Wisdom Teeth and Wisdom Teeth Extractions
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth refer to the third molars, the very back teeth in the mouth. These teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 and 25. Although it is typical to have 4 wisdom teeth, some adults have fewer and in rare cases it is possible to have extra, supernumerary wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, there is frequently not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth, and they usually have to be removed. Only a small number minority of adults are able to keep healthy wisdom teeth throughout their entire adult lives.
What can go wrong with wisdom teeth?
As there is often not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth, a variety of things can go wrong – in which case, the tooth is deemed to be “impacted”. One type of impacted wisdom tooth occurs when the tooth comes in at an angle – in this case, it may often press against other, already developed teeth. Wisdom teeth can also be impacted when they either do not develop enough (un-erupted, still sunk into the gum) or super erupted, in which case it may grind against the opposite teeth. In all these cases, the tooth is often packed tightly against either a flap of gum or another tooth. Food can accumulate in these crevices, but is often extremely difficult to remove since it is difficult to fit in a toothbrush or to floss in the enclosed space. This can lead to an increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay with impacted wisdom teeth.
Stephen J. Pyle DDS family dentistry is focused on the overall maintenance of your family’s oral hygiene and dental health including wisdom teeth. We recommend regular check-ups that can prevent the onset of oral health issues before symptoms appear.
What is the treatment for an impacted wisdom tooth?
Since wisdom teeth are not necessary, impacted wisdom teeth are extracted. In fact, it is common to remove even non-impacted wisdom teeth to prevent any chance of them becoming impacted later. The difficulty of the procedure depends on the particular wisdom tooth and its level of impaction. Some wisdom teeth can be easily removed in our Weston dental office while others require a visit to a specialist. Dr. Pyle will be able to refer you to one of the many top area specialists he has established relationships with.
How can I best recover from a wisdom tooth extraction?
After extraction, the area is often swollen and tender. There is also a risk of dry socket, a painful complication where blood clots do not perform correctly. In order to reduce the risk of dry socket, it is important not to smoke nor drink with a straw during the healing process. Gently swishing a salt water solution several times a day (especially after meals) can also help reduce the risk of a dry socket.
Successful preventative dentistry is at the heart of what we practice. We would rather see you for frequent check-ups and cleanings to reduce the need for expensive and difficult procedures in the future.