I hope you had a good week, I certainly did.   Writing this blog post gave me the opportunity to sit down and reflect on some great moments I’ve had with patients over the years.  When I tell a patient that a wisdom tooth needs to be removed, there is often some initial concern, and there are always a few questions.

Here are some of the more common, and the more memorable, questions I’ve had about wisdom teeth.

Dr. Wych Columbia Dentist Wisdom Teeth Image 1

Q: My wisdom teeth don’t hurt; do I really need to get them removed?

A: Wisdom teeth removal may be necessary – according to the American Dental Association – if:

a)  Wisdom teeth partially emerge through the gums. This increases the chance of a bacterial infection called pericoronitis.
b)  Unerupted wisdom teeth are expected to grow crooked and damage other teeth.
c)  A cyst develops around an unerupted wisdom tooth, which can damage surrounding tissue or bone.

Q:Will having my wisdom teeth removed hurt?
A:Before your wisdom teeth are pulled, the teeth and the surrounding tissue will be numbed with a local anesthetic.  A sedative is also used in some cases to control anxiety. If needed, pain can be controlled at home with medications.

Q:Can I smoke after the surgery?
A:No.  Smoking will delay healing and increase the chance of infection and a painful condition called dry socket.  The sucking action also creates pressure in your mouth, which is not good for delicate healing tissue.  Don’t smoke for at least 24 hours after surgery.

Q:What can I eat after having my wisdom teeth removed?
A:You should stick to soft foods for a few days.  Think smoothies, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, ice cream, meal replacement shakes, Jello, pudding, soup etc.  Just remember not to create suction in your mouth; straws and popsicles are off limits!

Q:Are there any other tips for a speedy recovery?
A:You should rinse with salt water a few times daily.  Be gentle and don’t rinse too much, follow your dentist’s orders.  Don’t use a straw.  Don’t drink carbonated beverages.  No alcohol.  Generally take it easy, don’t exert yourself.

Q:Do wisdom teeth make you smart?
A:Unfortunately no, they are called wisdom teeth because they erupt around age 20, when we are considered to be wiser.

Dr. Wych Columbia Dentist Wisdom Teeth Image 2If you have any concerns about your wisdom teeth you should make an appointment to see your dentist.  Your teeth may not always be wise, but your dentist is.  Call us today!

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