The average adult has 32 teeth by age eighteen: 16 teeth on the top and 16 teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canines and bicuspids) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces, while the back teeth, or molar teeth, are used to grind food into a consistency suitable for swallowing. However, the average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be extremely painful when 32 teeth try to fit into a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four additional teeth are your third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth”.
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly, and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result – swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth.
The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jaw bone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risks involved with the procedure.
Oral Examination for Wisdom Teeth
With an oral examination and X-rays of the mouth, we can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there may be present or future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon.
Most patients have their wisdom teeth removed while they are asleep. Our doctor has the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia to make these procedures comfortable. Services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing state-of-the-art monitoring equipment and staff experienced in anesthesia techniques.