Wisdom Teeth

As children grow, they gain and lose baby teeth naturally as first and second molars come in with relatively only a little discomfort and little difficulty.  It can be a fun and exciting rite of passage.  However, in late teens and early twenties, a little more precaution is taken by dentists with third molars, which can affect the oral health and well-being of all young adults.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third molars to appear and usually come appear during young adulthood.  They received their name as they are the last of the three sets of molars, emerging much later than previous sets of molars.

Why wisdom teeth are often removed?

While in some cases young adults experience relatively no difficulty with incoming wisdom teeth, the majority often experience more severe effects caused by the following:

  1. Lack of space for the molars to erupt (or break through the surface of the gums).
  2. Blockage of a tooth as it is pushing through the gums into the mouth.
  3. Infection if bacteria enters the opening of the gums if wisdom teeth do not fully erupt (or break through the gums).
  4. Poor tooth positioning (such as a tooth entering sideways) as it can impact other teeth or nerves around it.

It is important to aware and proactive in regard to wisdom teeth as difficulties can affect a young adult’s oral and overall health–even into their adult years.

Why are wisdom teeth important?

Wisdom teeth can be very advantageous as a third set of molars to the quality of everyday life such as eating and chewing properly.  However, if wisdom teeth growing either above or below the gums are entering misaligned, they can impact other teeth around them, crowding or damaging nearby teeth as well as affecting the bone of the jaw or possibly nearby nerves.

How does wisdom teeth removal work?

A dentist or oral surgeon can remove problematic wisdom teeth.  It is a relatively simple procedure if the tooth is completely erupted through the gums, and is as simple as numbing around the tooth with anesthesia, then removing the tooth.  On the other hand, a wisdom tooth that is still underneath the gums or is attached to the jawbone requires a more extensive procedure to extract the tooth.  This requires an incision to the gums to remove the tooth, or if embedded in the bone, may require the tooth and parts of the bone to be removed in pieces. This is all done while the patient is asleep under anesthesia.

What should I expect when I see a dentist for wisdom teeth observation or removal?

A dentist will assess the health and position of the four wisdom teeth and a dentist can do so even before they appear above the gums. This is done with digital x-rays taken in a dental office and allows the dentist to immediately assess the ­­­­­­­impact wisdom teeth will have on the teeth around it as well as the timeline of immediacy if the tooth needs to be removed.

Preventative assessments can save the patient severe difficulties and pain in the long run and ensure good oral health for years to come. If wisdom teeth are affecting your quality of life or to schedule an assessment  to ensure healthy wisdom teeth now and in the future, call the professional offices of Rogers Family Dental.