Wisdom Teeth: Frequently Asked Questions
At what age do you get wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth or third molars normally begin to develop between the ages of 9 and 11, after all the other teeth have become fully formed, and they are expected to come in between the ages of 17 and 21. However, not everyone will have the same experience. For some patients who come to our Temecula office, wisdom teeth can come in much later, even years or decades later, or never at all.
Wisdom teeth may never erupt and become visible in case of full impaction, or they may be partially visible in case of partial impaction. Their growth and eruption can be asymptomatic or followed by complications, including pain, persistent swelling, and recurring infections.
Does everyone get wisdom teeth?
It is normal for a person to have between one and four wisdom teeth or none at all. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of your mouth, and they no longer served the purpose they served our distant ancestors who had to tear and chew raw meat.
Although these teeth are typically expected to emerge during the late teens or early adulthood, not everyone gets all four wisdom teeth, and some people may not have any at all.
Can wisdom teeth come at 30?
Yes, many patients have their wisdom teeth come in at the age of 30 or even much later. Interestingly, the risk of discomfort and complications in relation to wisdom teeth eruption is lower after the age of 30, whereas patients whose wisdom teeth erupt between the ages of 15 to 25 often experience notorious symptoms such as pain and discomfort. But there is a considerable downside: wisdom teeth extraction is more difficult and the recovery process is much slower for older patients.
And whereas many people have all their wisdom teeth fully developed and emerge without any difficulties or with minor issues that go away as soon as the tooth has fully erupted, not everyone ends up with all 4 wisdom teeth.
However, the worst-case scenario in terms of the severity of complications are impacted wisdom teeth that fail to form and grow properly. Regardless of the degree of impaction, it is safer for the patient to have such wisdom teeth removed.
Do wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Wisdom teeth are located at the back of the mouth and because they are the last teeth to form, they may also crowd the mouth. These two factors make wisdom teeth difficult to access and clean properly. This lack of proper hygiene can result in plaque buildup, decay, or gum disease, as well as a detrimental effect on the adjacent teeth, including resorption. Oral surgeons rely on panoramic dental X-rays to pinpoint the exact position of your wisdom teeth.
Extraction surgery is how wisdom teeth impaction can best be addressed. Impaction is the number one reason to extract a wisdom tooth. An impacted wisdom tooth cannot break through the gums and come out to the surface. This can create a range of issues: constant pain and discomfort, severe swelling, and recurring infections. Leaving these issues unaddressed further exacerbates the situation and patients may develop cysts and even tumors.
If Dr. Tsvetov determines that you have an impacted wisdom tooth, he may recommend removal to avoid infections and other complications, even if you show no signs or symptoms. Alternatively, he may ask you to return to our Temecula office periodically for follow-up appointments so he can monitor the tooth and recommend that you have it removed once it begins to cause problems.
What happens if you never get your wisdom teeth pulled out?
Wisdom teeth can be crookedly growing, misaligned, impacted, or otherwise problematic. All these issues can escalate and lead to severe complications. Wisdom teeth can be associated with serious pathology:
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease
- Pathologic cysts
- Tumors enveloping the root.
Even asymptomatic, pain-free wisdom teeth can be associated with inflammatory gum disease, tooth decay, or other forms of the disease. These, in turn, can lead to tooth and bone loss. Retained wisdom teeth can also shift over time, and this change may not occur in a predictable way, which can subsequently lead to additional complications.
Can I just let my wisdom teeth grow in?
If patients experience lingering pain, pressure in the back of the jaw or gum swelling in the same area, this could indicate complications caused by erupting wisdom teeth.
It can be downright dangerous to not proceed with a wisdom teeth extraction recommended by a specialist. Wisdom teeth issues can escalate rapidly. Associated pathology includes damage to the surrounding teeth, generalized inflammation, periodontal disease, and even jaw fracture.
As surgical procedures, wisdom teeth extractions may be complex, but they are also straightforward when performed by experienced oral and maxillofacial surgery specialists:
- Step 1: Making a cut in the gum tissue
- Step 2: Extracting the wisdom tooth (in sections or as a whole)
- Step 3: Cleaning the cut and extraction site
- Step 4: Stitching the wound
- Step 5: Placing gauze over it
Aside from the extraction procedure itself and the aftercare protocol over the course of several days after the procedure to prevent complications, there is no need for additional procedures such as fillings/crowns/root canals or bone grafting.
Is wisdom teeth removal painful?
Wisdom teeth can be removed with the assistance of the patient’s preferred anesthesia option. In our office in Temecula, patients can choose between three options, based on their preferences. This helps minimize the patient’s discomfort during the procedure.
Following the procedure, the patient may use prescription pain relievers or other over-the-counter medications to alleviate pain and other symptoms. Young, healthy adults can safely expect to make a full recovery within 5 days or less after wisdom teeth removal.
What happens if you wait too long to get wisdom teeth out?
Dr. Tsvetov always advises patients in the Temecula region with wisdom teeth-related complications to have these teeth removed as soon as possible. If you wait too long or delay the procedure, you may experience severe complications which can be difficult or impossible to undo and which may even cause lasting damage that is beyond repair.
Should I remove all 4 wisdom teeth?
Removing all 4 wisdom teeth at once sounds like an experience 4 times the intensity and discomfort of removing a single wisdom tooth. But competent and skilled oral surgeons with a patient and compassionate bedside manner can complete the extraction of 4 wisdom teeth at once efficiently, solving 4 problems effectively.
As your oral surgeon, Dr. Tsvetov may recommend extraction even if wisdom teeth are coming in straight and do not seem to pose any issues, such as when you are considering orthodontic treatment. This is because problems and complications are still possible down the line, and the safest way to avoid them is to remove the source altogether. Another reason to have wisdom teeth extracted is to avoid mouth crowding, as well as to facilitate cleaning and reduce the risk of potential health issues.
How should I prepare for wisdom teeth removal?
Your oral surgeon Dr. Tsvetov will instruct you on how to prepare for your wisdom teeth removal procedure in Temecula. During your consultation prior to the procedure, he will explain the details of the procedure and walk you through the steps, as well as present you with the available pain management options. Based on your X-rays, your doctor will be able to plan your treatment and estimate the duration of your procedure.
During your consultation, Dr. Tsvetov will ask you if you have any underlying medical conditions or if you are on any medication regimens. You can also discuss whether to take time off work or school, whether to organize a companion and/or an alternative mode of transportation and what pain relief medications to keep close at hand. Because your mouth will be sore, you will need to follow a soft food diet for the first few days of recovery.
Do they put you to sleep for wisdom teeth extraction?
It is up to you if you want to be fully asleep during your wisdom tooth extraction or if you prefer another form of anesthesia that leaves you fully awake or in a twilight state, depending on your comfort level and preferences. We offer multiple anesthesia options.
How long does wisdom teeth surgery take?
Patients are often intimidated at the very mention of wisdom teeth surgery, but in reality, an experienced oral surgeon such as Dr. Tsvetov can have all four wisdom teeth removed in as little as 30 minutes, regardless of the degree of impaction. The process is straightforward and consists of several steps.
What helps wisdom teeth heal faster?
Wisdom teeth often require surgical extractions. Dr. Tsvetov can perform this invasive procedure safely and efficiently so you can start recovery as soon as possible and never again have to endure the excruciating pain caused by wisdom teeth. Extraction can even be done if you are in pain: patients in the Temecula region no longer have to wait for the infection to subside before they can undergo surgery. Like any surgical intervention, wisdom tooth extraction needs to be followed by a strict aftercare protocol that helps you heal faster and improves your treatment outcome.
In addition to following a soft food diet, you can take pain medications and use cold compresses to alleviate discomfort. One of the complications that may arise in the aftermath of a wisdom tooth extraction is an extremely painful dry socket. This occurs either because the blood clot, which is a natural part of the healing process, does not form properly or becomes dislodged, leaving the bone exposed.
It is therefore important that you follow any aftercare instructions carefully to avoid these and other possible complications. If complications arise, do not hesitate to contact our office right away.