Wisdom teeth are our third molars, which grow in sometime between the ages of 17 and 25. These teeth gained their name because this time in life was once referred to as the “Age of Wisdom.” Dentists begin looking for the presence of wisdom teeth in x-ray images during adolescence so that their removal can be efficiently planned.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth may grow in, at least partially. Other times, these teeth become “impacted,” or trapped beneath the gums. Impaction is quite common, and should not be a cause for alarm. Nine out of ten patients have at least one tooth that is impacted. However, impaction is one of the primary reasons oral surgery for the removal of wisdom teeth is needed in our office near Woodstock.
A common misperception about wisdom teeth is that if there is no clear problem, i.e. pain, then teeth should remain in the mouth. It is important to understand that pain is not the only indicator of a problem. In fact, pain may be the last indicator of dental disease! According to study results from the Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation and the American Academy of Maxillofacial Surgeons, wisdom teeth that have grown in are at significant risk for disease. The organizations stance is, therefore, that third molars should be closely monitored and considered for removal.
The reasons for wisdom tooth removal include:
It is possible, in some situations, to simply monitor wisdom teeth and manage them for retention. Completely erupted wisdom teeth that are free of cavities that are not posing an immediate threat to adjacent teeth may not need to be extracted right away. What many people find, however, is that wisdom teeth tend to develop cavities or gum disease rather quickly. This may be because the location of third molars at the far back of the mouth makes them difficult to clean adequately. The decision to keep wisdom teeth should be made with great consideration after in-depth evaluation and discussion with your dentist.
If you or a loved one is experiencing the growth of wisdom teeth, we can help with the retention of oral health. Contact Thirty-two Dental for your one on one consultation with one of our experienced dentists