Wisdom Teeth are the third set of permanent molar teeth that typically begin forming in the jaw bones during late childhood and erupting into the mouth between the ages of 16-18. By age 16, the jaw bones have typically grown to their adult size and it can then be determined whether there will be enough room for these wisdom teeth to erupt into the mouth normally. If there is not enough room, they will remain trapped in the jaw bone, or “impacted”, and will need to be removed.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Problems with Impacted Wisdom Teeth
If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to many problem and complications including:
- Jaw bone destruction or weakness, possibly leading to jaw fractures
- Constant pressure on the adjacent molars causing teeth to shift and become crowded
- Tooth decay and jaw infection if the impacted wisdom tooth is partially erupted
- Tooth loss of the neighboring, otherwise healthy molar teeth
- Gum Disease
- Cysts and tumors around the impacted wisdom tooth
Advantages of Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth Early
Impacted wisdom teeth, or wisdom teeth that show signs of becoming impacted, should be removed as soon as possible. Since the jaws have attained the majority of their adult size by about age 16-17, removal of impacted wisdom teeth at this age has several distinct advantages:
- The roots are seldom fully formed, even though the tooth has developed enough to become impacted
- Removing an impacted wisdom tooth before the roots are fully formed is easier and less traumatic on the patient
- The bone surrounding the impacted tooth is more pliable and less firm, allowing for less traumatic removal
- You can heal more rapidly and easily as a teen or young adult
If you are wanting to straighten your teeth with braces, your orthodontist may request that wisdom teeth be removed first as they may interfere with straightening the other teeth.
How Wisdom Teeth are Removed
Historically, people having impacted wisdom teeth removed were admitted to their local hospital, or taken to the operating room and given general anesthesia. Now most patients are able to have their wisdom teeth removed right here in the comfort of our Eden office. We now offer in office I.V. sedation which allows patients to safely and comfortably sleep during the procedure and typically have no recollection of the surgery at all afterwards.
If a wisdom tooth is fully visible in your mouth, it can be removed fairly quickly and easily. An impacted wisdom tooth typically will require an incision in the gums and removal of both the tooth and the bone overlying it. The incision is closed with sutures and you will be instructed on the proper ways to care for your mouth during the recovery period, which may last several weeks.
Everyone experiences different stages of development in their wisdom teeth. By taking X-rays, we can determine your unique growth patterns and determine whether or not wisdom teeth extraction is necessary for your overall dental health.
If you would like to schedule an appointment for an initial wisdom tooth evaluation, please contact the dentists at Burton Dental, serving Huntsville, Eden, and Liberty, Utah.