What are Wisdom Teeth and Why Do They Need to Come Out?

Wisdom teeth are really just your third molars, located in the very back of your tooth arch and are the last of your adult teeth to erupt. They most commonly erupt between the ages of 17 and 20. Most people have them, but for some people, these third molars simply do not develop. Some patients might have more than one set of wisdom teeth! Only an x-ray can reveal the complete story.

A high number of patients who possess wisdom teeth don’t know they have them because the teeth are impacted, or stuck underneath already erupted teeth, as opposed to erupting normally through the gums. This is when wisdom teeth become problematic.

The patient’s jaw may be too small to allow for the full eruption of the wisdom tooth, leading to it becoming stuck in the jaw, pushing at other teeth, causing pain and shifting of the teeth. The tooth might be able to erupt partially, triggering a flap of gum tissue to develop over the tooth, trapping bacteria and germs which can lead to serious infection.

Sometimes wisdom teeth come in at strange angles, facing sideways or backward, or they develop a serious infection and damage the surrounding teeth. They can also lead to the development of a cyst or cause damage to the jawbone.

If your dentist has told you that you need to have your wisdom teeth out, it’s a good idea to listen and to follow that advice. Removing problematic wisdom teeth can reduce crowding in the mouth, infection in the gums or tooth decay in the wisdom tooth or in the surrounding teeth.

The younger you are when you have your wisdom teeth removed, the easier it is to recover. Ask your dentist to learn more about wisdom teeth and about your particular needs as a patient.


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widsom teeth dentist in Clinton NJ

Wisdom Teeth Symptoms

Your “third molars”, which are the molars in the very back that are the last to erupt, usually start to appear during the late teen years. They may not emerge for everyone, but when they do show up they are often problematic. Most people’s jaws don’t have room for them, and sometimes they are impacted and unable to erupt at all. Here are some common symptoms that you can watch for so you’ll know when your wisdom teeth might be the culprit.

The main thing many people notice is pain as their wisdom teeth develop. These teeth in the far back of your mouth, often two upper and two lower teeth, are very unpredictable. Sometimes they erupt sideways or crooked, causing your other teeth to become misaligned or overcrowded. If your wisdom teeth erupt, you might see them poking through your gums and creating an area of tenderness, inflammation, and redness. It can be painful to eat and brush your teeth. When wisdom teeth pain is very bothersome, dentists usually recommend removing them.

You may be one of the lucky people who don’t experience wisdom tooth pain. However, there are a host of other symptoms associated with these teeth. Some of these include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Facial swelling
  • Nausea
  • Pus
  • Lymph gland swelling
  • Inflamed gums
  • Bad breath
  • Problems chewing and brushing
  • Cysts around impacted wisdom teeth

Any of the above symptoms warrant a visit to your dentist. Even if wisdom teeth aren’t the cause, you should find out what’s behind these problems. If your dentist determines that your wisdom teeth are impacted, you will be advised to have them surgically removed usually by an experienced oral surgeon. Wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure, so you shouldn’t hesitate to follow your dentist’s recommendation to take care of any problems with these teeth. Once you have recovered from this surgery, you will be glad the symptoms are gone and you no longer have to worry about your wisdom teeth.


We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Wisdom teeth dentist in Clinton NJ

Wisdom Teeth Q / A

Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt. Usually, people get their wisdom teeth in during their late teens and early 20s. Although some individuals have no trouble with their wisdom teeth, many people end up having these teeth removed because they may become impacted and create dental health issues. Learn more about wisdom teeth with this Q and A:

Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
If your wisdom teeth aren’t causing problems, you can leave them alone. Typically, wisdom teeth are crooked or impacted, which can generate problems with the surrounding teeth. Also, wisdom teeth can be harder to keep clean, so the risk of decay on these teeth is higher.

When should I have these teeth taken out?
For optimal results, most dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal for patients when they are between 16 and 22 years old. The formation of the roots isn’t complete, so you have fewer complications.

Are there any risks?
As with any surgery, you can have issues arise, but the biggest concerns are nerve damage and dry sockets. Older patients have a greater chance of nerve damage because the root has more fully developed. Dry sockets occur when the post-surgery blood clots dislodge.

Does my age matter?
Some adults don’t experience any symptoms until they are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. You can have these teeth extracted at any point, but when you get older, surgery is more difficult and the recovery takes longer. If you have trouble with your wisdom teeth, contact your dentist right away for a complete exam.

Clinton NJ dental office for wisdom teeth – Perryville Family Dentistry

Getting smart about wisdom teeth

Wisdom teeth got their name because they are the final teeth to develop, usually in the late teens to early twenties, at a time when a person becomes fully mature or “wise.” Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars in the very back of the mouth. Most people have four total (two upper and two lower), but others never develop them at all. Wisdom teeth can be a valuable chewing aid, but often they are poorly aligned or don’t develop properly.

How do I know if I have them?:
Unless you start to feel them breaking through, you may not know whether you have wisdom teeth or not. Ask your dentist to examine you to see if these teeth are healthy and properly positioned. An x-ray may be required, and your dentist may refer you to an oral surgeon to be evaluated further.

Do wisdom teeth hurt?:
You don’t always feel anything with your wisdom teeth, but sometimes they are very bothersome. You may experience pain when they erupt in awkward positions, especially if the teeth rub against your mouth. Other problems include stiffness in the area, infected swelling of the gums, tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth crowding.

Why remove them?:
Your dentist or oral surgeon might suggest that your wisdom teeth be extracted. They can often predict if your wisdom teeth may crowd or damage other teeth, your jawbone, or nerves. Sometimes removal is appropriate before problems arise, in an effort to avoid more complicated or painful extractions later. Removal is usually simpler and less risky in young people. If your wisdom teeth are not extracted, it’s important for your dentist to continue monitoring them because problems may develop later.

What does impacted mean?:
Wisdom teeth may be impacted, which means they are enclosed in the soft tissue or jawbone or they only partially erupt through the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are almost always removed to avoid risks of infection, tooth decay, and gum disease.

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Facial Injuries and Oral Surgery

There are a number of reasons that dentists or oral surgeons recommend surgery, but facial injuries are probably the most unexpected and alarming cause. Maxillofacial injury, or facial trauma, refers to any injury to the mouth, jaw, and face. Most of these injuries result from sports, car accidents, job accidents, violence, or an accident at home. Let’s learn about oral surgery resulting from facial trauma.

Broken bones are a common type of serious facial injury. Fractures can occur in the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones, palate, and eye sockets. Injuries in these locations may affect vision and the ability to eat, talk, and breathe. Hospitalization is often required for treatment, which is similar to that for fractures in other parts of the body. The bones must be lined up and held in place to allow time to heal them in the correct position. Because casts are not possible in facial injuries, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates to treat fractures. Sometimes healing takes as long as six weeks or more.

Even though some facial injuries are worse than others, all of them should be taken seriously. They affect an important area of the body, so it is recommended to seek treatment from an oral surgeon to make sure you receive optimum care. Even if stitches are all that’s required, it’s best to have them performed by an oral surgeon who can place them exactly as needed to produce the best results.

It’s no surprise that the best solution for facial injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Oral surgeons suggest consistent use of mouth guards, seat belts, and masks and helmets as required. Improvements have been made to safety gear to make these items more comfortable and efficient, so there should be no excuses for not using them to protect yourself and avoid injuries that can lead to oral surgery.


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Oral Surgery Frequently Asked Questions

If oral surgery is in your future, you might be worried about what’s to come. The way to relieve that worry is to talk to your oral surgeon. Your oral surgeon has the experience and knowledge necessary to guide you through whatever concerns or questions you may have. Here is a guide to some of those questions and answers:

How will I handle pain following surgery?

  • In many cases, you will have been prescribed narcotic pain relievers. If you are taking narcotics, take them only as recommended and do not mix them with over-the-counter pain relievers or alcohol. Driving while on narcotics is dangerous and can have serious consequences for you personally and for others. If you weren’t prescribed any medication, use anti-inflammatory analgesics such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium.

What will happen to my stitches in the days following surgery?

  • Some stitches will be designed to dissolve over time and will not need to be removed. Others will not come out on their own and will need to be removed at a subsequent appointment. In many cases, losing a single stitch or two in the days following surgery isn’t serious; however, for bone-graft treatments, it is problematic and you should contact your surgeon immediately.

Can I eat normally after surgery?

  • Immediately after surgery when you’re still experiencing any mouth or tongue numbness, don’t eat anything. You could mistake the soft tissues of your mouth for food and do serious damage to your mouth without realizing it. After your numbness subsides, consume soft foods of tepid temperatures for several days to allow for healing. Talk to your surgeon to learn when you can resume normal eating patterns as dictated by your particular surgery.

What other tips do you have?

  • Stay hydrated and rest as much as possible to facilitate complete and quick healing. Call your surgeon if you have excessive bleeding or pain that doesn’t lessen with time. Be aware of signs of infection (swelling, redness, odorous or sour discharge) at the surgical site and seek professional care when needed.

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Oral Surgery: Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last adult teeth to erupt into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the bottom and two on top. Many people do not have enough room for these molars to emerge completely, causing them to become impacted in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay and disease. Other dental problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and bite alignment issues. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend having the impacted teeth removed to prevent future problems.

Surgery to extract an impacted wisdom tooth or set of wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office. If the tooth or surrounding area are deemed to have an infection prior to the procedure, surgery will be delayed, and your dental professional will likely prescribe antibiotics to help heal the area.

On the day of surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the extracted tooth will be removed. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist or oral surgeon may also utilize a general anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made to open up the gum and any bone blocking the tooth will be removed. Your dentist or surgeon will then separate the tissue connecting the bone to the tooth and extract the tooth. Some teeth are too large to remove in one piece, in which case your surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and packed with gauze to help alleviate bleeding.

Long-term complications from impacted wisdom tooth surgery are rare. To ensure a successful recovery from this or any oral surgery, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon.


We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Playing it Smart After Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Surgery to remove wisdom teeth is one of the most common procedures that oral surgeons and dentists perform. It is important to follow your doctor’s instructions afterwards for the best chances of quick and complete recovery. Here are some tips for taking care of yourself after wisdom tooth extraction.

Watch your diet:
Your dentist will give you a list of suggested foods you can it after surgery, and ones to avoid. Stick with soft or liquid foods for the first couple of days, and do not eat hard or sharp foods like chips. Avoid carbonated drinks, hot beverages, and spicy foods because they can irritate your surgery site. After the first few days, begin introducing your regular diet as is comfortable.

Take your medications:
You will likely receive a prescription for painkillers to help relieve discomfort, as well as reduce swelling. This in turn can lower your risk for infection too. Take your medication as prescribed by your dentist for the optimum results. If your extraction is simple, prescription medication may not be required. You can take over-the-counter medications if your dentist agrees and you follow the directions on the label. Do not take aspirin, however, because it can thin your blood and increase bleeding at your extraction site.

Brush carefully:
Instead of brushing with your toothbrush, gently wipe the site with clean, wet gauze. Rigorous brushing can hurt the healing process, and you should even avoid rinsing your mouth for at least 24 hours after surgery. On the second day, you can rinse your mouth gently with salty water. Do not spit forcefully, which can dislodge the blood clot on your extraction site. Also, do not rinse with mouthwash that contains any alcohol.

Avoid alcohol and tobacco:
Drinking alcohol may thin your blood, prevent clotting, and delay healing. Smoking can have similar effects, as well as dislodge the clot when you inhale on a cigarette. For the best chances of healing, avoid these products for at least 24 hours after wisdom tooth extraction.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Oral Surgery: Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last adult teeth to erupt into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the bottom and two on top. Many people do not have enough room for these molars to emerge completely, causing them to become impacted in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay and disease. Other dental problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and bite alignment issues. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend having the impacted teeth removed to prevent future problems.

Surgery to extract an impacted wisdom tooth or set of wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office. If the tooth or surrounding area are deemed to have an infection prior to the procedure, surgery will be delayed, and your dental professional will likely prescribe antibiotics to help heal the area.

On the day of surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the extracted tooth will be removed. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist or oral surgeon may also utilize a general anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made to open up the gum and any bone blocking the tooth will be removed. Your dentist or surgeon will then separate the tissue connecting the bone to the tooth and extract the tooth. Some teeth are too large to remove in one piece, in which case your surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and packed with gauze to help alleviate bleeding.

Long-term complications from impacted wisdom tooth surgery are rare. To ensure a successful recovery from this or any oral surgery, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Why Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

A wisdom tooth is often extracted to correct an existing dental problem or to prevent the possibility of problems that may arise in the future. Some problems associated with wisdom teeth are:

  • Your jaw may be too small to accommodate the eruption of your wisdom teeth, leading them to become impacted (stuck in the jaw, often under the edge of an adjacent tooth) and unable to erupt through your gums.
  • Your wisdom teeth may partially erupt, leaving a flap of soft gum tissue to grow over the tooth. Food, bacteria and germs can get trapped underneath this gum flap, leading to swelling, redness and pain, which are signs of infection.
  • Impacted teeth can lead to a more serious problem, such as acute infection, damage to the surrounding teeth, damage to the bone or the development of a cyst.
  • Wisdom teeth can present at an awkward angle, coming in with the top of the tooth facing sideways, forward or backward.

Removing your wisdom teeth can be a good method to prevent:

  • crowding at the back of the mouth
  • an impacted wisdom tooth stuck in the jaw and never erupting
  • painful gums or infection caused by a flap of gum skin
  • gum disease or tooth decay in the individual wisdom tooth or in the surrounding teeth and gums

You may want to have your wisdom teeth removed when you are younger because:

  • The younger you are, the less developed your wisdom teeth roots are, and the less dense your jawbone, allowing for an easier extraction of the tooth.
  • The majority of problems with wisdom teeth begin between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.
  • If you have a medical condition that is known to worsen with time, you may choose to have your wisdom teeth out early, while you are in your best health, to facilitate maximum healing.

Wisdom teeth extraction is rarely harmful, but there are risks associated with any surgery. Talk to your dentist today about any concerns you have regarding wisdom tooth extraction.

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