What are the most common signs of adulthood? Some might answer credit card bills and student loans, while others might think of babies and wedding rings. For a lot of people, growing up often means getting troublesome but necessary wisdom tooth removals.
Wisdom teeth get their name from the fact that they usually appear when someone is at a mature age. Also known as “third molars”, they normally emerge when you’re around 17 to 21 years old. Third molars can become quite strong and beneficial to your oral health if they grow straight and properly aligned. However, if these teeth grow in an improper position, they can cause serious problems such as crooked teeth and inflamed gum tissue.
Your dentist can check for signs of an impacted wisdom tooth and recommend removal if needed. Unfortunately, a lot of rumors and misconceptions out there often scare people off from getting the surgical intervention they need before it’s too late. Here are some common misconceptions and accurate truths about wisdom tooth removal you should know.
MYTH #1: YOU’LL SUFFER A LOT OF PAIN DURING WISDOM TOOTH REMOVAL
Unless your dentist is a sadistic maniac or an unlicensed fraud, they aren’t going to horribly torment you for more than an hour. Like most other dental procedures, wisdom tooth removal is always done after a healthy amount of anesthesia has been administered. You aren’t likely to feel any serious pain or discomfort while the procedure is going on.
You’re always free to discuss alternative forms of anesthesia if injections aren’t your thing. Regardless of whatever arrangements you make, your dentist will always work hard to ensure that you don’t suffer unnecessarily during the procedure.
MYTH #2: I’LL BE STUCK IN BED FOR WEEKS AFTER GETTING MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED
Recovery from wisdom tooth removal doesn’t usually take more than a week. In fact, you can even resume normal activities the day after your surgery as long as you don’t do anything to aggravate stitches or wounds that need to heal. Any normal swelling, pain, or bleeding you’ll feel after surgery will usually get better after around three days of rest and recovery.
It’s still best to rest and avoid any tiring physical activities after having your wisdom teeth removed. Smoking and drinking with a straw should also be avoided since they can damage wounds and stitches. If you experience any complications like excessive bleeding, fever, and intense pain, it could be a sign of infection or nerve damage. In that case, contact your dentist or call an emergency hotline immediately.
MYTH #3: NOBODY NEEDS WISDOM TEETH
You don’t need to get your wisdom teeth taken out if they aren’t a serious threat to the health or alignment of all your other teeth. When people suffer from impacted teeth, it’s usually because their jawbones are too small to accommodate the growth of third molars. However, it’s not uncommon for some lucky people to grow wisdom teeth that are perfectly healthy and straight. If your dentist confirms that your wisdom teeth aren’t a cause for concern, you don’t need to get them removed at all.
It’s still wise to have your wisdom tooth examined by your dentist even if you aren’t feeling any pain or discomfort. You never know what problems might be lying beneath the surface, after all.
MYTH #4: I NEED TO HAVE ALL FOUR OF MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED
The same principle also applies here: If it ain’t broken, no need to fix it. Unless all four of your wisdom teeth are causing you trouble, you don’t need to have them all taken out. It’s much better to have only painful, impacted, and overall unhealthy teeth removed instead.
MYTH #5: ONLY TEENS CAN GET THEIR WISDOM TEETH TAKEN OUT
You’re never too old to get proper medical intervention. Even if your wisdom tooth has already fully grown, you should still have it taken out if it starts causing pain, crooked teeth, and other serious problems. Your dentist won’t have any trouble removing problematic teeth whether you’re a young teen, middle-aged, or older than 60.
MYTH #6: I CAN ONLY GET MY WISDOM TEETH REMOVED AFTER THEY’VE FULLY EMERGED
Your wisdom teeth can cause plenty of problems even if they haven’t emerged. Cysts can grow around a wisdom tooth and seriously damage nerves. The soft tissues around a partially emerged tooth can also become swollen and infected. If your dentist recommends the removal of a wisdom tooth stuck below the surface, you’re better off following their advice than waiting for things to get worse.