Wisdom Teeth


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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third molars and, if you have them in your mouth, the last teeth in your mouth. There are four wisdom teeth. They are the last teeth to erupt or grow into your mouth, if ever. Some people have all of them present in the mouth and a lifetime of function. Most people, however, will have some type of complication with their wisdom teeth. As we have evolved as humans, the mandible, or lower jaw, has shortened and there is typically not enough room for these teeth.

Sometimes, wisdom teeth never erupt out of the bone. Other times, the teeth are partially in and partially out of bone. In the case where these teeth are partially out of the bone they can peek out into the mouth. This can cause problems as food, plaque and bacteria can be trapped in the area causing pain and swelling because these areas are difficult if not impossible to clean.

Wisdom teeth can be angled, or impacted, whether inside the bone or out. This misalignment can cause problems with the teeth next to them. They can move teeth, promote cavity formation, make areas in the gum tissue difficult to clean, and be overall problems.

Wisdom tooth extraction can be a fairly easy procedure or it can be more complicated. This depends on many factors including: age of the person, position of the teeth, size and shape of the teeth, and other medical and dental factors. Wisdom teeth are often extracted by oral surgeons but general dentists are also capable of performing the procedure.

A thorough consultation with x-rays will give you and your dentist a good idea of the situation. Often, all four wisdom teeth are extracted at once, but sometimes only one, two or three are done. This can also effect the potential complications of the surgery.

Depending on the dentist or surgeon, you may have the procedure done with nitrous oxide, laughing gas, or with a deeper sedation. This is something to discuss with the dentist. Also, ask questions about recovery time. Again, every person and every situation is different. There can be swelling and some soreness or even pain after the teeth are out. You should think about rest for a day or two after the surgery.

Ask questions and be informed about any dental procedures. The more you understand, the easier it will be for you and your dentist to make decisions. Having wisdom teeth extracted can lead to a much healthier mouth.