It might be literally, figuratively, or even both: your wisdom teeth can keep you awake at night for a lot of reasons. It hurts to eat, your jaw is tender, and then you have to worry about the logistics of choosing an oral surgeon and coordinating with your insurance. It’s no wonder you can’t get a good night’s rest!
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of molars that erupt in our mouths. Even though they form while we’re children, they don’t begin to emerge until we’re young adults. No one is exactly sure why we get wisdom teeth when we do, but the best guess is that their original purpose was to replace molars that were lost or worn down from primitive human diets. In modern times, we don’t lose molars in our teens, so these extra molars are no longer needed.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Extracted?
Not that wisdom teeth aren’t needed as replacements, there’s usually not adequate space for them in our mouths. When they are able to fully erupt, they are crowded and located so far in the back of the mouth that oral hygiene is difficult. If wisdom teeth only erupt partially or not at all, they cause a great deal of discomfort.
Because wisdom teeth are hard to properly brush and floss, they’re prone to both cavities and gum disease since it’s easy for plaque and tartar to build up on and around them. Wisdom teeth also cause the misalignment of other teeth, malocclusion, and headaches. For these reasons, we nearly always recommend extraction.
Does Wisdom Tooth Extraction Hurt?
Maybe the reason your wisdom teeth are keeping you up at night is because you’re feeling anxious about the extraction procedure. Rest assured, wisdom tooth extraction is no more painful than leaving your wisdom teeth in. We use local anesthetic to make sure the area is completely numb while we work. If needed, we can also offer additional sedation options and even general anesthesia if your wisdom teeth are impacted.
During your recovery, you will probably have some pain and swelling, particularly if your wisdom teeth were impacted. We recommend warm saltwater rinses to keep the area clean and over-the-counter pain relievers and cold compresses for inflammation and discomfort.
What Does It Cost to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Don't let the cost of wisdom tooth extraction keep you from sleeping well. We can’t tell you what the procedure will cost until we see you in person to assess your needs, but in most cases, dental insurance covers all or much of the cost. There are circumstances in which your health insurance plan may cover some of the costs too.