The human jaw has developed over tens of thousands of years, and at this point in our development we find that the typical human jaw is unable to accommodate the size and the number of the teeth we have. Also called “third molars”, wisdom teeth develop among the majority of the adult population, and normally appear among people in their late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in our mouths, and in the vast majority of cases there is simply not enough room in our jaw to accommodate them. If you have healthy gums and your wisdom teeth are properly aligned, they may not need to be removed. However, this is not going to be the case for most people.
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
If wisdom teeth are poorly positioned or become impacted they can cause a variety of problems. Poorly positioned wisdom teeth can cause some bone loss or decay around the neighboring molars, and cause disruption of the natural alignment of your teeth. It is also possible for tumors or cysts develop around an impacted wisdom tooth, which can result in damage to the jawbone and otherwise healthy teeth. In some instances wisdom teeth may only partially erupt from your gums. This can result in food and bacteria becoming trapped in the gums, which can lead to gum tissue inflammation, infection, and other systemic health problems such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, preterm births, and low birthweight infants. An early indicator of this is chronic bad breath. Preemptive removal of poorly positioned wisdom teeth avoids these potentially serious problems. As the extraction area heals, the tooth socket will fill in with solid bone and the overlying gum tissue will become healthy and strong. Early removal is recommended because the procedure is easier, complications are fewer, and healing will progress faster and more completely.
When Should I Have Them Removed?
If it is recognized that you do not have enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to properly erupt, it is advisable to have them removed as soon as that is recognized. In some patients it is as early as 12 or 13 whereas in others it may not be until 17 or 18 years of age. You will heal faster, with more predictable final healing, and have fewer complications than an older patient if you have them removed at a younger age.
The Removal Procedure
On the day of your procedure, you will take medications to help minimize post-operative pain and swelling. We ask that a parent or responsible adult accompanies you to the office and plans to stay with you the rest of the day. The extent of the procedure depends on the tooth position, degree of impact and root development. Front Range Dental Center has the trained personnel, licenses, and experience to provide various types of anesthesia to allow patients to select the most appropriate option. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and staff experienced in anesthesia techniques. Once adequate anesthesia is achieved an incision is made in your gums adjacent to the probable location of the wisdom tooth to be removed. Your procedure will take about an hour and you will probably be in the office for 1-2 hours. Our surgical assistants will review your post-operative instructions. When you leave the office you will be comfortable and drowsy. Most patients prefer to go home and rest with no other physical or scholastic activities planned for a few days.