Wisdom teeth extractions
What are wisdom teeth?
Also called third molars, wisdom teeth usually make their first appearance in young adults between the ages of 15 to 25. Usually, an initial evaluation of the wisdom teeth should be performed between the ages of 16 and 19. Because most mouths are too small for these four additional molars, an extraction (removal) procedure is often necessary.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
Removal of wisdom teeth is important when the teeth have no room in the mouth to grow. The following symptoms may indicate that the wisdom teeth have erupted and surfaced, and should be removed before they become impacted. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- Infection in the mouth
- Facial swelling
- Swelling of the gumline in the back of the mouth
Most oral health specialists will recommend an immediate removal of the wisdom teeth, as early removal will help to prevent problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar. According to the American Academy of General Dentistry, third molar impaction is the most prevalent medical developmental disorder.
What problems are often associated with impacted third molars?
Some problems associated with impacted third molars include the following:
- Bacteria and plaque build-up
- Cysts development (a fluid-filled sac)
- Tumor development
- Jaw and gum disease
What is involved in the extraction procedure?
Wisdom tooth extraction surgery involves removing the gum tissue that presides over the tooth, gently detaching the connective tissue between the tooth and the bone, removing the tooth, and suturing the opening in the gumline.
Most wisdom teeth extractions are performed in the dentist's office under local anesthesia. Patients who are particularly anxious should consult their dentist or oral surgeon about supplements to local anesthesia or alternative forms of anesthesia.