Wisdom Tooth Removal
Signs Wisdom Teeth Are Growing In
Third molars, commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are usually the last four of 32 teeth to surface in the mouth, generally making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25. They are located at the back of the mouth (top and bottom), near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” stems from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to erupt properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become impacted (stuck) in an undesirable or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.
Reasons to Remove Wisdom Teeth
While not all wisdom teeth require removal, wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is present, and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
- Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.
- Disease: Although uncommon, cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
- Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.
- Tooth Crowding: It has been theorized that impacted wisdom teeth can put pressure on other teeth and cause them to become misaligned (crowded or twisted). This theory isn’t universally accepted by all dental professionals, and it has never been validated by any scientific studies.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
- Examination: As with any dental procedure, we will need to conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic x-rays will be taken in order for us to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems. The x-rays can also expose additional risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (typically in the mid-teen years) is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination we can provide you with the best options for your particular case.
- Procedure: Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication (if necessary), to help manage any swelling or discomfort.
- Potential Complications: A very small percentage of patients (2-5%) develop a condition known as “dry socket” after a tooth extraction. After a wisdom tooth is pulled, a blood clot forms as part of the healing process. If that blood clot is dislodged or dissolved, bone and nerves may be exposed to air and food. This can lead to pain and infection that can last for a few days.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery
The ease and speed of recovery really depends on the individual. There are some ways to ensure your recovery is successful, and New Image Dentistry has put together a guide for your post-removal needs.