Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to develop, usually erupting into the mouth between the ages of 18-21. Because of their position in the extreme back corners of the mouth, their removal is sometimes warranted. There are three main reasons why wisdom teeth may need to be removed:
- There is simply not enough room in the jaw to house these additional teeth, which results in the wisdom teeth only coming part way in. This can lead to infections around them and be very painful
- Wisdom teeth have the greatest tendency than any other tooth in the mouth to develop at odd angles, which results in them becoming “impacted”. They never reach their fully erupted status, even if there was room. This can put pressure on the teeth in front, causing jaw pain or crowding, not to mention the infection problems listed above.
- Because of their difficult location in the mouth, hygiene is often a big problem. It is not easy to adequately clean a wisdom tooth in a mouth that barely has room to hold it. Inability to maintain proper hygiene on even fully-erupted wisdom teeth could necessitate removal.
Because younger people tend to heal better and faster, the bone in the jaws are softer, and the roots of the wisdom teeth are not yet fully developed, the ideal time to remove these, if a likely complication like the ones listed above is foreseen, is in the late teens to early twenties. Prolonging the removal of obviously problematic teeth could, and usually does, result in greater trauma and complications when removed later on.
Removal only requires local anesthetic (novacaine) but can be supplemented with nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation, or completely avoided with general anesthesia (put to sleep). Discomfort levels after the procedure is through is usually minor and only lingers for a day or two. Trusting a dental practice, like ANDERTON DENTAL GROUP, who has literally done thousands of wisdom teeth procedures, is a smart choice and the right move.