Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars – the last teeth to file in. Those two words, wisdom and teeth, have children hiding under beds and behind curtains. Children are not alone, though. We all fear dealing with the dreaded “impacted” wisdom tooth, yet we still virally watch the funny post-surgery videos on YouTube.
Today’s modern technology and years of perfecting the procedure have helped us make wisdom teeth extractions a commonplace procedure with little discomfort during recovery.
Are Age and Wisdom Teeth Connected?
There isn’t necessarily a rule that states when people should get their wisdom teeth extracted. Typically, wisdom teeth extractions are recommended between the ages of 18 and the early 20s. Some dentists even recommend having them removed earlier, depending on the structure of an individual mouth.
Around this age, though, wisdom teeth should be protruding through your gums, roots and all. At this point, you should consult with your dentist, as there may be some issues with the rate of growth. If they are too developed, they can cause crowding and other issues that will shift the placement of your teeth. If they are too underdeveloped, they may need to stay a while longer before removal to ensure proper extractions can be made.
Also in this time frame, there are fewer risks for complications before, during, and post surgery. Studies have shown that older patients experience more complications during the actual extraction process, as well as during postoperative recovery, in comparison to younger patients.
Why Waste Wisdom Teeth?
Many people’s jaws are simply not big enough to house wisdom teeth. This is how they get impacted, or stuck, in your jaw and unable to grow up through your gums like other teeth. Ouch! As wisdom teeth attempt to break through the gums, they crowd surrounding teeth and can lead to pain, swelling, and infection.
The wisdom teeth that do break through the gums may be so far back that proper cleaning and care is difficult – leading to cavities or gum disease. But you know what? Not all wisdom teeth always need to be removed. Some people only need one or two extracted. It’s important to remember that wisdom teeth are not inherently bad by any means.
Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Everyone has two options: to remove or not to remove. Of course we’d all rather keep the teeth and not have issues if possible. However, if your wisdom teeth are causing pain, an infection, crowding other teeth, or are impacted – extraction is the way to go. Not dealing with crowding, impaction, or pain? You may be the lucky winner of a pretty set of wisdom teeth. You get to keep yours! Either way, your dentist will be able to help you make the best decision for your mouth and body.
If your child is a teenager, start talking to your dentist about wisdom teeth. It doesn’t hurt to get their early opinion and possibly begin to devise a plan for the future. And yes, that plan may change. Have more questions? Give us a call or request an appointment easily online. It is our mission to insure every patient has “a smile to build a future on”.