The removal of wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, is one of the most common surgical procedures in dentistry.
Wisdom teeth grow at the back of your mouth and are the last teeth to come through If they do at all. Most people have four wisdom teeth – one in each corner of the mouth so to speak. Wisdom teeth usually grow through the gums during the teens or early twenties but often stay buried. By the time wisdom teeth come in, the other 28 adult teeth are usually in place, so there isn’t always enough room in the mouth for the wisdom teeth to erupt properly. Due to the lack of space, wisdom teeth can sometimes emerge at an angle or get stuck and only partially emerge. Wisdom teeth that grow through like this are known as impacted.
What We Recommend
Dr. Spear recommends getting X-rays done around age 13-15 in order to see where the wisdom teeth currently are and at what age of development. Specific age is not the perfect indicator of when wisdom teeth should be treated so an early glimpse is important. The X-ray can help predict eruption trajectories and what potential problems may occur down the road. At this time you can discuss what the options are and the risks versus benefits of removing the wisdom teeth. Some people only need one, two or three wisdom teeth removed while others need all four
The benefits of getting your wisdom teeth removed at a young age are that most people experience a faster recovery time early in life, the teeth can be easier to remove due to increased bone pliability. Early removal can prevent damage to otherwise good alignment of teeth or other dental work done and one can avoid unnecessary pain from wisdom teeth erupting. It is possible to have your wisdom teeth removed before they cause you any pain or problems which is why we recommend getting images done early.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Your wisdom teeth don’t necessarily need to be removed if they’re impacted but aren’t causing any problems. Sometimes, wisdom teeth that have become impacted or haven’t fully broken through the surface of the gum can cause dental problems. Food and bacteria can get trapped around the edge of the wisdom teeth, causing a build-up of plaque, which can lead to:
-Tooth decay: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/tooth-decay/
-Gum disease: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/
-Cellulitis: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cellulitis/ – a bacterial infection in the cheek, tongue or throat
-Abscess: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/abscess/ – a collection of pus in your wisdom teeth or the surrounding tissue as a result of a bacterial infection
-Cysts and benign growths: very rarely, a wisdom tooth that hasn’t cut through the gum develops a cyst (a fluid-filled swelling)
How Wisdom Teeth Are Removed
Wisdom teeth are removed by using dental anesthesia to make the patient comfortable, then the teeth are accessed and often segmented to sacrifice what’s coming out and not what’s staying in. Oral sedation or IV sedation are options for care management.
On average, it takes Dr. Spear anywhere from a few minutes to 20 minutes to remove a wisdom tooth.
After your wisdom teeth removal surgery, you may have swelling and discomfort, both inside and outside your mouth. Occasionally, some mild bruising is also visible. This is usually worse for the first three days and resolves in one week, but it can last for up to several weeks.
If you would like to learn more about wisdom tooth removal surgery or would like to book an appointment to discuss you or your teen’s options please call our office at 817-920-1488.