Wisdom teeth, also known as the “third molars,” grow in the back of your mouth behind your molars. Since wisdom teeth are the last of your pearly whites to erupt (often between the ages of 17 and 21), they can come in misaligned or crooked due to the surrounding teeth. As a result of this crowded space, your wisdom teeth may erupt sideways, partially, or they may even get trapped or impacted below your gums. This can cause an extreme amount of discomfort, which can lead to oral infections and expensive dental bills down the line. In this blog, we’ll take a closer look at wisdom teeth, as well as their signs and symptoms.

Soft Touch Dentists in Washington is proud to be a leading provider of family dentistry and periodontic surgery throughout DC. We offer 24 hour emergency dental care for tooth-related accidents and our dedicated staff specializes in a variety of dental services. From tooth extractions to crowns and dentures, we can handle all of your dental care needs. Contact our team today to learn more about our facility or to schedule a dental appointment!

Wisdom Teeth 101

Wisdom teeth are believed to be “evolutionary relics” that were helpful to our distant ancestors who ate diets of reed plants and other rough foods. As human teeth wore out and fell out over time, our wisdom teeth provided convenient replacements. With the help of modern advances and softer diets, people are much less in need of these replacement teeth than they were hundreds of years ago. When our wisdom teeth grow now, they have a tendency to crowd our mouths, which can result in both bone and nerve damage.

Signs of Wisdom Teeth Pain

If you’ve never undergone wisdom tooth removal, you may be wondering if you’ve ever experienced wisdom tooth pain. You’ll likely feel this pain in the back of your mouth, right behind your molars. If you look into a mirror and open your mouth, you may even notice that your wisdom teeth have begun to pole through your gums. The gums surrounding the poking tooth may be red and inflamed as well.

While some people experience frequent wisdom teeth pain, others only experience the discomfort when they are chewing food or touching a certain area of their mouth.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

While wisdom teeth removal is a fairly common oral surgery, the procedure is a little more complicated if your wisdom teeth have not yet erupted or they are impacted. Depending on your dentist, they may have have the skills and equipment necessary to remove impacted wisdom teeth, however these procedures normally call for the help of an oral surgeon. Some risks associated with this particular tooth extraction include pain, bleeding, swelling, and lower lip numbness.

Extraction Recovery

After your wisdom teeth have been removed, the recovery takes around five to seven days, and your gums will be fully healed in three to four weeks. Once your oral surgery is complete, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure proper healing. During the first 24 hours after the surgery, you can expect some bleeding to occur in your mouth. Your oral surgeon will likely tell you to control the bleeding at home with a moist, clean piece of gauze that should be placed over the extraction site. You should apply a light pressure to the area to stop the bloodflow. Below are a few more recovery tips:

  • Do not rinse your mouth for the first 24 hours following your wisdom tooth removal.
  • Try to stick to a soft diet or liquid diet for the first day or two after the procedure. Feel free to indulge in ice cream, pudding, and milk.
  • Brush and floss your teeth as usual, but try to avoid touching the extraction site.

Oral Surgeons in Washington DC

If you’ve been experiencing wisdom tooth pain, or you’re looking for a family-friendly dentistry to bring the kids to, stop by Soft Touch Dentists in Washington today. We offer the full gamut of dental services to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. From orthodontic treatments like braces and retainers to bridges and crowns, we can handle all of your dental care needs.