What are Wisdom Teeth?
We can thank our far-removed ancestors for wisdom teeth, the large set of molars most people develop later in life than their other permanent teeth. What we can’t thank them for is the trouble they can cause. Modern humans have smaller jawbones than our ancestors meaning that there isn’t always enough room for these teeth to erupt or “grow in” properly.
Wisdom teeth are types of large molars found in the very back of your mouth. These teeth usually appear in your late teens or early twenties but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or their angle of entry. The most common type of impacted wisdom tooth is “mesial”, meaning that the tooth is angled forward toward the front of your mouth. In general, although some people are missing some or even all of their wisdom teeth, you will have two wisdom teeth on the top and two on the bottom. That’s four potential problems.
When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Each patient's situation is unique. Your dentist will usually take a panoramic X-ray to determine whether your wisdom teeth will need to be removed. If your dentist recommends removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later to prevent further issues.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make extraction easier, as well as making the recovery time much shorter.
If you are looking for a local dentist in the Marietta, GA area to check or potentially remove your wisdom teeth, give Kenmar Dental a call. To remove a wisdom tooth that has fully erupted, your dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. Your dentist can use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. The tooth will be loosened and removed with dental forceps. This is called a “simple extraction. If the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering bone to extract the tooth. To minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone. This is surgical extraction.
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Healing time varies depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction. Your local Marietta dentist will let you know what to expect and will provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process. You can help this along by reducing any swelling with an ice pack, avoiding alcohol, hot drinks and sodas for at least 24 hours and eating soft foods to avoid irritating the extraction site.
Tooth and mouth pain is not something you need to put up with. If you live in Marietta, Kennesaw or the surrounding areas, visit Kenmar Dental to get professional advice and care.
We know that the thought of dental surgery can be frightening but wisdom teeth extraction or removal is a dental procedure that is carried out millions of times per year in the US. If your back teeth are giving you pain, please contact Kenmar Dental to schedule an appointment.
As well as mesial impactions, wisdom teeth may also cause the following issues:
Vertical impaction - this is where the tooth is in the correct position but has not erupted through the gum. Extraction is not usually required unless the wisdom tooth is putting pressure on the tooth next to it.
Horizontal impaction - this is the most painful type of wisdom tooth issue as the tooth is on its side, moving towards the tooth next to it instead of up through the gum. Surgical extraction is required for this type of impaction.
Permanent tooth knocked out. Distal impaction - this is similar to the mesial impaction but the wisdom tooth is angled toward the back of the mouth instead of the front. Wisdom tooth removal may be required depending on the angle and amount of impaction.