What are Wisdom Teeth?
Your teeth start developing when you are born. By the tenth or twelfth year, all of the baby teeth arrive, eventually falling out during childhood to be replaced by permanent or adult teeth. The last teeth to arrive are your wisdom teeth, they are the third set of molars to appear and hopefully indicate that you are “wise.”
However, wisdom teeth frequently cause problems and need to be removed. Sometimes your dentist at McCarl Dental Group will choose to remove your wisdom teeth for you and other times we will refer you to an oral surgeon for removal. We select cases carefully for the maximum comfort of our dental patients. We will monitor tooth eruption and spacing during your regular dental hygiene visits and dental exams. If you are a new dental patient to McCarl Dental Group, please take advantage of our New Patient Invitation for a teeth cleaning, dental exam and x-rays for $45.
Why are Wisdom Teeth such “Troublemakers?”
Getting Wisdom teeth removed has become a rite of passage – something almost everyone experiences during high school years or early adulthood. But why? What is it about Wisdom teeth that make them such “troublemakers?”
Since Wisdom teeth are the ‘last teeth to arrive”, they get the amount of space that remains in the back of the jaw. Often times that space is not large enough to allow normal eruption. In precious generations, people lost permanent teeth at an early age. Teeth shifted forward into the space of the missing tooth, creating more room for the wisdom teeth to erupt. When there is insufficient room, the Wisdom teeth become misaligned. Wisdom teeth tend to come in at odd angles that interfere with the rest of your teeth. When wisdom teeth come in too close to your other teeth, they can crowd your teeth, causing damage and increasing the risk of tooth decay. Wisdom teeth can also trap plaque and food particles, resulting in cavities and infection.
Another complication that we often see with wisdom teeth is when the tooth becomes impacted – or stuck within the jawbone or soft tissue of the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause infection, tooth decay and gum disease. The pressure from impacted wisdom teeth and resulting infection can be painful.
What Should you do About your Wisdom Teeth?
Your dentist at McCarl Dental Group will monitor the growth and eruption of your wisdom teeth. We evaluate dental x-rays to see if wisdom teeth are coming in crooked, if the teeth are impacted, or if they are likely to cause other problems for the rest of your smile. Not everyone gets all four of their wisdom teeth and some people who have large jaws have enough room for them.
If your dentist recommends getting your wisdom teeth removed, it is usually easiest to remove them before they cause any problems. It is also easier to remove wisdom teeth from people while they are young, because the roots of the teeth are not entrenched as solidly. Wisdom teeth can be removed from older people, but it is often more difficult, and recovery can take longer.
How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Depending on the position of your wisdom teeth and other factors, you may be able to have your wisdom teeth removed by a general dentist with local anesthetic. Some complex cases are referred to an oral surgeon for sedation – especially when wisdom teeth are impacted. Sometimes wisdom teeth can be removed one at a time as they emerge; for other patients, it’s best to remove all four wisdom teeth at once.
Please talk to your McCarl dentist if you have any concerns or questions about your wisdom teeth.