Wisdom teeth are a common concern for many young adults and late teenagers. The pain of wisdom teeth can make anybody uncomfortable in their daily life. If you are a teen or young adult experiencing complications from third molars, now is the time to consider wisdom teeth removal. This common procedure is an essential step toward good oral health. And there is no better place for Baltimore-area residents to receive wisdom tooth removal than the Maryland Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants.
Patients choose the Maryland Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants for our board-certified oral surgeons’ expertise and professional insight. We use the most advanced equipment available and a fully functional surgical suite to optimize your care and comfort.
Why Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Often Needed?
Wisdom teeth removal is often needed to prevent future complications and discomfort. Several reasons for removing wisdom teeth include:
As teeth develop, the roots grow longer, and the jawbone becomes denser. If the jawbone and roots grow too large, it can make the removal process more painful and complicated.
If you wait too long, you may experience considerable discomfort before and after tooth extraction.
When wisdom teeth are impacted—do not have enough room to grow and emerge—they can be painful, develop cysts, or damage other teeth.
At What Age Should We Have Our Wisdom Teeth Removed?
We should have problematic wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 17 and 25—while the teeth are still growing, before roots form entirely, and while the bone around them is not as dense. Early wisdom teeth removal minimizes surgical complications and damage from impaction. By age 30, most wisdom teeth are impacted and can cause infection or injury to neighboring teeth.
So, Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth in the First Place?
We have wisdom teeth because most people develop 32 teeth over their lifetime. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last four teeth to emerge at the beginning of adulthood. If wisdom teeth erupt with good form and function, they do not require removal. Unfortunately, most people’s jawbone is not wide enough to include wisdom teeth, so wisdom teeth removal is necessary.
Signs Your Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed
Signs and symptoms that wisdom teeth need to be removed include:
Do You Really Have to Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth removal is vital because it protects your oral health and your overall health. Impacted wisdom teeth can affect the esthetics of your smile and your quality of life.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth Explained
Impacted wisdom teeth occur when there is not enough room in your jaw for the teeth to erupt correctly. They can cause crowding, affect the alignment of other teeth, and emerge from the gums at an incorrect angle. Extracting them before there are problems prevents complications.
Additionally, the aesthetics of impacted and misaligned teeth can decrease your confidence and harm your personal, social, and professional life. An investment in a healthy smile is an investment in yourself and your career.
Read a full report by the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons that supports the value of wisdom teeth removal in decreasing the risk of developing disease.
What Do Impacted Wisdom Teeth Look Like?
Above the gumline, impacted wisdom teeth may only partially erupt or erupt at an angle. An x-ray might show below the gumline, an impacted wisdom tooth is underdeveloped, growing at an angle, or growing sideways.
Prevent Future Dental Problems
Removing problematic wisdom teeth prevents future dental problems. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to keep free of plaque, bacteria, and decay. As impacted wisdom teeth push neighboring teeth, your oral health will decline. And it can affect your overall health.
Wisdom teeth removal can help you avoid these problems:
- Pain and sensitivity around impacted teeth
- Infection in and around the gums
- Damage to adjacent teeth
- Misalignment and crowding
- Cavities that your dentist cannot restore
- Cysts, abscesses, or tumors around the jawbone
Should I Have All of My Wisdom Teeth Taken Out at Once?
Many Baltimore patients ask if they should have all their wisdom teeth removed at once, even though only one or two teeth cause problems. Below are some reasons to remove all four wisdom teeth at once.
- As wisdom teeth mature, roots grow longer, and the tooth becomes more difficult to extract.
- Each wisdom tooth extraction requires an additional visit, healing time, and a follow-up appointment.
- You will save time and money if all wisdom teeth are removed at once.
- Your dentist must periodically x-ray any remaining wisdom teeth to ensure they are not compromising your oral health.
Will My Dental Insurance Cover Wisdom Teeth Removal in Baltimore?
Your dental insurance might provide partial coverage toward wisdom teeth removal. Please bring your insurance information to your consultation, and we will contact your insurer to give you an estimate of benefits. We will discuss our financial options before surgery and explain the balance that you will owe.
What To Expect for Wisdom Teeth Removal
Although wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, preparing well and carefully following your surgeon’s instructions promotes your recovery and a successful outcome.
Preparing for the Procedure
You will want to arrange for transportation from a responsible adult who will stay at our office during your procedure, and also:
Our Baltimore oral surgeons are highly trained to administer anesthesia safely and keep you comfortable throughout your procedure.
- Local – Topical anesthetic numbs the area around the surgical site to prevent you from feeling pain.
- Sedation – Intravenous (IV) sedation relaxes you so deeply that you might drift off to sleep. You will have little or no recall of your appointment.
- General – Medication administered through an IV will make you unconscious in a deep sleep-like state. As you breathe in oxygen, we will monitor your vital signs.
During the Procedure
During the procedure, your oral surgeon will do the following:
- Make an incision in your gum tissue to access your tooth and bone
- Remove small pieces of bone as needed to access the tooth
- Remove the tooth
- Clean the site and stitch it if necessary
- Place gauze over the site to promote clotting
How Long Does the Procedure Take?
When all your wisdom teeth are removed, the procedure typically takes less than an hour. The length of your procedure depends on the number of teeth your oral surgeon will remove, whether any teeth are impacted, and other factors.
Does Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Taken Out Hurt?
Wisdom tooth extraction is not painful. Before surgery, your oral surgeon will numb the area around your wisdom teeth. You will feel soreness after the local anesthetic wears off, but we will explain in advance how to minimize the pain with ibuprofen or prescribed pain reliever.
Are Your Wisdom Teeth Healthy?
Nine out of ten people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth—and many don’t know it. You can prevent or minimize the damage. Schedule a consultation with the Maryland Center of Oral Surgery and Dental Implants. Our Baltimore-area offices are in Owings Mills, Hunt Valley, and Bel Air.
Immediately After the Procedure
We will place gauze over each surgical site to gently put pressure on it and help a blood clot form. If you receive IV sedation or general anesthesia, we will take you to a recovery room. Otherwise, you can stay in the dental chair to recover.
A local anesthetic will keep your mouth numb for two to four hours after wisdom teeth removal. After the anesthetic wears off, it is normal to feel soreness. But we will explain how to control pain and stay comfortable with ibuprofen or prescribed pain reliever from your oral surgeon.
How Long Are You Loopy After the Procedure?
Your drowsiness will linger for several hours after the procedure. But it can take at least 24 hours for IV sedation or general anesthesia to leave your system entirely. Avoid driving for the rest of the day and plan on resting at home.
Recovery from Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure – The Process
Although it takes time for your jawbone and gum tissue to heal, recovery is progressive. Over the next few days, your discomfort will continually decrease.
What is the Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery Time? How Long to Heal?
Follow your oral surgeon’s instructions for a smooth recovery:
- Rest at home immediately following surgery to avoid dislodging blood clots.
- Most patients can resume normal—but not strenuous—activities within two to three days after surgery.
- Full healing—including your jawbone and gum tissue—can take up to six weeks.
How Long Should I Expect to Be Out of Work or School?
Following your oral surgeon’s instructions helps you get back to your normal routine.
- Most patients can return to work or school two to three days after wisdom teeth removal.
- Prevent a relapse by avoiding vigorous activity when you return.
- If your job is strenuous, you might need to return at a limited capacity or have a few more days off.
What Can I Do for Pain Management?
You can manage post-surgery pain in several ways:
- Ibuprofen – Some patients manage post-surgery pain with ibuprofen.
- Prescription medication – Your oral surgeon will prescribe medication for more potent pain relief. We will ensure you understand when to take medication to help you remain comfortable.
- Cold compresses – Applying a cold compress or ice pack to the side of your face near the surgical site can also relieve pain.
How Long Does the Pain Last After Having My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
We will help you manage and minimize pain after your wisdom teeth are removed.
What can you expect?
- The most intense pain after wisdom teeth removal occurs right after the local anesthetic wears off, but it gradually decreases within eight hours.
- We will prepare you with instructions for taking pain-relieving medication at regular intervals to minimize your discomfort.
- Pain and inflammation will decrease progressively over the next two to three days.
Wisdom Teeth Removal and Eating Food
After wisdom teeth removal, you will have a limited diet to prevent food from dislodging blood clots and irritating the surgical sites.
How Soon After Removal Can I Eat?
About an hour after surgery, you can remove the gauze over the surgical sites to eat or drink.
- You may drink room-temperature or cold beverages.
- You can also eat soft foods that require minimal or no chewing.
- Avoid sucking through a straw, which can dislodge blood clots.
What Foods Can I Eat After Having My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
You can eat soft, room temperature, or cold foods while chewing toward the front of your mouth and away from the surgical site. Here is a full list of soft foods to eat after removal.
When Can I Eat Normally After Wisdom Teeth Removal?
In most cases, you can slowly add solid food to your diet a week or two after wisdom teeth removal. But healing time varies, so follow your oral surgeon’s instructions on when to resume your regular diet.
Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed at The Maryland Center in Baltimore
If you are experiencing signs or symptoms that your wisdom teeth might need to be removed—or if you are interested in preventive care—contact us at the Maryland Center for Oral Surgery and Dental Implants. You can request an appointment for a consultation or an exam.