Wisdom teeth: Know when to get them pulled out and how to take care

Wisdom tooth pain can be painful, and how! It can often put people in the dilemma of whether to get their wisdom teeth pulled out or not. Let’s put rest to some of the common questions around wisdom teeth.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last set of your toughest, widest adult teeth which erupt in the back of the mouth. They come in during the late teen years or early adulthood and sometimes get partially or fully trapped in the gums or jawbone and cause pain. In such a case, these impacted wisdom teeth lead to infection, cavities, gum disease and other oral health issues. That is the reason why dentists recommend having wisdom teeth removed.

When is it a good time to have your wisdom teeth pulled out?

According to Dr Karishma Jaradi, Head Dental Surgeon, Dentzz Dental, the decision to pull out your wisdom teeth depends on whether they are causing trouble or they likely will in the future.

A dentist, before reaching a decision, will typically look into several aspects such as: Are the wisdom teeth preventing the other teeth from developing properly? Are they interfering with other dental or jaw-related treatments which you have planned? The risks associated with the surgery? After a thorough examination, if your dentist doesn’t expect them to affect your oral health, he or she may advise you to not remove them.

Tooth cavity
Wisdom teeth can affect oral health. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Are there any potential side effects of having wisdom teeth removed?

“Some people report swelling and pain in their mouth or cheeks after the surgery but it does not last long. Dry socket or alveolar osteitis, limited mouth opening and lip numbness are also some of the complications faced after wisdom teeth extraction,” adds Dr Jaradi.

It would be best to consult your dentist to know how to take care of your extraction site after the procedure to ensure proper healing. In case the pain returns after a few days or gets worse, use antiseptic mouthwashes or gels.

Tips to reduce pain after wisdom tooth extraction surgery?

Wisdom tooth extraction can give you excruciating pain and even general discomfort as far as eating is concerned. Do the following, suggests Dr Jaradi.

1. While medicine provided by your dentist can reduce the pain, holding an ice pack against your cheek can help you with swelling.

2. It is also recommended to avoid smoking cigarettes or drinking fruit juices and hot drinks during the initial days after the surgery as it can impede the healing process.

3. You can have lukewarm tea, not-too-hot soups, and foods that can be chewed easily such as potatoes, fish or pasta.

4. In addition to this, avoid doing strenuous physical activities in the first few days as it too could affect the healing process.

Remember that timely intervention is important to manage any pain related to wisdom teeth.

Dentist visit
Visit your dentist without fear! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

You must schedule an appointment with your dentist right away if you are experiencing symptoms such as sharp pain, frequent headaches, bloody saliva, or feeling a painful collection of pus growing underneath your gums.

“Everyone does not need to remove their wisdom teeth however, you should regularly keep a check on them with the help of your dentist to know whether your wisdom teeth are impacted or not,” concludes Dr Jaradi.

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