Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in – and the ones least needed for good oral health.
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, are called such because they develop when most individuals become adults (which is near 17 years of age).
Because our jaws are smaller than our ancestors*, our wisdom teeth may not have enough room to fit in our mouths properly. Therefore, problems can result if these additional teeth attempt to emerge.
Most people have four wisdom teeth, one in each corner of the mouth, and often they are impacted (trapped in the jawbone and gums). Cramped for room, these impacted teeth grow in many different directions and removal may be recommended by your dentist to prevent potential problems.
Whether wisdom teeth cause your mouth harm depends on several factors, including the size of your jaw and how your wisdom teeth grown in. You may have no symptoms at all, but the other teeth in your mouth could be at risk for damage.
*Our ancestors needed large jaws and more teeth for their tougher diet. Since our lifestyle has changed and we eat softer foods, we no longer require that extra chewing power.
Potential Problems if Wisdom Teeth Are Not Removed
If you learn the different ways wisdom teeth can develop and the problems that can arise, you’ll be better able to understand why you may need to have them removed.
Infection in the gums– When a wisdom tooth partially breaks through the gum’s surface, bacteria can get under the flap, causing an infection in the gum.
Crowding displaces the next tooth- An impacted or erupting wisdom tooth can push on adjacent teeth, causing them to become crooked or even damaging them structurally.
Decayed wisdom tooth- Decay forms in a wisdom tooth or the tooth it is touching, because it is hard to clean due to its position or because it is partially covered by gum tissue which may collect plaque, cavity causing bacteria.
Poorly positioned wisdom teeth- A wisdom tooth that grows toward the cheek can irritate nearby tissue. If an erupted tooth is crooked it may be hard to clean or make it hard to bite down.
Cyst destroys bone- If the sac that holds the crown remains in the bone, it can fill with fluid, forming a cyst that can destroy surrounding bone.
It is best to have the wisdom teeth removed around 17 years of age because that is when they usually develop. Removal will be easier as the bone may not be as dense as in an older person. Also, recovery will be faster since the roots usually have not yet fully developed.
Wisdom teeth extraction
Wisdom teeth extraction are done by an experienced general dentist or oral surgeon. The process starts with a thorough evaluation of your medical history to make sure that there are no contraindications to surgery and/or sedation.
At Jagare Ridge Dental, we recommend some type of sedation with wisdom teeth extractions to help reduce any anxiety level and make the procedure more comfortable. We offer oral sedation or laughing gas as for sedation.
If you would like to get deeper sedation such as IV sedation or general sedation we would refer you to an oral surgeon and anesthesiologist that would be able to safely perform the procedure why you are asleep.
At Jagare Ridge dental we typically book 2 hours for your appointments but the actual extractions themselves usually takes 1 hour or less to perform.
There will be very specific post op instructions as well as follow-ups to ensure that you are healing well. If there are any concerns or higher levels of discomfort, we recommend coming in for a further evaluation. If you have any question regarding wisdom teeth extraction please give our office a call.