The teeth usually called “wisdom teeth” are in fact third molars, and they are typically the final four teeth to emerge from the gums. For most people, their wisdom teeth erupt when they are somewhere between the ages of 17 to 25 years old.This stage in life, the end of adolescence and the beginnings of young adulthood, often brings a new level of maturity, which is where the name “wisdom teeth” originates.
First of all, not everyone has to have their wisdom teeth taken out. But it’s true that this is a very common procedure.
For many people, there is simply not enough space in the mouth to accommodate the wisdom teeth once they begin to come in. If the tooth has nowhere to go, it can get stuck in the gums in a potentially detrimental way. This phenomenon is called an “impacted tooth,” and it can lead to problems such as:
Depending upon exactly how the impacted tooth is situated within the jaw, it can be “stuck” in one of the following ways:
Our dentists here at Empress Walk Dental recommend wisdom tooth removal in cases where the patient is experiencing active discomfort, pain, decay, infection, and/or swelling, and in some cases to prevent these symptoms from occurring in the first place.
When left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can create several different problems, including but not limited to:
Before your Empress Walk Dental dentist makes a diagnosis and treatment recommendation, a comprehensive examination of your mouth is necessary so that the dentist can look at the wisdom teeth and the teeth surrounding it in order to determine whether or not there is a need to perform the removal, whether that is to solve an existing problem or prevent a future one. In order to get the full picture of what is going on, your dentist will take digital or panoramic X-rays to check out the positioning of the teeth, etc. as well as any other underlying issues that would not be immediately apparent in a visual examination, such as tooth decay or degradation.
At Empress Walk Dental, we typically recommend that our patients be evaluated early on for wisdom teeth issues – ideally, in their mid-teenage years. Catching problems before they become especially serious is the best way to prevent more widespread damage and achieve the optimal results from treatment. Keep in mind that a comprehensive exam is the only way for patients of any age to know the full extent of their situation and for your dentist to make appropriate treatment recommendations.
The procedure is usually performed in an office surgery setting using one of the following depending upon the degree of impaction and other factors: