Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set at the back of your mouth. These teeth typically show up between the ages of 17 and 25, in late adolescence or early adulthood. While they may sound wise, wisdom teeth can often cause more problems than wisdom. This article explores the importance of wisdom teeth removal, addressing when and why this procedure is necessary for many individuals.
When Do Wisdom Teeth Typically Emerge?
They usually start to emerge in your late teens or early twenties. These late arrivals were once thought to signify the onset of wisdom, hence the name. However, in most cases, their emergence leads to dental complications. Monitoring their growth during this period is essential, as timely intervention can prevent future problems.
Common Issues Associated with Wisdom Teeth
Impaction: Wisdom teeth are often notorious for becoming impacted, a condition where they lack adequate space to grow correctly. Impacted wisdom teeth may develop at unusual angles, stay partially covered by gum tissue, or even fail to emerge completely. This can cause pain, infection, and damage to neighboring teeth.
Crowding: In many cases, the existing teeth may not provide sufficient space for wisdom teeth to emerge without causing overcrowding. This can lead to misalignment and shifting of your well-aligned teeth.
Infection and Gum Disease: Wisdom teeth that partially emerge can create pockets in the gums where bacteria can accumulate, leading to infections and gum disease.
Cysts and Tumors: Cysts or tumors can rarely form around impacted wisdom teeth. While these occurrences are uncommon, they can cause severe issues and necessitate extensive treatment.
Why Wisdom Teeth Removal Is Important
Preventing Pain and Discomfort: Wisdom teeth that are impacted or growing improperly can cause significant pain and discomfort. Removal of these teeth can provide relief and prevent future oral health issues.
Preventing Dental Complications: Wisdom teeth can exert pressure on neighboring teeth, leading to their displacement and misalignment. By removing wisdom teeth early, you can prevent these complications and maintain proper dental alignment.
Preventing Infections and Gum Disease: Partially erupted wisdom teeth create spaces where food particles and bacteria can become trapped, leading to infections and gum disease. Removing them can eliminate this risk.
Avoiding Serious Health Concerns: In rare cases, cysts or tumors may develop around impacted wisdom teeth. Timely removal of these teeth can prevent these serious health concerns from arising.
Wisdom teeth are normally extracted by an oral surgeon or a dentist. Depending on the case’s complexity and patient preference, it’s usually done under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia.
The dental professional will make a gum tissue incision, if necessary, and remove any obstructing bone before extracting the wisdom tooth. The incision is closed with stitches, which will either dissolve on their own or need to be removed a few days later.
Wisdom teeth removal is a common dental procedure with many benefits. By addressing issues like impaction, crowding, infection, and misalignment early, you can prevent pain, discomfort, and long-term dental problems. If you or a loved one is approaching the age when wisdom teeth typically emerge, it’s vital to consult with a dentist or oral surgeon to determine the best course of action. Remember that timely removal can save you from potential oral health complications down the road.