We deal with many common and uncommon dental health issues at Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Associates. With offices serving Montgomery, Prattville, and Troy, we have helped patients achieve great dental health and beautiful smiles in the process.
A common procedure that many people require as they become adults is the extraction of wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth removal is safe and routine, and it's better for patient wellness in the long run. Many people wonder when they should get their wisdom teeth taken out and why the extraction is important. Let's address these issues right now.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars that grow in behind the existing rear molars. These additional molars tend to grow in between the ages of 18 and 25.
These third molars are commonly called "wisdom teeth" because they grow in at a later age than the rest of a person's permanent teeth, an age where one is considered much wiser than they were when they were young.
At what age are wisdom teeth usually removed?
Wisdom teeth are typically removed around the ages of 18 to 20, though this can vary a fair amount from patient to patient based on the growth and development of these teeth. It's ideal for the wisdom teeth to be removed before they have a chance to grow in fully.
The Consequences of Not Removing Wisdom Teeth
Many times wisdom teeth grow in sideways or crooked, leading to impaction of the adjacent molars and other structures of the mouth. This can lead to major pain and soreness over time, which is uncomfortable and an annoyance. This pressure and impaction can result in damage to the adjacent teeth as well as frequent gum disease around the wisdom teeth.
Another important concern with regard to wisdom teeth is space in the mouth. Sometimes a patient's mandible (jaw) and maxilla (upper dental ridge) will not have enough room to accommodate the third molar. In those cases, the wisdom teeth make it difficult to clean behind the tooth. Similar problems may arise when trying to clean between the wisdom tooth and third molar.
Are there cases in which wisdom teeth do not need to be removed?
Yes, though they are somewhat rare.
If a patient has wisdom teeth that grow in straight, are completely healthy, and do not pose problems with basic dental hygiene or spacing, that patient will not need to have his or her wisdom teeth removed.
Assessing Your Situation
During your routine dental checkups, the progress of wisdom tooth growth will be monitored carefully through x-rays. This will allow you to undergo the surgical treatment that you need when and if it is needed.
Wisdom Tooth Removal: The Surgical Procedure
The extraction of the wisdom teeth will be performed under general anesthetic in order to prevent major discomfort and pain for the patient. Your oral surgeon will carefully make incisions in the gum tissue in order to access the third molar and jawbone. Sometimes the wisdom teeth may need to be broken into pieces in order to achieve full extraction.
What to Expect During Recovery
After wisdom tooth extraction surgery, sutures will be placed in order to promote healing. Patients will be asked to get ample rest early on and to maintain a diet of soft foods for a few days. Soreness, swelling, and bruising are all common, and patients can address these side effects through the careful use of cold compresses and pain relievers as directed.
Learn More About Advanced Dental Care Treatment
To learn more about wisdom tooth extraction and other matters related to general dental care, it's important that you contact our dental care center today. We will help you understand the entire process so that you can undergo the treatment you need with absolute confidence.