Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth extraction: when a wisdom tooth doesn’t have room to grow (impacted wisdom tooth), it can result in pain, infection or other dental problems, and it may need to be removed.

About Wisdom Teeth

The average adult has 32 teeth by age 18; 16 teeth in the upper jaw and 16 teeth in the lower jaw. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces. The back molar teeth, are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.

However, the average mouth has sufficient space to hold only 28 teeth. It can be extremely painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as Wisdom Teeth. Wisdom Teeth are normally the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When there is adequate space, they align properly and the gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen.

When Wisdom Teeth should be Removed

The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when those teeth are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth.

  • Wisdom teeth may grow sideways
  • Wisdom teeth may partially emerge from the gum
  • Wisdom teeth may remain trapped beneath the gum and bone.
  • Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.

Problems of Partially Erupted Wisdom Teeth

These poorly positioned, impacted teeth may cause many problems.

  • When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and food debris to become trapped eventually causing inflammation and infection. The result is swelling, jaw stiffness, pain and illness.
  • The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may cause pain in the general area.
  • Another serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth.

Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the removal of wisdom teeth.

With an oral examination and x-rays of the mouth, our doctors will evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if there may be future or present problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years.

Contact us today to make your appointment:
(407) 834-0330