Monday, April 6, 2015

What are wisdom teeth and when should they be removed?

Wisdom teeth are the four teeth that are formed the farthest back portion of the jaws. Basically, they are a third set of molars.

Usually, wisdom teeth begin to appear during a person's early 20s. However, many people choose to have their wisdom teeth surgically removed before they begin to break through. Others have their wisdom teeth pulled after they have already come in.

A dentist will make the recommendation of when he or she feels it is necessary to remove a patient's wisdom teeth. It is usually best done when the roots of the teeth are approximately 2/3rds formed, which is typically during the adolescent years. Removing the wisdom teeth at this stage allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

While not everyone will necessarily have to have their wisdom teeth removed, many people do for one of the following reasons:

  • They're impacted. Because they're located so far back in the mouth, wisdom teeth have a reputation for not coming in normally. They may get trapped in the jawbone or gums, which can be painful.

  • They're coming in at the wrong angle. Again, wisdom teeth are known for growing in irregularly, and even a slight deviation in angle can cause problems for the rest of your mouth. 

  • The mouth is too small. People who have small jaws simply cannot accomodate any more teeth comfortably, so removing the wisdom teeth is best.

  • Cavities or gum disease. If your wisdom teeth have already come in, you may have difficulty reaching them in order to clean them properly. This can cause repeated issues such as cavities and periodontal disease.
If you're concerned about your wisdom teeth, don't hesitate to talk to your dentist about it. He or she will help you understand the best course of action for your wisdom teeth care or removal. 

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