Wisdom teeth - sometimes called third molars - are a set of teeth which usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 25. Some people never experience any problems with their wisdom teeth, but others can encounter issues.
One of the most common problems is impacted wisdom teeth. In impaction, the tooth does not erupt correctly, pushing into other molars at the back of the mouth. Impaction can lead to swelling and other complications.
Another common issue is tooth decay. It can be hard to clean wisdom teeth because of their location at the back of the mouth. Their position makes cleaning difficult and can lead to accelerated decay, swelling of the surrounding gum, and the formation of pockets.
Often, the best solution is extraction - removing the wisdom tooth so that it can’t cause any more problems.
Wisdom teeth are vestigial. In our evolutionary past, they were necessary. But today, many dentists consider them to be unnecessary as they can cause teeth overcrowding and more inside your mouth. You don’t need your wisdom teeth for chewing or even for the structure of your face. Removing them does not make a difference to your bite.
Wisdom teeth extraction is the process of removing your wisdom teeth under anesthetic. The extraction of wisdom teeth can be a little more complicated than the removal of teeth elsewhere in the mouth for several reasons. Wisdom teeth are sometimes partially covered by the gum. On other occasions, the jawbone itself can make extraction a challenge.
Most wisdom teeth extractions are performed with sedation dentistry to help keep patients at ease during the entire process. If you have questions about sedation dentistry, feel free to talk with our dental team when you come in for your appointment. We will be happy to answer any questions or concerns you might have prior to having your wisdom teeth extracted
There are a variety of situations in which wisdom teeth extraction becomes necessary. Wisdom tooth extraction is crucial preventive dentistry. By having your wisdom teeth extracted before they emerge, you can prevent a variety of painful and dangerous consequences.
Some wisdom teeth do not emerge at all: there’s not enough room in the jaw. Insufficient space leads to impaction, which can cause pain, swelling and infection.
Wisdom teeth can also erupt at an angle that opens up a flap of gum at the back of the mouth. This gum “pocket” can fill up with food particles, leading to infection, swelling and severe periodontal disease.
If you don’t fix the problem and the infection or impaction continues, you can suffer bone loss from the surrounding jaw.
The first step in any wisdom tooth extraction procedure is to take an X-ray of your teeth. The purpose of this is to both see the angle of the problem wisdom tooth and review its proximity to a nerve that gives you sensation in your lips. Some extractions can damage the nerve that leads through the jaw, leading to permanent numbness.
The next step is to administer the anesthetic. As discussed, many practitioners prefer to use local anesthetic: it’s less risky and eliminates pain in the jaw. Sometimes, though, a general anesthetic is more suitable, particularly for those who require multiple extractions.
For many patients their wisdom teeth are often partially covered by their gums. Your Boston dentist must cut through the gum first and then detach the tooth from the bone before he or she can extract it. Sometimes, the wisdom tooth will need to be cut into separate pieces to make the extraction process more manageable.
In most cases, the extraction is over quickly. The Wisdom teeth will come out easily, especially if they have shallow roots.
Once you’ve had your wisdom teeth out, there will be a hole in your mouth where it once was. Below are some tips to should follow once the procedure is over.
Impacted wisdom teeth do not always cause symptoms. Many can hide under the gum for years without you even realising that they’re there.
Sometimes, however, the tooth can become infected and cause damage to other teeth in the surrounding area. When should you go and visit your dentist?
When wisdom teeth become infected, the surrounding area becomes inflamed as the body’s immune system activates and converges on the region. The swelling is designed to protect the surrounding tissue and kill off the infection, but it often makes the experience of an infected wisdom tooth even more painful. It’s not uncommon for the infected site to exude pus, leaving a foul taste in your mouth. It may also be painful and difficult for you to open your jaw because of the extent of swelling around the gum and surrounding jaw muscles.
If you have an infection, you need to visit the dentist. The dentist will give you antibiotics to help reduce the infection - something that is often necessary before extraction can take place.
If you believe that your wisdom teeth require extraction or you would like a consultation, then get in touch with us today. We can review the state of your wisdom teeth and then suggest a suitable course of action. You should come and see us as soon as possible if you are experiencing pain or trouble opening your mouth.
Sergio A. Guzman