The large third molars – more commonly known as the wisdom teeth – served an important purpose for our early human ancestors in helping them process their rough diets and replacing the functioning of teeth that were inevitably lost to wear and tear. However, most modern human jaws don’t have enough room for the wisdom teeth to emerge properly, so they become impacted and potentially problematic.
Impacted wisdom teeth face an increased risk of issues like infection, abscesses, cysts and tumors. Although there is not enough space for them, these teeth will continue to try to push through the gums, leading to discomfort and possible damage to or misalignment of surrounding teeth. In order to prevent these outcomes, many patients will opt to have their impacted wisdom teeth removed, even if they are not symptomatic.
The dentist will begin this process by evaluating your case to determine if extraction is recommended. This requires x-rays for the dentist to be able to view the position of the wisdom teeth in your jaw.
If your wisdom teeth are impacted, you may want to proceed with extraction. The dentist will educate you on all of the risks and benefits involved with wisdom tooth extraction so that you can make a fully informed decision. Your dental provider will also work with you to help you select the most suitable sedation option.
The wisdom teeth are extracted in a routine outpatient procedure, and most patients are able to resume most of their normal routines within a matter of days. The wisdom teeth are extracted in a routine outpatient procedure, and most patients are able to resume most of their normal routines within a matter of days. Post-operative complications can extend that recovery timeline, so your dentist will give you extensive instructions to follow after the extraction to reduce your risk of issues like dry sockets. Please be sure to review those instructions and ask any questions you may have about them.
Younger patients – those who are younger than age 25 – tend to fare better with wisdom tooth extraction than their older peers. This is because the roots of the wisdom teeth become more entrenched over time, so it’s easier to remove them in older teens or young adults. Younger patients also usually recover more quickly. A dentist can determine the likelihood of wisdom tooth impaction in patients even in their early teens (although extraction typically wouldn’t be performed until later), so there’s no need to delay this treatment if it would benefit you.
Do you still have your wisdom teeth? If so, schedule a consultation at our office to learn if they are impacted and to explore the possibility of having them extracted.