WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL
WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTIONS
A common dilemma faced by patients today is what to do about their third molars. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in your mouth, wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that usually make their appearance during your late teens and early twenties. If wisdom teeth erupt and align properly and the gum tissue is healthy, they usually don’t need to be removed. Unfortunately, all too often, wisdom teeth can cause a host of oral problems, including: pain, infection, tooth decay, misalignment, and even jaw and nerve damage.
It’s important to recognize that even unseen wisdom teeth often cause serious problems. That’s why experts recommend wisdom teeth be evaluated early, usually during the mid-teen years. Early treatment can resolve any current problems but can also prevent serious issues that may develop in the future. At Spring-Klein Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we are experts in the care and removal of wisdom teeth. Dr. Sitters can examine all aged patients for their wisdom teeth, determine the best treatment options, and remove the wisdom teeth, if necessary.
WHAT ARE WISDOM TEETH?
Nicknamed “wisdom teeth” because they usually erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 (the so-called “age of wisdom”), wisdom teeth are a third set of molars at the back of your mouth. Anthropologists believe that wisdom teeth were once necessary so that our early ancestors could eat a rough diet of uncooked meat and bones, which required more chewing power. Over the years, however, human dietary needs, as well as jawbone anatomy, have evolved to the point where wisdom teeth are not only unnecessary but are now often detrimental to our modern oral health. With softer diets and shorter jawbones, the average modern human mouth can comfortably accommodate 28 teeth. The addition of four wisdom teeth often creates crowding, and eruption problems that can give rise to a variety of oral health issues.
WHAT KIND OF PROBLEMS CAN WISDOM TEETH CAUSE?
As wisdom teeth struggle to find room to grow in a crowded mouth, these teeth may grow in sideways, partially emerge, or even remain trapped under the gums. When wisdom teeth are partially or completely trapped in the gum, they are called impacted. While wisdom teeth can cause obvious issues such as misaligned and crowded teeth, impacted wisdom teeth may cause many unseen and serious problems, such as jaw and nerve damage. Whether your wisdom teeth have come in or not, they may be causing problems that could include:
- Misalignment of jaw and teeth
- Tooth decay from trapped bacteria and food
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling
- Gum disease
- Jawbone damage
- Nerve damage
- Cysts and tumors in the jaw
Early evaluation and removal of wisdom teeth is the best way to resolve and prevent problems associated with wisdom teeth. Call to make an appointment for a personal consultation with Dr. Michael Sitters today to have your wisdom teeth evaluated.
WHY SHOULD WISDOM TEETH BE REMOVED?
Removing wisdom teeth can resolve existing problems with overcrowding and misalignment but can also help prevent possible problems related to not removing your wisdom teeth include: infection, decay, and jaw and nerve damage. In some patients it is as early as 12 or 13, and in others it may not be until the early twenties. Problems tend to occur with increasing frequency after the age of 30. With an expert oral surgeon like Dr. Sitters, wisdom teeth can be removed easily and safely.
MY CHILD’S WISDOM TEETH AREN’T IN YET. DO I STILL NEED TO HAVE THEM CHECKED?
Yes. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth can begin creating problems well before they erupt or cause any outward symptoms. Ignoring wisdom teeth now can set your child up for significant problems later. When removing wisdom teeth later in life it may be more difficult, inconvenient and expensive. Dr. Sitters can evaluate your child’s mouth and answer any questions that you may have.
IS IT BETTER TO HAVE WISDOM TEETH REMOVED EARLY?
Yes. The American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons strongly recommends that wisdom teeth be removed before they start causing problems. Removing wisdom teeth is easier in young patients because the roots aren’t fully developed and the jaw bone is less dense. Additionally, healing and recovery times will be shorter for younger people. As you age and wisdom teeth develop, the roots become longer, the jaw bone more dense and the post-operative course can be prolonged and there can have higher complication rate
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT FROM SURGERY TO REMOVE WISDOM TEETH?
Your specific expectations will depend on many factors, including the position of the wisdom teeth and the amount of root development. In most cases, wisdom teeth can be removed easily and safely under IV sedation in our offices. Dr. Sitters has a wealth of experience in extracting wisdom teeth, from the simplest extractions to the most difficult cases. However, if Dr. Sitters feels your child’s wisdom teeth do not need to be removed, he will advise you of this during the consultation visit. Dr. Sitters performs a comprehensive examination and answers any questions you have before your procedure.
HOW LONG IS RECOVERY AFTER WISDOM TEETH ARE REMOVED?
Your specific recovery will depend on many factors, including your age, overall health, and the difficulty of the extraction. Most patients will experience some swelling and mild discomfort after surgery, and will be limited to a soft diet until the discomfort passes. Dr. Sitters, may prescribe antibiotics prior to surgery; post-operative, medication for pain, swelling, and to prevent infections are usually prescribed to ease any discomfort or complication that might occur. Dr. Sitters discusses all the details about your surgery and recovery with you before your procedure.
BELOW ARE IMAGES OF WISDOM TEETH AND COMPLICATIONS THAT CAN OCCUR!
The most frequent clinical problem we see is pericoronitis, (a localized gum infection). Without enough room for total eruption, the gum tissue around the wisdom tooth can become irritated and infected, resulting in recurrent pain, swelling, and problems with chewing and/or swallowing.
Non-infectious diseases may also arise in association with an impacted wisdom tooth. Cysts are fluid-filled “balloons” inside the jaw bone that develop as a result of impacted teeth and slowly expand destroying adjacent jaw bone and occasionally teeth. They can be very difficult to treat if your wisdom teeth are not removed in your teenage years. Although rare, tumors can be associated with the delayed removal of wisdom teeth.
Impacted wisdom teeth may contribute to crowding of your teeth. This is most noticeable with the front teeth, primarily the lower front teeth and is most commonly seen after a patient has had braces. There are a number of factors that cause teeth to crowd after braces or in early adulthood. Retained, impacted wisdom teeth may be a contributing factor. Unless you have an active problem when you see the oral surgeon, the reason for removal is primarily to prevent long-term damage to your teeth, gums and jaw bone.
Damage to Adjacent Teeth:
If there is inadequate room to clean around the wisdom tooth, the tooth directly in front, the second molar, can be adversely affected resulting in gum disease, bone loss around the tooth, and/or decay.