If you’re standing in a crowd of people at a party, one fun thing to do is to bring up the dental industry. People always have dental stories to tell, so it’s a great ice breaker. One sure fire way to spark up a dental conversation is to bring up the topic of wisdom teeth. People tend to have a lot of opinions about wisdom teeth because there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding them. You’ll hear people ask questions like, “Why doesn’t everybody have a full set of wisdom teeth?” or “Why do some people need them removed in their late teens, while others don’t need the procedure done until as late as their thirties?” or “Won’t removing my wisdom teeth just make me less wise?” While that last one might be a little corny, the truth remains that a lot of people have scarce or inaccurate information about wisdom teeth - especially when it comes to knowing when they need to be removed.
In most cases, you’ll find out that you need your wisdom teeth removed after having X-rays taken during your regular dental checkup. If an X-ray shows that the wisdom tooth is misaligned or partially erupting through the gums, then they will likely suggest an extraction. However, there are some instances when a patient’s pain alerts the dentist that the teeth need to be extracted. This usually happens when the wisdom teeth erupt and crowd the nearby teeth. If a wisdom tooth erupts through the gums partially, your mouth may become even more vulnerable to infection and tooth decay.
If you’re an adult who still has wisdom teeth, and it’s been a long time since your last dental X-ray, then it’s a good idea to schedule a checkup so that your dentist can examine the growth process and determine whether an extraction should be scheduled. You should also schedule an X-ray if you’re experiencing any of the following, as they could be signs that your wisdom teeth need to come out.
- A stiff or painful jaw
- Pain at the tooth
- Swollen gums
- Signs of gum disease in the back of the mouth
While you may have heard horror stories from friends and family about getting wisdom teeth extracted, the procedure doesn’t have to be painful or agonizing. In fact, the vast majority of patients experience only mild discomfort in the days following the procedure. If you still have your wisdom teeth, and you’re curious about your options, make an appointment at Southfield Family Dental Center today!