Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually begin to erupt anywhere from age 17-21. They are called wisdom teeth due to the fact that they appear during early adulthood when a person gains wisdom. There are many considerations when deciding what is the right course of action for your wisdom teeth. At All American Dental, Dr. Wietholder will discuss these considerations with you and make recommendations based on your specific situation.
Impacted means that the wisdom teeth are “stuck” underneath of the gums because they are not coming in straight or they do not have enough room to allow them to come in properly. Also, impacted wisdom teeth can sometimes cause cysts, which may damage the jaw bone or neighboring teeth. In many instances, especially in younger people, it is best to remove these teeth to prevent future issues.
If wisdom teeth are not impacted and are coming in straight when viewed on an x-ray, then they may not have to be extracted. However, there are several possible situations that would still make extracting the wisdom teeth a good idea.
Oftentimes, wisdom teeth erupt in poor positions, or they still have a lot of gum tissue around them, or they only partially erupt through the gums. These can all allow for bacteria to enter between the teeth and gums and cause an infection or elevate the risk of infection in the future. Often, extraction is the best choice in these situations. Wisdom teeth can cause severe pain and swelling when they are in the process of erupting. Usually, these teeth require extraction as well.
If wisdom teeth do erupt into a good position, they are usually at a higher risk for developing cavities than most of your other teeth because they are very far toward the back of the mouth. Effectively brushing these areas twice daily can be very challenging. Extraction can be the best treatment in this situation also.
At All American Dental, we begin screening x-rays for wisdom teeth in the early teen years to track their development. If Dr. Wietholder recommends that they be extracted, it is usually better to do so before the roots are fully developed, usually between ages 16-20. Wisdom teeth can be extracted at any age, but young people tend to recover quicker.
We offer oral sedation and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) for wisdom teeth procedures. After the extractions, patients are usually able to resume non-vigorous activity within 3 days. Strenuous physical activity should be delayed for 7-10 days following an extraction. Pain medication is giving after surgery, and a soft diet is required for a few days.
Call All American Dental in Columbia, MO at 573-449-1918 to schedule a consultation for you or your child.