Getting your wisdom teeth removed isn’t exactly something that most people look forward to. While the procedure itself is relatively quick and painless (aided with anesthesia), the recovery period is usually short but rough.
That said, the procedure and recovery are more than worth it when you consider the alternative. Especially if your wisdom teeth are impacted (i.e. there is no room for them to grow in like normal teeth), there comes a time when it is vital that you have your wisdom teeth removed.
So how do you know when that time has come? Here are a few of the common signs that tell you it is time to remove your wisdom teeth.
This is one of the most common—and most irritating—signs that your wisdom teeth should be removed. Pain from erupting wisdom teeth is usually felt at the back of the mouth first, but it can quickly spread to other teeth and the jaw. It can even cause headaches.
This pain can range from mild to extreme, and can sometimes be felt in the sinuses. It can also be worse when eating. While it can be managed with basic pain medication, it’s important to talk to your dentist any time you experience any kind of severe or chronic tooth pain, especially if you think your wisdom teeth may be to blame.
Erupting wisdom teeth can create “pockets” in the back of the mouth that are very hard to properly clean on your own. That means that they become a breeding ground for bacteria, including bacteria that cause bad breath. Your dentist can clean these pockets during an office visit, but since you cannot usually clean them thoroughly at home, the bacteria (and the problem) will come back until the root cause is addressed.
Red or swollen gums, or gums that bleed easily, especially in the back of the mouth, can be a sure sign that it is time to remove your wisdom teeth. However, irritated gums also accompany a wide range of oral health problems, so if your gums are bothering you, it is best to visit your dentist as soon as possible for an evaluation.
If your wisdom teeth start to grow in, they may force your other teeth to shift, resulting in overcrowding and crooked teeth. If you notice this sign, it is important to address the problem of your wisdom teeth right away.
Sometimes, your wisdom teeth do not cause any obvious symptoms, but your dentist may still recommend removal for one reason or another. Consult with your dentist about this recommendation to determine if this is the best course of action for you.
Many people shy away from wisdom teeth removal because they are afraid of the procedure of recovery. However, the problems that impacted wisdom teeth can cause are much worse. If you experience any of the symptoms listed above, talk to your dentist about your options. Their first priority is your oral health, and they will do their best to make sure your experience is as quick and comfortable as possible.