at (573) 243-5200 or stop by our office at 3100 E Jackson Blvd., Jackson, Mo., to schedule an appointment!