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Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are the final set of teeth to grow- these are also referred to as “third molars.” For the longest time, it was common practice to have the wisdom teeth of teenagers and young adults extracted. The reasoning behind this was that they are often misaligned and a hub for common dental problems. However, it’s not always necessary to have these set of teeth removed especially if they are healthy, fully erupted and well positioned.

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The Problem with Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth tend to have many problems. Many times, they do not have enough room to fully develop, leading to crooked alignments. It is not rare to find wisdom teeth that have developed horizontally. Sometimes, these teeth are not able to fully erupt through the gums and there are wisdom teeth that are completely trapped in the jaw. In cases where the wisdom teeth are able to partially erupt, they create the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. This is because the space in between the gum and the tooth itself is hard to clean, making that area more prone to infection. Most dentists will recommend extracting your wisdom teeth if they do not emerge fully. This is of course to prevent any of the dental problems highlighted above. The extraction of wisdom teeth is often advised amongst young adults since the roots are not fully mature, which means that it is easier to recover from the procedure. That said, the decision on whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed is one that will depend on your oral health and the positioning of these teeth.

Why You Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

The American Dental Association recommends having the wisdom teeth removed if you experience the following conditions within or around the teeth:

  • Pain
  • Gum disease
  • Widespread decay
  • Tumor
  • Cysts
  • Damage of surrounding teeth

While the mature adult should have 32 teeth, most of our mouths can only fit 28 teeth which is why wisdom teeth often have problems with their eruption. When these 4 wisdom teeth try to fit into an already confined jaw space, there is bound to be misalignment and improper eruption. In such cases, the dental surgeon will recommend having the teeth removed so as to have enough room for your other teeth. If the teeth are misaligned or develop sideways (impacted) as is common, they will cause a shift in your teeth over time.

They also may damage your surrounding teeth and removing them is often the best course of action to take in protecting your other teeth. The fact that it’s hard to clean misaligned teeth and the spaces in between is also a major concern as far as your oral health is concerned. This is because it’s very easy for food to get trapped into those hard to reach areas leading to an accumulation of plaque and bacteria. The result would be an infection such as pericoronitis.

As the wisdom teeth try to develop, they may cause tension within your jaw structure leading to cysts. Cysts are fluid filled sacs that develop along the edge of the gum. Besides being

What to Expect With Wisdom Teeth Removal?

If your Santa Ana dentist finds that the best treatment option would be removing your wisdom teeth, he or she will refer you to a specialist. The procedure may differ depending on the nature of the teeth and you may undergo different procedures depending on how the teeth have developed. Not all teeth are removed at the same time. The specialist may decide to take out a few teeth at a time or remove all four on the same day. The procedure may take an hour or a couple of hours depending on the number of teeth being removed.

This is a highly tolerable procedure as it is conducted under anesthesia. The patient will decide on whether to have a local or general anesthesia. If you do decide to undergo the procedure under a general anesthesia, you will need to organize for transportation back home. General anesthesia makes you light headed and you should not drive back home yourself. If you choose to undergo the procedure with a local anesthetic, the specialist may decide to give you anxiety medication. Depending on the anxiety medication provided, you may or may not be able to drive yourself back home.

Wisdom teeth that have fully erupted are much easier to extract and these are extracted just like any other tooth. However, if the tooth is not fully erupted or trapped underneath the gum, an incision will be made to the gum to expose the tooth. In such a case, the tooth would be removed in small sections.

Wisdom Tooth Removal: Possible Complications

Like any other procedure, there is the possibility of complications that arise from the extraction of wisdom teeth. The patient may experience pain in the jaw or gum, as well a foul smell and taste from the empty socket. This condition is referred to as a dry socket and it mostly occurs when the patient does not follow the care instructions provided by the doctor. There is also the risk of nerve damage occurring and while the risk is low, the effects could be dire. Nerve damage may bring about numbness and a tingling sensation in the gums, teeth, lower lip and even the tongue. Pain is also a side effect of nerve damage.

If your wisdom teeth are not developing as they should, you might need to have them removed. Even if they are not causing pain or other problems, the dentist may recommend removal to prevent future problems. A lot of people are not aware that they even have wisdom teeth until they are identified through an x-ray examination. Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. However, if there is a possibility that these teeth will cause problems for you in the future, it’s better to be safe than sorry. The younger you have your wisdom teeth removed, the better it is for you since younger people to heal faster. Talk to your doctor about the health of your wisdom teeth.