As we age, we develop two sets of teeth: our primary teeth and our permanent teeth. Primary teeth, also known as baby teeth, erupt around the 6-month age. Most people begin to lose these baby teeth and grow their permanent adult teeth at the age of 5. This includes 32 teeth in total: 8 incisors, 4 canines/cuspids, 8 premolars, and 12 molars. Molars are different than our other teeth because they are larger, stronger, and flatter. Their primary use is to grind and break down food to prepare it for digestion. This includes wisdom teeth, which are the third set of molars at the back of the mouth. They typically grow in between the ages of 18-21.
Sometimes, there is enough room for wisdom teeth to grow in properly so there is no need to surgically remove them. However, many people need to have one or all of their wisdom teeth removed due to overcrowding, infections, or difficulty maintaining oral hygiene. Some people never develop wisdom teeth, although the reasons for this remain unknown.
Our ancestors used their wisdom teeth to break down raw food so they could digest it properly. They also had larger jaws that could easily accommodate this extra set of molars. Nowadays, human beings have evolved to have smaller jaws that are often unable to comfortably accommodate wisdom teeth growing in. We also cook our food and use utensils, which means we no longer require the functionality of extra molars in our mouth. Simply put, this means that we have evolved to still have wisdom teeth, but don’t necessarily rely on them the way our ancestors did.
People are usually in their late teens to early adult years when their wisdom teeth grow in. Since we grow and lose our baby teeth at a young age, and our wisdom teeth are the last to show up, it’s believed that you are “wiser” when you get them.
Did you know that when you’re born, all of the teeth you’ll ever have are already present in your skull? They erupt in different stages, then fall out to make room for new teeth. The first stage is when your 20 baby teeth erupt, which are then replaced by 32 permanent teeth. This includes your four wisdom teeth, which are located at the very back of your mouth.
Because of the way humans have evolved, not everyone will have all of their wisdom teeth grow in. Some people may only have one wisdom teeth erupt. Others may have none. Just because you can’t see your wisdom teeth, though, doesn’t mean you don’t have them. They can exist underneath your gums but never break through the surface. A dentist can perform an x-ray to confirm whether or not you have wisdom teeth and determine if they could cause any complications. In many cases, a dentist will recommend a wisdom teeth removal procedure to reduce the likelihood of any oral health complications.
Every person’s situation is unique in terms of whether or not they require wisdom teeth removal. These are the most common scenarios in which wisdom teeth would be removed:
Wisdom teeth trapped underneath the gums. In this scenario, the wisdom teeth do not have enough room to erupt in the back of the mouth and remain trapped underneath the gum’s surface. This is a problem because it can create an infection, abscess, or cyst.
Impacted wisdom teeth. When there is not enough room for the wisdom teeth to grow in, they can push against the other molars in the back of the mouth. An impacted wisdom tooth can happen underneath the gums, or be partially erupted, meaning part of the tooth is visible above the gums. This can cause painful, swollen, infected flaps of skin at the site of the tooth or overcrowding of the other teeth in the mouth, which is why impacted wisdom teeth removal is so important.
Fully erupted wisdom teeth. Sometimes, wisdom teeth can erupt completely through the gum’s surface but still cause complications. People may have difficulty keeping the area clean, which can lead to cavities or gum disease later on in life.
A dentist can evaluate how your wisdom teeth are growing in using an x-ray. It is easier to remove wisdom teeth earlier on in life, before the roots and bones around the teeth become harder and fully formed. Early extraction can help avoid infections and more serious oral health problems from developing later into adulthood.
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A dentist can use an x-ray to evaluate how your wisdom teeth are growing in and any potential complications that could arise. There are also signs you should look out for that may indicate you should have your wisdom teeth removed. One of the most common signs is pain in the back of your mouth, teeth, or jawbone. Whether mild or severe, discomfort in the mouth is a sign that your wisdom teeth should be looked at by a professional.
Another sign that you might need wisdom teeth removal is if you experience inflammation. This can occur whether your teeth are partially or fully erupted. Oftentimes, an erupted wisdom tooth will create flaps of skin in the gums that are likely to attract bacteria and cause an infection. Whether the inflammation is visible or you simply feel the swelling in your mouth, it should always be examined by a dentist.
Pain and inflammation are two of the most common signs of needing wisdom teeth removal. There are other signs that are less common, but still possible, including:
– Bad breath or a foul taste in your mouth
– Jaw stiffness
– Sinus issues
Before a wisdom teeth removal procedure, your dentist will use a topical numbing product and a local anesthetic to numb your mouth. This means your removal should be completely painless. The day of the procedure, you can expect to feel some pain which can be reduced by taking pain relief medication. Our clinic will normally prescribe one for you to reduce any discomfort while you heal. You should expect to feel some discomfort during the week after your extraction, which again can be minimized by using medication. This is also dependent on how many teeth you have removed – someone who has four teeth extracted may experience more discomfort than someone who only had one.
Having your wisdom teeth removed can help you avoid a variety of different oral health issues. Since we have evolved to no longer require a third set of molars, most adults benefit from having one or all of their existing wisdom teeth extracted by a dentist. The main benefits of wisdom teeth removal include:
+ Less pain and inflammation
+ Lower risk of developing an infection
+ Reduced chance of developing an oral health issue
+ Lower chance of tooth damage and decay
+ Avoid overcrowding and shifting teeth
+Improved ease in maintaining oral hygiene
Wisdom teeth removal will be a simple, straightforward experience if you visit an experienced dentist. It is one of the most common dental procedures performed worldwide and is absolutely safe when performed under the care of a professional. Your mouth will be frozen during the entire procedure, so you are comfortable throughout. Your dentist will also use professional equipment, such as stitches and gauze, to help the treated site recover quickly and safely. If you have any concerns about the process of your wisdom teeth removal or the safety of your procedure, you can always ask your dentist.
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Before a wisdom teeth removal appointment, your dentist will need to determine your need for extraction. This can be done during a comprehensive dental examination, where we will take an x-ray of your mouth to get a complete look at how your teeth are growing in. Only after an exam will we be able to schedule your wisdom teeth removal appointment.
Below are the steps that we go through:
+ When you arrive for your appointment, our dentist will explain the entire procedure to you. They will answer any questions you have and let you know what to expect.
+ The dentist will apply a topical numbing product to the areas being treated, as well as a local anesthetic. You will still be awake, but your mouth will be frozen.
+ The dentist will perform your wisdom tooth extraction, which can take anywhere from 20 minutes to 1 hour depending on how many teeth are being removed.
+ Patients are normally sent home with a prescription for pain relieving medication. You can expect to feel some pain the day of the surgery, and some discomfort during the first week.
+ You will be booked for a one-week post-operation check in to ensure the site of the extraction is healing well.
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It’s important to follow the instructions from your dentist while recovering from wisdom teeth removal. This ensures that no infections or complications will develop, and ultimately keeps you as comfortable as possible while you recover.
Here are the main post-operation care instructions we share with our patients:
+ Bite on gauze for half an hour. Avoid touching the operative site with your tongue or fingers.
+ Avoid rinsing your mouth for 8 hours and avoid using a straw.
+ The day after surgery, you can do a salt water rinse (½ teaspoon of salt with 1 cup of warm water) if no bleeding is present. We recommend salt water rinses after eating.
+ Take prescribed medications as recommended by your dentist.
+ Light streaks of blood in your saliva are to be expected for one day. Afterwards, if bleeding continues, firmly apply gauze using steady pressure for 20+ minutes as needed.
+ Swelling is to be expected for the first few days. Apply an ice pack to relieve discomfort as needed.
+ Drink cold or lukewarm liquids for the first 4-6 hours. Afterwards, stick to soft foods.
If you have any concerns throughout your recovery, do not hesitate to contact your dentist.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost
How much is wisdom teeth removal? At HealthOne, the cost of wisdom teeth removal depends on your unique case and how many teeth need to be removed. During a dental examination, your dentist can give you a quote on pricing and discuss payment plan options available at our clinic.
If you are wondering, “is wisdom teeth removal covered by OHIP?”, our Patient Care Coordinator can provide you with an extended health care insurance breakdown. Please email email@example.com or call 416 477 0033.
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At HealthOne Dental clinic, our goal is to provide you with exceptional care that prioritizes your comfort. We offer modern facilities and use state-of-the-art dental technology to provide you with 5-star quality treatment every time. Our experienced dentists will go above and beyond to make sure you feel as comfortable, safe, and relaxed as possible during all steps of your wisdom teeth removal procedure. When you visit HealthOne Dental in Toronto, you can expect:
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