Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed
Wisdom teeth are also known as third molars – the last teeth to file in. Talking about wisdom teeth can be scary for children and adults, because removing those teeth usually involves some form of surgery. As a result, we all fear dealing with the dreaded “impacted” wisdom tooth, yet we still watch the funny viral post-surgery videos on YouTube.
Thankfully, 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. Even if you’re still worried about your family recording you on the way home.
Are Age and Wisdom Teeth Connected?
There isn’t necessarily a rule that states when people should get their wisdom teeth extracted. But 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.
Benefits of Removing Your Wisdom Teeth
Less clutter means fewer orthodontic problems
As wisdom teeth grow and emerge, they can overload your teeth, causing damage to adjacent molars. When there is no room left for them, wisdom teeth can cause alignment problems over time as other teeth are slowly pushed out. As a result, removing your wisdom teeth reduces your chances of having braces or other expensive forms of corrective surgery to correct misalignment. If you’ve had braces or corrective dental surgery, wisdom teeth extraction will reduce the chances of you losing your beautiful smile.
Preventing damage to surrounding teeth
Pressure from wisdom teeth can weaken and even destroy the roots of adjacent teeth or wear away enamel, leaving adjacent teeth vulnerable to decay and bone resorption. In addition, wisdom teeth themselves can be very difficult to reach and therefore need to be kept clean. Fully erupted wisdom teeth are considered impacted wisdom teeth. These are virtually impossible to clean. Wisdom tooth extraction can save you from the need for costly and uncomfortable root canal treatment and fillings.
Reducing the risk of dental disease and infection
Vulnerable to tooth decay and other forms of gun disease due to the existence of wisdom teeth, especially impacted teeth. A common consequence of impacted wisdom teeth is gingivitis, which can be persistent and difficult to treat. An infection under your gums can affect nerves or enter the bloodstream, becoming a condition called sepsis that affects the rest of the body. Sepsis can be a serious and life-threatening illness.
Oral and Maxillofacial Pain Relief
In addition to preventing tooth decay and disease, wisdom tooth extraction has the added benefit of relieving simple discomfort. Reducing pressure, reducing gingival sensitivity, and reducing tooth sensitivity are all possible by removing those painful third molars. The result is a better quality of life and fewer restrictions on the foods and drinks you can enjoy. Pressure from wisdom teeth can also cause chronic headaches.
Preventing Cysts, Tumors and Jawbone Damage
Impacted wisdom teeth can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can lead to cysts or tumors that invade the jawbone and cause temporomandibular (the sliding hinge) joint pain, severe, requiring specialist treatment.
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.
Beyond general symptoms, as long as you regularly meet with your dentist, they will take x-rays of your teeth and jaw. These x-rays will allow your dentist to predict the growth patterns for your wisdom teeth. Some people have space in their mouths, but many people do not.
If it looks like your wisdom teeth are growing in sideways, then they’re impacted and will need to be removed. Otherwise, they can lead to overcrowding, crooked teeth, and even gum infections. And yes, they can even push your teeth out of alignment if you’ve already had braces.
Find Out About Your Child’s Wisdom Teeth at Snodgrass-King Dentistry
If your child is a teenager, start talking to your dentist about wisdom teeth. It doesn’t hurt to get their early opinion and begin devising a plan for the future. And yes, that plan may change. But you’ll be prepared! Have more questions? Give us a call or request an appointment easily online. It’s our mission statement is “We keep you smiling for life!”
So whether you need dental care for yourself or for your child, make an appointment at Snodgrass-King Dentistry today!