A Dentist Explains Wisdom Teeth Removal

dentist in Durham, North Carolina

Before we begin to understand wisdom teeth removal, let’s examine what they are and why we have them. Your wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in your mouth. Most people that are going to have wisdom teeth will get them when they’re in their late teens or their early twenties.

Often times, those teeth, if properly aligned, can be valuable and helpful. However, when they’re misaligned and they aren’t fitting the mouth properly, they must be removed. There is a small amount of the population that don’t have any wisdom teeth at all.

Misaligned wisdom teeth can position themselves angled toward or away from the other molars, they can try to come in horizontally or they may angle inwardly or outwardly. This poor alignment may crowd or damage the other teeth in the mouth. they may cause pain in the jaw or nerves due to their position.

Other conditions that they may present are that they may be impacted. Enclosed within the tissues that are soft or the jawbone, they may not be able to fully breakthrough and erupt through the gums. This will open the mouth up for bacteria to enter the tender gums and cause infections and pain.

It can cause stiffness in the jaw, swelling, and overall feelings of malaise. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are also more prone to decay and gum disease. It’s challenging to reach the back of the mouth to properly clean misaligned teeth and flossing is nearly impossible.

How Do I Know if I have Wisdom Teeth?

When you go in for a dental exam, your dentist will typically take X-rays of your mouth. These X-rays will show whether or not you have wisdom teeth and the position that they are in if you do have them. Your dentist may be able to tell you if you’re going to require surgery to remove them or not by this X-ray.

If you’re going to need them removed, your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon so that you can begin to plan their removal. The oral surgeon may want to remove them before they begin to cause any issues. This can prevent a lot of pain and complications further down the line.

How Does An Dentist Remove Teeth?

The oral surgeon will extract your teeth using a number of different methods depending on the position of your wisdom teeth and how far along they are in their development. You’ll be given a full disclosure upon a consult with your oral surgeon regarding how they will go about the procedure and what you can expect.

If your wisdom teeth have already broken through the gums and grown as a normal molar, your oral surgeon may simply have your dentist do the extraction just like they would any other tooth that required extraction.

In some cases, the wisdom tooth must be removed surgically as it is embedded in the jawbone. This will mean that the oral surgeon must make an incision into your gums and remove the portion of bone that is just over the tooth. When this happens they will remove the tooth in sections to reduce the amount of bone that must be removed to get to the tooth.

Why There’s Not A Lot Of Room

Jaws today are smaller than our ancestors. Due to the changes in diets and the key nutrients that we’re eating in our diets, our jawbones are much smaller. Many people today have underdeveloped lower jawbones and for this reason, there isn’t enough room in the jaw for wisdom teeth.

How Long Will It Take To Recover?

Your recovery time will be dependent upon the extent to which the oral surgeon has to work to remove your wisdom teeth and how many he or she has to remove. It may take a week or a few more days depending on the anesthetic used and the extent in which they have to work on your jaw to remove your wisdom teeth.

The oral surgeon will give you a list of things you can and cannot eat after your surgical procedure. They will tell you not to use a straw so that you don’t get a condition called “dry socket” and they will require that you have a soft diet of jello and other soft foods the first few days after your wisdom teeth removal.

In many cases, you will have all of your wisdom teeth removed at once. Others may be able to keep one or two of their wisdom teeth and still, others may only have one or two wisdom teeth at all. It all depends on your genetics and family history.

Once you understand wisdom teeth removal, you can begin to understand what to anticipate and expect when yours are removed. It’s not really as scary as it sounds.


This article benefited greatly from our interview with the team.  The specialize in wisdom teeth removal, as well as other dental areas like sedation dentistry, and same day crowns, and much more.

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