Should You Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
At the Kenner Dental Group, we offer a variety of state-of-the-art general dentistry services like cleanings, fillings, dental implants and more at our Burien cosmetic and family dentistry practice. One service that we often get asked about is wisdom teeth and their removal. What are wisdom teeth? Why do you remove them? These are just some of the many questions that we hear from patients and parents alike. Below, we have answered many of your questions regarding wisdom teeth removal.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the 3rd set of molars found in the very back of your mouth (also referred to as 3rd molars). There teeth usually appear in the late teens to early twenties but often become impacted and fail to erupt. This is due to the lack of room commonly found in many people's jaw. Most wisdom teeth are tilted forward while impacted and are referred to and being "mesially impacted". Some patients however may not have all four wisdom teeth or may not have any at all. In very rare instances, there may be more than four. The number, location, and position of the wisdom teeth are determined with an x-ray which shows the entire upper and lower jaws.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Extracted?
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.
How Do You Know If Your Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Pulled?
Each patient's situation is unique. Only after having a panoramic Xray and exam completed during a consultation can it be determined if your wisdom teeth need to be removed. If we recommend removal of your wisdom teeth, it is best to have them removed sooner rather than later. As you enter into your 30's, 40's, 50+, the wisdom teeth progressively become more difficult to remove. As this happens, they can require larger amounts of bone to be removed to take them out, along with a longer recovery time, and higher chance of surgical complication. For this reason, it's often recommended that the wisdom teeth be removed even before any symptoms or pain develops if it is determined that there is inadequate space for them to erupt.
When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
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.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
To remove a wisdom tooth, Dr. Kenner V first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. We can use additional medication to safely sedate you during the extraction if you are feeling nervous about the procedure. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, we 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, we will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone.
What Do I Need To Do After A Wisdom Tooth 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. Our Burien dentist and his team will share with you what to expect and provide instructions for a comfortable, efficient healing process.
Contact Our Burien, WA Dental Office
Are you experiencing gum tenderness, swelling or severe pain near the back of your mouth? Or are you considering having your wisdom teeth removed before you have any of these issues? If so, please contact us as soon as possible to schedule an exam with our Burien dentist. If you have any other questions regarding wisdom teeth that are not answered here, please also feel free to contact us and one of our friendly team members will be glad to assist you. We proudly serve residents of Burien, WA and the surrounding communities with quality family and cosmetic dental care including cleanings, fillings, dental implants, veneers, teeth whitening and more. We look forward to helping you achieve and maintain a healthy, happy mouth!