Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the very back of your mouth. They are the last teeth to develop and typically come in between the ages of 17 and 25. As most wisdom teeth don’t start to come until the late teenage years, more than not, there isn't enough space left in the mouth for them to grow properly. This is when your dentist might recommend an extraction.
How Will I Know If I Have Wisdom Teeth?
Consult with Dr. Reese or your dentist about the possible presence and position of your wisdom teeth. He may advise you to have X-rays done periodically to evaluate the presence and alignment of wisdom teeth.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
Wisdom teeth often don't grow in properly and this can sometimes cause problems. When wisdom teeth erupt through the gums, they can grow at various angles and sometimes can only partially push through the gumline. They may also position themselves horizontally, angled inward or outward, or toward or away from the second molars. Poor alignment can crowd or potentially damage adjacent molars, your jawbone, or nerves.
There are also instances when wisdom teeth remain completely hidden. When wisdom teeth aren't able to erupt through the gums, they become impacted or trapped within your jaw. Wisdom teeth removal then becomes necessary because such conditions can cause pain, inflammation, and other complications.
Is An Impacted Wisdom Tooth A Problem?
If left untreated or not extracted, impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain and damage to your other teeth. Since they may be hard to reach when brushing, they become susceptible to decay and gum disease. Remember that bacteria from the mouth can travel through your bloodstream and cause further systemic infections that might affect the heart, kidneys and other organs. When wisdom teeth only erupt partially through the gums, the eruption can become a breeding ground for bacteria and lead to an infection called pericoronitis. There are also instances when wisdom teeth become so impacted fluid-filled sacs or cysts form around them. These lead to serious damage to the jawbone and other teeth.
When Would Be the Best Time to Have Wisdom Tooth Removed?
Wisdom teeth should be extracted before they cause any problems, but it is recommended that wisdom teeth removal happen when one is between the ages of 14 and 18. During this age, the roots have not finished forming and third molars can be extracted with a lower risk and faster or better healing. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that it should be removed before any infection or inflammation happens. When one is older, roots of the teeth have finished forming, making bones harder. This makes removal more difficult and riskier with complications. Healing may also be significantly delayed.
What are the Risks of Wisdom Teeth Removal or Extraction/Surgery?
Wisdom teeth removal is more than a simple extraction, especially when they are impacted. The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia and the gum opened up and the molar removed by section. If it is severely impacted, some bone may have to be removed as well. Some risks include permanent nerve damage and post-operative complications involved with healing like a dry socket. Third molars when fully grown form roots that are close or around the nerve to the lower lip. When roots are too close to the nerve, the risk of temporary or permanent numbness to the lip can happen.
What Happens After Oral Surgery for Wisdom Teeth Removal?
In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Painkillers will be prescribed by Dr. Reese or your oral surgeon. Pain can be intense and radiate throughout the side of the face. Bite gently on the gauze pad provided, stay upright as much as possible, use an ice pack as necessary, and try to relax. You'll be eating soft foods for a while, but do not use a straw as it may prevent healing. Like any other dental problems, wisdom tooth removal is easier when done earlier before infections, damage to other teeth and pain is experienced. Recovery is faster when it is done earlier too, though it varies with every person.
What Type of Dentist does Wisdom Teeth Removal?
Most people have the misconception that as long as they don't feel any pain, they do not need to worry. Pain free doesn’t always mean there isn't any problem. The American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons(AAOMS) and the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Foundation (OMFS) strongly recommends evaluation by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon by the time a patient is a young adult. Dr. Reese performs oral surgery and can properly assess and evaluate the presence of wisdom teeth, its status and suggest management or treatment.
Why Use Indianapolis Center for Implant and Cosmetic Dentistry?
If you are located in the Indianapolis area, Dr. Reese has the experience and staff to provide the utmost professional care.
I had a great experience at Dr. Reese's office. The staff was caring, answered all my questions. I had my wisdom teeth taken out and the operation and recovery went even better than I was expecting. I didn't even experience any bruising. I would highly recommend this office." -Amanda T., Franklin