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Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Wisdom teeth also referred to as third molars, are usually the last four teeth to surface or erupt in the mouth, which means that they appear between 17 and 25 years of age. They are located top and bottom at the back of the mouth, close to the entrance of the throat. The word “wisdom” relates to the idea that molars erupt when the individual has increased in”wisdom” maturity.

Most of the time wisdom teeth may not erupt properly and attain full functionality due to insufficient space. This can make the teeth impacted in a potentially harmful position. If not treated, impacted teeth can trigger infection, possible tumors and cysts, and damage to other teeth.

Impaction usually occurs in various degrees depending on the specific depth of the teeth within the jaw:

Soft Tissue Impaction: in this case, the tooth’s upper part (the crown) has penetrated through the bone, but some parts of the crown are still being covered by the gingiva (gum) and haven’t positioned correctly around the tooth. Because keeping the area clean is difficult, food can easily get trapped below the gum and lead to a tooth decay and/or infection, resulting in swelling and pain.

Partial Bony Impaction: some part of the tooth has erupted, but a part of the crown is still buried below the gum as well as the surrounding jawbone. Also, because keeping the area clean, it becomes prone to infection.

Complete Bony Impaction: the jawbone encases the jawbone completely. More complex removal methods will be required here.

Reasons to remove wisdom teeth

While all wisdom teeth do not need to be removed, wisdom teeth are often extracted as a result of problems such as infection or decay, pain, or as a means of avoiding more serious issues in the future. If one or more wisdom teeth are impacted, and not treated, it can lead to a number of potentially dangerous outcomes such as:

  • Damage to nearby teeth: insulting impacted wisdom teeth can badly affect second molars (the teeth in front of the wisdom teeth), resulting in cavities (tooth decay), gum disease (periodontal disease), and bone loss.
  • Disease: although not so common, tumors and cysts surface in the areas that surround wisdom teeth.
  • Infection: food and bacteria can get trapped below the gum tissue, causing an infection which can be a source of severe pain.
  • Tooth Crowding: it has been well documented that can mount pressure on other teeth and cause them to become misaligned. This theory is not backed by any valid study and it is not universally endorsed by all dental professionals.

Wisdom teeth examination

Just like any dental procedure, the dentist will first examine the wisdom teeth as well as surrounding teeth thoroughly. Digital or panoramic x-rays will then be taken to access how the wisdom teeth are positioned and check for any problem. Additional risk factors such as decay or deterioration of nearby teeth can also be revealed by the X-rays. Early diagnosis and treatment are recommended to identify possible problems and to make life easier for patients who require wisdom teeth extraction. Your dentist will conduct every examination and then provide the best treatment option for your specific case.

What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?

Wisdom teeth extraction is a commonly performed procedure under intravenous (IV) sedation, local anesthesia, or general anesthesia by a specially trained dentist wearing an office surgery suite. The patient is not required to stay overnight, and you will be given post-operative medication and instructions, if necessary, to deal with any discomfort or swelling.

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