Wisdom Teeth Removal
Throughout your life, you can expect to get three sets of teeth. When you are quite young, your primary teeth (also known as your baby teeth) will start to come in. These arrive at around six months of age and will stick around until you are around five or six years old.
Next, your permanent teeth (also known as your adult teeth) will make an appearance. These start to show up as your primary teeth fall out, showing up around six years of age. They will continue to grow in during your youth and adolescence.
Finally, when you are a late teenager or young adult, you will notice that your wisdom teeth (also known as your third molars) are erupting. Wisdom teeth get their name because they show up so late in your life, but often they do not behave very wisely at all – instead, they can get impacted, meaning they do not erupt through your gums.
When that happens, we here at Tieken Smiles Dentistry often have to perform wisdom tooth removal surgery to help relieve the pain and discomfort associated with wisdom tooth impaction.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Often Need To be Removed?
With all the trouble that our wisdom teeth give us, it is not very well understood why we even have them in the first place. We believe that in the past, as humans, our diet was more tough and therefore wore our teeth down sooner. Back then, our wisdom teeth may have been essential to our survival. Now, however, our diet is softer and easier to eat. This makes our wisdom teeth unnecessary in many cases.
Wisdom teeth need to be removed for a variety of reasons, but the most common reason is that they become impacted. Other reasons that we may advise removal is due to tooth decay, as they are often harder to keep clean because they are so far back in your mouth. Having a smaller mouth, with less jawbone, can also cause complications with the wisdom teeth. Even if they do not wind up impacted, they may try to come in at a bad angle, making removal necessary for your comfort.
The Extraction Process
There are four main types of wisdom tooth impaction. The most common type is called mesial impaction and means the tooth is pointing toward the front of the mouth. We may monitor it to see if it erupts normally or needs to be removed.
The least common type, which occurs when the tooth points toward the back of the mouth, is called distal impaction. Again, this may erupt on its own so that we will monitor it. Next, there is a vertical impaction. Eruption is fairly common with this type, so we may not need to remove the tooth. Lastly, patients may have a horizontal impaction. This means the tooth is pushing against the tooth next to it and is on its side. It almost always requires removal and is quite painful.
We will typically provide local and intravenous (IV) sedation for this procedure, depending on your own needs. We will start by carefully cutting into the gums, then exposing the impacted wisdom tooth. We may have to break the tooth into sections to help facilitate removal. We will then remove the impacted tooth, then clean the site and stitch it shut again. This procedure is an outpatient procedure, so you will be able to go home afterward. Please follow our aftercare advice closely to avoid complications such as dry socket or infection.
If you have more questions about wisdom teeth and their removal, we would be happy to discuss it with you further! To set up an appointment with us to learn more about this procedure, please give us here at Tieken Smiles Dentistry a call at (281) 942-0444 today!