Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth, or the third molars, are the final teeth to erupt, typically not until adolescence or later. They come in at the rear of the mouth behind the other molars. Because wisdom teeth can cause a variety of oral health issues as they erupt, they are commonly removed before this happens. Drs. Umansky, Nikmard and Elmore are happy to talk to you and your teen about wisdom teeth removal in Humble, Texas.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
One question many patients have about wisdom teeth removal is, if they are often extracted and cause so many problems, why do we even have wisdom teeth in the first place? One common theory is that these extra teeth appearing later in life are just that: extra teeth. Without proper oral hygiene, it is not uncommon for the loss of permanent teeth to occur by adolescence or early adulthood. Before widespread dental practice, oral injury commonly resulted in tooth loss as well. In cases such as these, new teeth appearing in adolescence would have been beneficial to a person’s overall oral health.
Advances in dentistry combined with improvements in general oral hygiene mean that, nowadays, adolescent tooth decay and tooth loss are quite uncommon. And if tooth decay or loss do occur, we have a variety of effective restoration options available. So wisdom teeth, most often, simply do not have room to erupt in most mouths.
What Problems Can Wisdom Teeth Cause?
When any tooth is unable to erupt into its proper space, impaction is the most common result. Among other things, impaction can lead to:
- Disruption of tooth alignment
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Tooth decay
- Infection in the gums
- Development of cysts
- Jawbone damage
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
Wisdom teeth removal has a different timeline for every patient. Some patients’ wisdom teeth come in during the early teenage years; others don’t appear until their early to mid-twenties. Some people never develop wisdom teeth at all. Another factor to consider is the teeth’s positions. Some wisdom teeth begin coming in at fairly acute angles, meaning issues could develop sooner. Others come in at less-severe angles. Finally, mouth size needs to be considered. Some patients have large enough mouths to accommodate wisdom teeth comfortably.
It is best for our dental team to monitor your teen’s developing wisdom teeth over time in order to determine if removal is appropriate, and if so, the best time for the procedure to take place.
What Should We Expect?
Wisdom teeth removal is one of the most commonly-performed oral surgeries today, and has highly-predictable outcomes. Your teen will be fully-sedated during the procedure, and anesthetic medication will be used. They will be groggy afterword, so you will need to be available to take them home. A soft, mild diet is advised for the first few days following the procedure, allowing time for the removal sites to heal. Normal oral hygiene (brushing, flossing) should be observed, with special care being taken around removal sites. It is also advised to rinse the mouth with warm salt water periodically.
Physical activity should be kept to a minimum for the first few days. Heavy lifting or other exertion can cause sutures to come loose. However, complete healing usually takes place fairly quickly. Any discomfort can often be controlled with over-the-counter pain medication, although a prescription may be appropriate in some circumstances. You will be provided with a complete list of instructions on the day of your child’s procedure.
If you would like to learn more about wisdom teeth removal and your teen, please contact Aesthetic Dentistry Associates at (281) 973-7902 to schedule a consultation. Our dentists are eager be of service.