Known in dentistry as your third molars, wisdom teeth are the furthest teeth in your mouth and come in last. Their development and eruption occur between the middle teenage years and early twenties, giving them their familiar name of wisdom teeth. Though differing information can be found, at Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, we encourage patients to have these teeth extracted around the age of twenty. Even if your wisdom teeth aren’t causing the patient pain or discomfort, the chances of wisdom teeth being problematic in the future are high. Studies show that 85% of adults have their wisdom teeth removed. Dr. Robert G. Hale, Dr. James P. Jensvold, and Dr. Alexei I. Mizin, can evaluate and help you determine the best course of action for your wisdom teeth.
The Problem With Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth, are believed by scientists, to have been necessary for our early ancestors, but are now no longer evolutionary needed. From the size of our jaws decreasing to diet changes, to the development of tools that we use for eating, such as forks, chopsticks, and spoons, wisdom teeth are no longer an advantage. In fact, wisdom teeth are problematic. Patients experience a range of oral health issues due to their wisdom teeth including:
Impacted: Wisdom teeth often do not have the necessary room to fully erupt. With lack of space, they can turn, push neighboring teeth, or never fully ascend.
Crowding: Along with being impacted, wisdom teeth there is often not adequate space for a wisdom tooth. As the tooth attempts to ascend, it can cause the patient to experience changes in their bite due to overcrowding.
Decay: Wisdom teeth are considerably more likely to have problems with decay. Whether plaque and food particles are missed because the tooth is located so far back in the mouth, or plaque and food debris are allowed passage between the partially impacted tooth and gums, the third molars have high rates of decay issues.
Infection: Along with decay comes infection. It is not easy to ensure that the wisdom tooth and gums are clean and kept free of bacteria, and with bacteria comes infection. This can lead to cysts, tumors and permanent damage to surrounding teeth, bone, and nerves.
What patients may not understand in their youth is, that problems can still arise when they are older, and the removal of wisdom teeth younger is easier. Around the age of twenty, the wisdom tooth has grown enough that our surgeons, Dr. Robert G. Hale, Dr. James P. Jensvold, or Dr. Alexei I. Mizin, can grab hold of them, but the root is still short enough that the wisdom tooth will come out with ease. The longer a patient keeps their wisdom teeth the root will continue to grow, making the removal process more difficult and painful.
Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Before surgery, we will discuss anesthesia options with the patient to ensure that they are comfortable. Most wisdom teeth removal procedures are a surgical extraction. This means that our surgeon will need to make an incision into the gums to remove the tooth in sections. This will minimize the amount of bone that is being removed. Following surgery, you may be asked to bite down softly on a piece of gauze for 30 to 45 minutes; this will limit any bleeding. Most patients do experience some level of pain and swelling following surgery; it should decrease each day. If you experience any abnormal bleeding, pain or swelling, we ask that you contact our office immediately or seek medical help.
For more informaiton on the removal of wisdom teeth, contact Woodland Hills Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery at: (818) 999-0900.