Many people need to have their wisdom teeth removed. In this post, we’ll first discuss what wisdom teeth are, as well as why and when they need to removed, and then give an overview of the removal process.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Located in the back of your mouth, wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that typically emerge between 17 and 25 years old. If they do erupt through your gums, you might feel a bit of discomfort, especially if they are overcrowding your neighboring teeth. If they grow in correctly, third molars may assist you in chewing, although not necessary. Hence, these teeth are often called “vestigial structures” because evolution has caused them to become less functional, if not useless. Interestingly, you can have anywhere from zero to four of these teeth.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
If you have any infection, tooth decay, gum disease, or tumors near your wisdom teeth, they will need to be removed. But one of the main reasons that third molars need to be removed is improper alignment, which can negatively affect your oral health:
- If your wisdom teeth are misaligned, this can lead to the damaging and crowding of your other teeth.
- Misalignment can create space for food to get trapped, causing tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.
- Improperly aligned third molars can even have adverse effects on your jawbone due to impaction. If your teeth are impacted, they are trapped within the jawbone or underneath your gums. The development of a cyst can damage the bone that supports the surrounding teeth, as well as their roots.
- Moreover, partial impaction, which means the teeth have erupted only part way, allows bacteria to infiltrate and infect your gums.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Pulled?
During a patient’s teenage years and twenties, we’ll check on the growth of their third molars by taking dental X-rays and visually inspecting the area at their regular dental checkup. Once the wisdom teeth begin developing, based on their alignment, we’ll be able to determine whether or not they’re impacted and if they need to be removed before they erupt or extracted after they erupt.
What Should I Expect During the Removal Procedure?
There is no need to worry about getting your wisdom teeth removed! Depending on your specific needs and the positioning of your teeth, you will receive dental sedation or the teeth that are to be removed, along with the tissue surrounding the teeth, will be numbed with a local anesthetic. If your wisdom teeth have already fully erupted, removing them should be similar to a regular tooth extraction. However, if they are impacted, you may require more anesthesia and a longer recuperation period. But no matter the severity of your situation or the complexity of the procedure, we’ll talk you through the entire process to make sure you feel comfortable.
We Only Remove Teeth When Necessary!
If you think you need your wisdom teeth taken out, contact us today to schedule a consultation at our office.