It is so common today for wisdom teeth to be removed that some individuals may assume wisdom tooth removal is just a normal, natural part of growing up. In actual fact, it is not always necessary to remove wisdom teeth. It could even be argued as unwise to perform this oral surgery when it’s not actually indicated as necessary. It is only important to remove wisdom teeth when they are creating a problem or are positioned in such a way that they will most likely create a problem in the future. So how does your dentist decide when your wisdom teeth need to be removed?
Problems With Wisdom Teeth
Just one of the many reasons that dental x-rays are so incredibly useful is that they can show the location and position of your wisdom teeth. This third set of molars normally come in when you are between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five. This is actually the ideal time to remove them (if doing so is deemed necessary) because as you age, your bones become harder and extracting teeth can become far more difficult and complicated. Performing oral surgery to extract wisdom teeth at a much later age could result in heavy bleeding, fractured teeth, severe numbness or even minor loss of jaw movement. Because of this, your dentist will carefully study your x-rays in order to determine when your wisdom teeth are coming in. They will evaluate the shape of your mouth and the position of your teeth in order to decide whether your wisdom teeth need to come out. She may decide that your wisdom teeth need to be removed if:
- They are impacted. Due to their positioning, wisdom teeth can sometimes become stuck and unable to break through the jawbone or gums. Failing to remove impacted wisdom teeth can result in painful problems in the future.
- They are coming in at a bad angle. Wisdom teeth that come in at a bad angle will press against your other teeth. This can not only cause problems with the surface enamel of the teeth being rubbed against, but it can also push other teeth out of position. This can result in a misaligned bite and other tooth damages as a result, as well as mouth pain.
- There isn’t enough room for them. Sometimes a mouth simply isn’t big enough for a third set of molars and allowing them to try to come in can lead to painful crowding issues.
- You have gum disease. In some cases when you are suffering from periodontal disease, your dentist may suggest that you have your wisdom teeth removed. It can be difficult to reach wisdom teeth in order to properly brush and floss them, and if you are already dealing with a condition of periodontal disease you will want to minimize the opportunity for bacteria to spread to new areas of the mouth and create cavities.
As always, your dentist will discuss with you what she recommends as regards your wisdom teeth, and why she recommends this. If wisdom tooth removal is the appropriate choice, she will refer you to an oral surgeon to perform the removal surgery.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
When you meet with the oral surgeon prior to wisdom tooth removal, you will need to tell him about any health conditions you have and any medications you are taking. This is also a good time to ask him any questions you have and decide whether you want to have local or general anesthesia. The oral surgeon will ask you to arrange transportation to and from the appointment and help take care of you after surgery so that you can rest and heal. It is helpful to get a couple days off work and arrange for childcare or help at home as needed.
For more information about wisdom teeth or to find out whether your wisdom teeth may need to be removed, contact Avenue Dental Arts today.