While it is true that ideally wisdom teeth should be removed in teenagehood or early adulthood, it is also true that you can never be too old to have them extracted. Many adults who still have their wisdom teeth wonder if they should get them removed or if it is too late. Generally speaking, while it can be easier and simpler to remove wisdom teeth earlier in life, they can be removed at any age by a skilled oral surgeon. The benefits of having them removed can be many, and most dentists will recommend this procedure regardless of your age.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Usually Removed?
While it is the most common indicator, pain isn’t the only reason that wisdom teeth may need to be removed. A specialist in removing these teeth will usually recommend their removal for any number of reasons. Some of the most common reasons for wisdom teeth to be extracted are:
- Bleeding or Swollen Gums
- Wisdom Teeth are Impacted
- Swollen or Tender jaw
- Causing Damage to or Displacing the Other Teeth
- Difficulty Opening the Mouth Wide
- Pain in the Area
- Chronic Bad Breath or Unpleasant Taste in the Mouth
- Possible Infection
Some rare and lucky people never experience any pain or problems related to their wisdom teeth and as a result, never need them to be removed. In most cases, this is because their mouths are large enough that the wisdom teeth can grow in without causing pressure or movement of the other teeth. Some people don’t notice problems or pain related to their wisdom teeth early on, however, they can still develop later in life. It is common for people to put off this procedure only to discover discomfort as they age. No matter how old you are, an experienced and qualified specialist can extract your wisdom teeth.
Why Is it Better to Get Wisdom Teeth Out Young?
As we age, the roots of the wisdom teeth become more deeply and firmly embedded and fully formed which can result in a more complicated or invasive surgery to remove them. This can also lead to other complications in an older patient.
What Age is Too Late to Get my Wisdom Teeth Taken Out?
It is never too late to get your wisdom teeth removed, it may simply mean a more complex procedure and longer recovery time if you wait until later in life. Older adults often need their wisdom teeth removed because they have become impacted or developed an infection. When a wisdom tooth becomes impacted it means that the tooth lacks the necessary space to properly erupt from the gums. An impacted wisdom tooth will likely result in intense pain or pressure and can cause damage to the neighbouring teeth. They can also be difficult to clean properly, which can increase the likelihood of secondary complications and infections.
What Should I Expect When Getting My Wisdom Teeth Out?
Before the day of your surgery, you will meet with the oral surgeon. This is the time to share your medical and dental history, any current medications you may be taking, and ask the surgeon any questions you may have. The surgeon will also let you know what to expect on the day of your procedure and will discuss the type of anesthetic that will be used.
On the day of your procedure, you can expect the surgery itself to take approximately 45-60 minutes. Whether the surgeon and their team use local or general anesthetic will depend on the specifics of the extraction procedure. In some cases, the gums or bones need to be cut in order to remove the teeth. In this case, they will stitch the gums after the removal, and these stitches will dissolve on their own over time.
How Can I Take Care of Myself After the Procedure?
Everyone responds to anesthesia and recovers from the procedure differently. If you have a local anesthetic and feel alert enough, you may be able to drive yourself home and begin your recovery. Some people may even be able to go back to work and engage in their regular activities the following day. If you underwent the procedure with general anesthesia or are still feeling drowsy or out of it, you’ll need someone to pick you up and drive you home. Many people experience little or no pain after their surgery. In most cases, swelling and mild discomfort are present for 3 – 5 days after the procedure, but it may take a few weeks to heal completely. While you are recovering, eat soft foods, take over-the-counter medication for pain and swelling and allow yourself time to rest.
When Should I Talk to My Dentist about my Wisdom Teeth?
The sooner you talk to your dentist about your wisdom teeth, the better. While it is never too late to have them removed, the sooner you do, the simpler your procedure and the shorter your recovery time will be. Many people put off having their wisdom teeth removed because they are worried or nervous about the experience of having them removed or the possible pain during and/or after they are removed. The truth is, there is nothing to worry about. A skilled and experienced oral surgeon is an expert in removing wisdom teeth in the most gentle and least invasive way possible. While you may experience some mild discomfort after your surgery, it is nothing compared to the possible pain or complications you could face by not having them removed. If you want to learn more about wisdom tooth removal or how we can help to support your oral health, contact our Guelph dentists office today!