Everything you need to know about having wisdom teeth removed

Dentists all around the world carry out wisdom tooth extractions practically everyday. Commonly performed on young people, the procedure is generally safe and worthwhile if any of your wisdom teeth are causing you pain or discomfort. That said, there are a number things to know before you go to have your wisdom teeth removed. While your dentist will be able to go into it in a lot more detail, this basic guide will tell you when it may be time to consider removal and how to prepare for the procedure.

What actually are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the molars located right near the back of the jaw, both at the top and bottom of your mouth. Since they are the last teeth to come in or erupt from your gum, sometimes there is not enough room next to your other teeth to accommodate them. In these cases, the wisdom teeth may only emerge partially or become crooked due to the overcrowding. This can be uncomfortable or painful and raise your chances of getting an infection or oral disease. 

When is it time to have wisdom teeth removed?

A consultation with your dentist will give you an exact answer to this question. Usually, you will want to book an appointment when you're in pain, uncomfortable or notice redness or swelling around your wisdom teeth. Most dentists generally also say that the ideal time to have your wisdom teeth removed is between the ages of 16 and 20. This is because at this stage in your life, your wisdom teeth will not have developed too many roots. Wisdom teeth removal is possible, and sometimes essential, at later ages, but these procedures are more prone to complications. Visiting your dentist at least once every six months for a checkup will ensure you're not caught by surprise.

I'm getting my wisdom teeth removed. How can I prepare?

While wisdom tooth extractions are standard procedures, the recovery time can last quite a while and be a little bit uncomfortable. To prepare for this, it's wise to stock up on soft foods so as not to damage the healing area while you eat. Not brushing for at least a day after the procedure works to the same effect. It's also absolutely essential that you bring a family member or friend to your operation. This is because the medication administered during surgery will make it so you are unable to drive afterwards. The moral support helps too. Post-procedure, you will want to keep your head raised to keep swelling under control and get plenty of rest to speed up recovery.

If you're having any doubts or concerns, bring them to the attention of your dentist.  While these procedures are performed all the time and there's no need to be nervous, speaking to a professional can help.