What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars, the four teeth farthest back in the mouth. Unlike your other permanent teeth, they don’t come out when you’re a child. They usually don’t emerge until your teens or twenties, which is how they got their name — you should have acquired some wisdom by the time you get your wisdom teeth!
Problems with Wisdom Teeth
Unfortunately, wisdom teeth are unnecessary for chewing and for many people they don’t work well. They frequently emerge out of alignment with other teeth, which can lead to discomfort and painful pressure on other teeth. In the worst cases, wisdom teeth can be so badly aligned that they pose a risk of damage to other teeth, your jaw, and your facial nerves. These teeth must be removed for your comfort and oral health.
Another potential problem is wisdom teeth that emerge only partly from the gum, a condition called impacted teeth. While not necessarily painful, these teeth are more likely to trap food and bacteria and cause tooth decay and gum infections. It is for this reason that many dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal whether the teeth are painful or not.
Treatment of Impacted Teeth
Once you’ve decided to go ahead with wisdom teeth removal, your oral surgeon will determine how to proceed based on your X-ray images. If the tooth is too close to your jaw nerve, the surgeon may simply take the crown off the tooth and leave the roots in place. There is some risk of later infection with this method, so surgeons prefer to extract the whole tooth if at all possible.
Extraction is performed in your local Monroe oral surgery office. Local anesthesia is used, and the surgeon may recommend general anesthesia if the extraction will be difficult or there is more than one tooth being extracted. After the surgery, there will be some pain and bleeding. The surgeon will give you gauze and medication to help deal with this. You will also need to avoid smoking and hard foods for at least a day after the surgery to ensure that the blood clots properly.
Removal of impacted wisdom teeth is a routine practice. Like all surgeries, it has some risks, but the risk of living with pain and possible infections from impacted wisdom teeth is worse. If your wisdom teeth are giving you trouble, call our local Monroe restorative dentist to have yourself checked out and see if surgery is necessary.