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Wisdom Teeth 101 & FAQs

18th July 2016

Wisdom teeth become all the talk amongst people aged around 17-25 and for good reason. Suddenly more teeth start popping up, may be causing pain, more trips to the dentist than usual and not forgetting the hilarious viral YouTube videos showing people after their wisdom teeth extractions. We as dentists get many questions on the wise subject (get it?!) and about how to deal with the new incoming teeth and therefore we thought this blog post will clearly explain everything you need to know:

Firstly, what are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are third morals that are scientifically there to help you grind plant tissue. The skulls of our human ancestors had larger jaws with more teeth, which is the reason for wisdom teeth, but as our diet has changed over the centuries, our jaws gradually evolve, yet our wisdom teeth still develop!

Do all wisdom teeth need to be removed?

No! Three isn’t necessarily a crowd. Some wisdoms don’t crowd the jaw, grow just fine and can be easily cleaned. Some people may not even have all four wisdom teeth, as they may only have 2 or 3 or in some unlucky cases, more than 4!

However, even if you think your wisdom teeth are growing just fine, book an appointment to come and see us, to monitor their progression, even if they aren’t causing you any discomfort.

What are the main reasons for taking wisdom teeth out?

If your wisdom teeth are growing fine, and not causing problems, we won’t worry about removing them, however we will consider removing them under these circumstances:

  • Are not able to come through into a useful position because there is not enough room in your jaw
  • If they have only partly come through and are decayed – these teeth will often decay, as it can be difficult to clean them thoroughly
  • If they are painful

Are there any home remedies for the pain?

Short term remedies are pain-killers, such as paracetomal, but a great tip from us is to make up a mouthwash from medium-hot water, with a teaspoon of salt and rinse your mouth with this, several times a day. It will help to reduce gum soreness and inflammation, however, book an appointment with us if the pain continues.

What should I expect after my wisdom teeth are taken out?

Usually, there is some swelling and discomfort for the few days after the extraction and it’s important to follow any advice your dentist has given you about food, mouthwash, painkillers etc. Normal painkillers such as paracetamol etc can usually help and its best to stay away from smoking and drinking alcohol for the few days after too. If you have stitches, we may want to see you in a week after the treatment, to check how your mouth is healing or to remove any stitches.

Will my face be puffy?

Your cheeks may resemble a chipmunk for the next few days (sorry!), but it’s absolutely normal! Swelling often peaks 48 to 72 hours later and resolves within a week, but keeping your head elevated and applying ice pack compresses will help the swelling go down.

Is it true that I can live off ice-cream after?

It’s best to stick to soft foods for the next few days: soups, mashed potato, scrambled eggs, yogurts…ice-cream! Yes, good news if you’re an ice-cream lover, you can have guilt-free tubs of the stuff, just remember to consume in moderation and to still maintain a healthy balanced diet!

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