Third molars, more commonly referred to as wisdom teeth, are the very back teeth on both sides of the upper and lower arches. In some patients, these teeth never emerge. Others may have more than four wisdom teeth. Many patients can go through life without experiencing any problems with their wisdom teeth allowing them to be left alone.
However, many patients are not so fortunate and are faced with problems such as:
Overcrowding – When the wisdom teeth erupt, quite often the jaw cannot accommodate all permanent teeth. A malocclusion may occur forcing the teeth out of position to try to make room creating an over bite, under bite or cross bite. In an effort to prevent this from happening, the dentist may recommend removing the third molars.
Impacted teeth – Many patients are faced with impacted third molars. This means they are unable to erupt or come in completely or straight. This can present areas that are difficult to reach with a tooth brush or floss creating pockets where bacteria thrive and plaque build-up can occur.
Periodontitis – Also known as gum disease, the area surrounding wisdom teeth can be more susceptible to this problem due to the inability to reach with floss and a tooth brush resulting in improper hygiene.
Orthodontics – Many patients preparing to enter a teeth straightening procedure may be faced with having one or more teeth extracted. Quite often those teeth will be the third molars.
Discomfort – Impacted wisdom teeth can be uncomfortable, and when this impacts day to day living, the best solution may be to have them removed.
Impacted wisdom teeth are often extracted by an oral surgeon. Since this is a very common procedure for them, the process is very proficient. Healing time varies from patient to patient with the recommendation that soft foods be the mainstay for at least a few days. Do not drink beverages through a straw or smoke as the sucking action can loosen the clots needed to keep dry sockets from developing.
Wisdom teeth got their name from the fact that they generally erupt in the late teens or early twenties when a level of maturity has been reached. So if removing them is recommended, follow your dentist’s advice and have it done.
Contact The Dental Place at 972-264-5795 if you have additional questions or would like to make an appointment to discuss the status of the health of your wisdom teeth.