Wisdom Teeth

Wiswisdom-tooth-girl.jpgdom teeth, or third molars, do not always erupt properly.  It’s wise to get an early opinion from your dentist before they become impacted, causing pain, swelling, infection, caries, and gum disease.

Why don’t wisdom teeth grow in right?

The shape of the modern human mouth is often too small to accommodate wisdom teeth, which make their first appearance in young adults 17 to 26.  Over the course of time, humans have developed smaller jaws.  When humans learned to harness fire for cooking foods and developed blade tools to better process food before consumption, they reduced the need for strong jaws to chew food.  According to studies of ancient skull specimens, over time, a full set of
teeth in a smaller jaw caused crowding in permanent teeth.

What does impacted mean?

When wisdom teeth do not have room to grow, they are considered impacted – no place to go and no plans to grow.  Third molar impaction is the most prevalent medical developmental disorder.

wisdom teeth xray

What kind of problems can impacted third molars cause?

Although not all wisdom teeth cause problems, some serious problems can develop if the condition of the teeth is not properly observed.  Partially erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for organisms that may cause infection, and cysts and tumors.  An impacted wisdom tooth, can press against the nerves of the second molar and cause pain and damage. Jaw pain and gum disease may also occur.

When is removal necessary?

Removal is generally recommended to avoid problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar.  People younger than 16 heal easier, as well.  At an early age, people should be evaluated by one of our dentists who can track third molar development with the help of x-rays.  Second molars should be visible to lessen the chance of damaging them during surgery.  This occurs at age 11 or 12.

What if I do not have any symptoms?

People with symptoms of impaction, such as pain, swelling, and infection should have their wisdom teeth removed immediately.  However, those with no symptoms can avoid the chance of ever suffering from impacted wisdom teeth or achieve better orthodontic treatment results by having them removed.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

Some people choose to have normal local anesthetic while others prefer general sedation, where they can sleep through the procedure.  If your wisdom teeth are erupted we can remove them here at Start Smiling Dental using local anesthetic and nitrous to help you relax.  If they are impacted, we will refer you to an oral surgeon who can remove them under general anesthetic.  Recovery from these procedures is generally between 3-10 days depending on the severity of the impaction.

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