why do you have wisdom teeth removed

Source: Web exclusive: May 2011 What are wisdom teeth? You have three molars on each side of your upper and lower jaws, for a total of 12. The wisdom teeth are third in line, right at the back. You may not have all four wisdom teeth; according to Dr. Curtis Gregoire, assistant professor in the faculty of dentistry at the University of Dalhousie, about 30 percent of people are missing one or more. Why might I need to have my wisdom teeth removed? Often, wisdom teeth don t grow in properly. A tooth is impacted if it s prevented from reaching its normal position (say, by obstruction from tissue or another tooth). Impacted teeth can cause problems with chewing or periodontal problems and damage adjacent teeth. A tooth can be partially impacted it has broken through the surface of the gums but can t grow into a normal position. Dentists can determine which teeth won t grow in properly. Impacted wisdom teeth may hurt, and they can develop, infections or periodontal disease. It s often when these problems arise (as well as during regular dental exams) that people realize they need to have their wisdom teeth extracted, says Dr. Gregoire. Some people never need surgery their wisdom teeth grow into proper position, or the teeth stay in the jawbone and don t cause problems. Others don t need surgery as young adults, but their wisdom teeth may cause problems later in life. When should I have my wisdom teeth removed? In general, it s best to have wisdom teeth taken out between ages 16 and 22, says Dr. Gregoire. Like other teeth, wisdom teeth develop in the jawbone. The crown of each tooth is formed first, and it s pushed up when the root of the tooth develops.


In young adults, the formation of the root is not complete, so there are fewer complications and risks. What s the extraction procedure? You ll be sedated (typically with intravenous anaesthetic). Once you re comfortable, the dentist administers a local anaesthetic. The surgery takes 20 to 30 minutes. Afterward, you ll spend time in the recovery room. Ask a family member or friend to take you home. Recovery time depends on your age and the degree of tooth impaction; for younger patients, the swelling and discomfort may last three to five days. Your dental professional may prescribe pain medication. What are the risks of wisdom tooth removal? You may feel added discomfort if one of the blood clots that form in your tooth sockets post-surgery becomes dislodged this is called dry socket and is the most common complication ( are more prone to this). And, as with any surgery, there s a risk of infection. The most serious potential problem with wisdom teeth extraction is nerve injury. Over time, the roots of your wisdom teeth will become fully developed and your jawbone denser. The older you get, the more difficult the surgery is. There s a nerve in the jawbone below the roots of the teeth, and the main risk is injury to that nerve, which can cause numbness in the lower lip, says Dr. Gregoire. Roots grow down toward the nerve, so that risk is somewhat higher if the tooth is impacted with a fully formed root. The risk is extremely low if the roots are not formed. Is there an age when it s too late to have wisdom tooth surgery? It s not uncommon for impacted teeth to become symptomatic when people are in their 30s, 40s or 50s, says Dr.


Gregoire, who regularly sees older adults for wisdom tooth removal. There s no age limit, but as you get older, the surgery is more difficult, recovery is more difficult and the risk of complications is higher. If your dentist recommends surgery, don t wait. Dr. Gregoire often sees patients who have cavities in their impacted teeth and the adjacent teeth, which may also have to be pulled. I see cases like that every week, he says. People put it off and put it off, and they end up losing eight molars instead of four. Don t miss out! and get nutritious recipes, healthy weight-loss tips, easy ways to stay in shape and all the health news you need, delivered straight to your inbox.
Even if only one or two of your are causing you pain, your oral surgeon is likely to recommend that you get all four of them removed. Is this really necessary? Wouldnвt it be better to space out the tooth extractions, or simply keep the teeth that arenвt causing any problem? The truth is that for most patients, removing all four wisdom teeth at once is the best option. Hereвs why. Any wisdom tooth that is healthy and growing properly may not require extraction. So you could certainly opt to remove only the painful teeth now and adopt a wait-and-see approach for the others. Keep in mind, though, that the third molars are notorious for causing a variety of dental problems. As they grow in, they frequently become impacted (stuck inside the gums). And if they do manage to erupt, these teeth donвt always come in straight. Irregular growth can damage nearby teeth or crowd the mouth.


Keeping your can also increase your risk of developing gum disease. This area of the mouth is difficult to clean well and is a major breeding ground for the bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. For these and other reasons, leaving your third molars in place may not be a good idea. But why should you have all four wisdom teeth extracted at once, rather than removing them at different times? Financially, multiple extractions will cost more than having them all removed at once. If you space out the extractions, youвll have to pay for multiple oral surgeon office visits as well as additional procedural and anesthesia costs. Also, your discomfort and inconvenience will essentially be the same whether you have one or four extractions. Do you really want to go through that process multiple times? For most patients, the answer is no. With proper aftercare, patients typically experience the same amount of overall discomfort, regardless of how many wisdom teeth are removed. The extraction sites usually heal within about three to five days, and the gums are completely recovered within a few weeks. Most patients who require extraction for one or two wisdom teeth eventually face having to remove the remaining third molars. Ultimately, however, the answer to this question will depend on your diagnosis and what the oral surgeon believes is the most appropriate treatment approach. Dr. Maxfield and Dr. Partridge of Oral Maxillofacial Surgery of Utah can answer questions and address all of your concerns. Contact our Salt Lake City, Utah, office today to for your wisdom tooth extraction.

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