Wisdom teeth: Should they stay or should they go? It’s a common question we field at Penn Dental Medicine. In fact, we would much rather our patients ask us about wisdom teeth removal than be lured by the myths surrounding this surgical procedure.
As a trusted, affordable source for comprehensive care, Penn Dental Medicine is the preferred choice of dental care among local residents. As a renowned teaching practice, Penn Dental Medicine also provides the latest in dental approaches and oral surgery education, including whether wisdom teeth should “stay or go.”
Debunking Five Wisdom Teeth Removal Myths
When it comes to the removal of wisdom teeth, it’s easy to be misled by what has become an urban legend. How better to find out the truth when it comes to having your wisdom teeth removed than to hear from the research-based practitioners at PDM? Here are the five myths that we often encounter in regards to wisdom teeth removal:
- “Wisdom Teeth That Don’t Crowd Your Teeth are Okay to Stay.”
You may have heard that one of the top reasons wisdom teeth are removed is aesthetic. While wisdom teeth are known to grow at an angle and in such a way that causes tooth crowding, there is another reason why dentists will recommend removing them. Studies show that a significant percentage of patients who keep their third molars experience progression of periodontal disease. Besides potentially ruining previous orthodontic work and necessitating new orthodontic adjustments, wisdom teeth can also make it more challenging to maintain good oral hygiene.
- “Only Impacted Wisdom Teeth Need to be Extracted.”
An impacted wisdom tooth occurs when the tooth remains trapped under the gums. Impacted wisdom teeth can often be problematic and are known for causing root-damaging cysts on or near the impacted tooth. As discussed above, however, fully-and-partially erupted third molars can cause their own problems. Fully emerged wisdom teeth that have grown improperly can make it hard to floss and clean, which allows food to remain in the teeth for extended periods of time. Partially erupted wisdom teeth invite bacteria to enter into the gums, increasing your risk for cavities and even infection.
- “Wisdom Teeth Removal will Have You in Bed for Days”
While most patients experience some soreness for the first few days after wisdom teeth surgery, daily activities can typically resume after a day or two. In fact, some patients do not have much (or any) pain following the procedure. The best way to maximize your recovery from wisdom tooth extraction is to carefully follow the post-surgery guidelines of your dentist. Your PDM oral surgery doctor will provide you helpful tips in the days and weeks of your aftercare. This may include an antibacterial or gentle saltwater mouth rinse regimen to keep the mouth free of debris and bacteria. You may also be advised to eat soft food, take mild over-the-counter pain medication, and apply an ice-pack on your cheek or jaw to reduce swelling. It’s important to also abstain from smoking or using straws during healing after oral surgery to avoid painful dry sockets.
- “You Shouldn’t Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed if You’re an Adult.”
If you have heard that wisdom teeth removal recovery can last longer when you are an adult, this is not a myth. Recovery for adults may be more involved with adults than adolescents. This does not mean, however, that you should avoid removing your third molars altogether. Whether you are an adult with impacted, partially-grown, or fully erupted wisdom teeth, you should always consult with a dental specialist. An oral surgeon will be able to verify whether keeping your wisdom teeth intact is worth the risk of periodontal disease or other types of oral health problems. If it’s determined that wisdom teeth removal should be performed, you will be provided with guidance on how best to encourage a safe and healthy recovery.
- “Wisdom Teeth Removal is No Big Deal.”
It’s important to remember that while wisdom teeth removal doesn’t always mean a prolonged period of downtime, it is still a surgical procedure. You will be administered local anesthesia, sedation, or in some cases general anesthesia during your surgery to help alleviate pain and help you remain comfortable. Expect to rest between 24 and 48 hours during your initial recovery. And again, following the post-surgical outline provided by your dentist will help promote a safe and healthy recovery.
Could you Benefit From Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Don’t leave your dental health and comfort to chance (or myths). Instead, come for a visit to Penn Dental Medicine, where we offer wisdom teeth removal with highly affordable pricing. All our student dentists are guided by skilled and practiced University of Pennsylvania Dental School doctors.
To begin, make an appointment by calling 215-898-8965.