Are you considering a wisdom tooth extraction? Don’t know what a wisdom tooth is or if you have one? Here’s what you need to know about this “rite of passage” so many people in their teens and 20-somethings are talking about.
What Are Wisdom Teeth and Where are They at in My Mouth?
The wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are in the back of the mouth. There are four, one in each quadrant. These molars, unlike our other permanent teeth, come in later in life. In fact, they don’t begin to develop until around the age of ten. And it’s usually in the late teens or early twenties when they may start coming through the gum.
Interesting fact: Not everyone develops all four molars. Some people don’t get any at all!
What Purpose Do They Have?
If 95% of people that have wisdom teeth don’t use them, then why do we even them? Anthropologists have a philosophy about this. Our early ancestors had a diet that consisted of a lot of coarse and hard foods like meat, roots, and nuts. These types of food cause a lot of wear on our teeth. So it’s believed that back in these times, a third molar was needed to help balance out the excessive force that was being put on teeth, and to prolong the life of chewing teeth.
However, in this day and age, we have evolved to not need these back molars. This results in an average of 85% of people having their wisdom teeth extracted.
When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
Other than the fact that they’re not necessary, wisdom teeth can cause problems. It’s important to recognize some of these issues before they begin to effect things other than the tooth itself. In order to avoid these issues, regular routine dental checkups are key. At Summit Dental Center in Houston, TX we can keep an eye on the development of your, or your child’s wisdom teeth, and recommend when the time is right for an extraction.
If you have any of the following, you should let us know:
In many cases, the mouth doesn’t have room for the third molars to come in. The dentist can take an x-ray, which may reveal that these teeth are positioned sideways in the mouth. This causes it to push against its neighboring tooth, resulting in significant pressure and pain.
When a tooth is able to come in through the gum, it can bring with it pain and swelling. The gums become inflamed, which can extend into your cheek, causing you to notice swelling on the outside of your face. Since nerves in our mouth are so closely related to one another, you should be aware that this can also cause referred pain of an earache or headache.
- Decay (Cavities)
If your wisdom tooth does continue to come in and you manage to make it through that stage without having it extracted, you should know that you’re not in the clear yet.
Wisdom teeth are hard to keep clean. Even when making a conscious effort to brush these back molars, it can be impossible for you to open your mouth wide enough to get the toothbrush around it properly. And you can forget flossing!
Unfortunately, this will eventually result in decay. And this isn’t just a concern for the third molar itself, but for the neighboring ones as well. When food particles get between teeth and it’s not removed, a cavity will develop which affects both teeth.
Once the wisdom tooth breaks through the gums, this leaves an opening for bacteria to enter. And again, since it’s such a hard area to keep clean, the bacteria will linger and cause an infection. Along with it comes pain and swelling, which can even be felt in the neck. Summit Dental Center can take a special x-ray that will show if there’s infection present.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
Most general dentists will refer you to an oral surgeon to have your wisdom teeth extracted. But if you’re a patient of Summit Dental Center then there’s no need to go anywhere else. We can provide the care you require right in our office.
To ensure your comfort, you’ll be able to have dental sedation. This keeps you relaxed and allows us to work efficiently. In fact, you’ll have little to no recollection of the procedure afterward.
Our dentists will open the gum tissue and any bone needed in order to access the third molars. Once the teeth are out, the opening may need to be sutured closed. You’ll leave with gauze in your mouth to help catch any extra bleeding, and we’ll go over post-op instructions with you and your driver. Please allow 24 hours from the time of your sedation to resume normal activities. And be sure to be aware of the precautions you are told regarding your extraction area.
Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
The nerves around our teeth are closely related to our ears, neck, and head. This can cause our bodies to be confused and not know exactly where our pain is coming from. If you’ve been having trouble and your medical doctor can’t find anything wrong, you should consider coming to see our Houston dentist. We can perform a thorough evaluation and take the proper x-rays to determine if you’re having a dental issue that’s leading to your pain.
We understand that everyone is on a budget, so if you do require oral surgery we offer affordable patient financing to help with the cost of your dental care needs.
Don’t wait another day. Call Summit Dental Center to schedule a wisdom teeth exam. When we’re by your side, you or your family won’t need to go anywhere else.