What Are Your Wisdom Teeth Used For?
Thousands of years ago — when our ancestors had bigger jaws — wisdom teeth added extra chewing and grinding help. However, due to changes in diet, our jaws became significantly smaller, with much less space for an extra set of teeth.
For this reason, wisdom teeth are mainly an unwelcome addition. If they erupt (which isn’t the case for everyone), then wisdom teeth can crowd nearby teeth, leading to dental complications like bite misalignment, tooth decay, and gum disease.
Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
Many dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth. However, it’s not recommended in 100% of the cases. As such, whether an extraction is necessary depends on your unique situation.
Wisdom teeth typically erupt from the gum's surface in the back of the jaw. As long as the entire wisdom tooth emerges to the surface, it shouldn’t give you any problems.
However, if your jaw is truly too small to fit the extra wisdom tooth, then there won’t be enough space for it to emerge. As a result, a wisdom tooth can emerge at an angle, pressing up on surrounding teeth. In some cases, it may not emerge at all, getting stuck in the gum.
Wisdom teeth that don’t emerge correctly are “impacted.” Because they rub up against other teeth, they can wear away tooth enamel of healthy teeth. Plus, due to their position, they’re incredibly hard to clean. This makes impacted wisdom teeth more likely to cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Impacted wisdom teeth should be extracted to avoid serious dental complications. However, normal wisdom teeth don’t necessarily need to be removed— as such; it’s completely up to you to decide if you want to go through with the procedure.
What Happens During a Tooth Extraction?
- Tooth Assessment
- Surgery Procedure
Before scheduling a tooth extraction surgery, you’ll have to decide whether the procedure is necessary — with your dentist’s advice.
Suppose your wisdom teeth are causing several dental conditions, such as tooth decay, severe pain, damage to surrounding teeth or gums, jaw pain, or jaw misalignment. In that case, getting to the root cause is the most logical way to address the problem. As such, you are getting a wisdom tooth extraction may be necessary.
You may also wish to get a wisdom tooth extraction to avoid such complications. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, it may only be a matter of time before they develop. Getting rid of this possibility may be a smart step to take in preserving your dental health.
Once you and your dentist decide to proceed with a wisdom teeth extraction, here’s what you can expect during the procedure:
1. Tooth Assessment
During the initial stage of the procedure, your dentist (or oral surgeon) will take X-rays of your wisdom teeth, as well as the teeth, gums, and tissue surrounding them.
Your dentist will then determine if you need a simple or surgical extraction. A surgical extraction is done if a wisdom tooth has not emerged from the gum and requires a small gum incision to be removed.
2. Surgery Procedure
At the start of the procedure, your dentist will inject your gums with a local anesthetic through a syringe. This will completely numb the area, so you don’t feel any pain during the surgery.
Getting injected with anesthesia is typically the most uncomfortable part of the procedure. Fortunately, it takes around 30 seconds and makes the area surrounding your wisdom tooth completely numb.
Following anesthesia, your dentist will begin the tooth extraction. Instead of pulling out your wisdom tooth directly, your dentist must first enlarge the tooth socket. Then, they will gently rock the tooth back and forth, allowing it to loosen from the socket gradually.
Once the tooth is removed, the empty socket must be rinsed to remove any fragments. Your dentist will then apply pressure to it until a blood clot forms. If you’re getting a surgical extraction, your dentist will also have to stitch up the opening that they made.
You may experience bleeding for several days after getting your wisdom tooth extracted. The bleeding will be heaviest immediately after the procedure, requiring you to place gauze on it for at least an hour.
To speed up healing, your dentist will recommend avoiding certain foods and drinks, brushing and flossing gently, and rinsing with lukewarm saltwater.
Healing from a wisdom tooth extraction looks different for everyone. However, it will be much quicker if you follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions and a few other principles.
What Are the Risks of Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Regular wisdom teeth removal rarely results in complications. However, if your dentist performed a surgical extraction, then it’s possible to experience any of the following side effects:
- Exposure of bone
- Dry socket
- Socket infection
- Damage to nearby teeth, gums, nerves, or sinuses
Your dentist can discuss any risks of the procedure with you before you proceed with it.
How Much Does Wisdom Teeth Removal Cost?
Some wisdom teeth extractions may be medically necessary, such as when an impacted tooth leads to a dental infection. If you have dental insurance, your plan should cover the procedure. The only costs you might have to pay are your co-pays or deductibles.
However, you will have to pay out-of-pocket if you do not have dental insurance. The average cost of wisdom teeth removal depends primarily on your location. Dentists who practice in cities may charge more than those in rural areas.
The type of wisdom tooth extraction makes a difference, as well. There are two types of extractions: simple and surgical.
A simple extraction is a simple procedure that generally doesn’t require a lot of time to perform. The extraction alone costs no more than $150 per tooth. Of course, the price may increase several hundred dollars depending on your dentist's type of anesthesia.
On the other hand, surgical tooth extraction may cost up to $400 per tooth. This is a more complex procedure that requires more time and surgical technique. In addition, your dentist may choose to put you under general anesthesia, which can increase the cost of the procedure.
Some people need to remove several wisdom teeth, up to four teeth in total. Depending on your particular case, the cost of wisdom tooth extraction can significantly add up.
If you don’t have dental insurance, it may feel like paying for the procedure is not possible. Fortunately, Flossy can connect you with a low-cost dentist to perform a wisdom tooth extraction.
Low-Cost Wisdom Teeth Removal Phoenix, AZ
For many people, wisdom teeth are problematic. They may lead to dental complications, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or bite misalignment. Even if you aren’t experiencing any issues, removing your wisdom teeth can be important in preserving your dental health.
If you don’t have dental insurance, paying for wisdom teeth removal can seem impossible. That’s why Flossy is here with our network of low-cost dental professionals.
If you are located near Phoenix, Flossy can connect you with an oral surgeon to perform a wisdom tooth extraction — at a fraction of the cost. Schedule your appointment today.
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