As you age, your mouth goes through many different changes. The most noticeable of these is of course the various stages that your teeth cycle through. For starters, you have a set of baby teeth that start to show up around the age of 5 months old. As these are temporary, they begin to loosen and fall out around age 6. Then your permanent teeth, or adult teeth, come in behind them and should last a long, long time with proper care and dentist checkups.
There is another set of teeth that typically show up even later. These are called “wisdom teeth” since they come in the latest usually between ages 17 to 25 years old. Unlike our other teeth, these have a high likelihood of needing removal due to how they emerge within a mouth that may already be “crowded.” Should you need this procedure, don’t fret! Wisdom teeth removal is an incredibly common practice that many dentist offices perform all the time. Let’s talk more about it.
More about what Wisdom Teeth are.
Very simply, wisdom teeth are the molars that emerge in the back of your mouth around the ages of 17 to 25 years old. Not all molars are wisdom teeth, though. The first two sets of molars are not “wise” and will come in much sooner than the third set that eventually becomes wisdom teeth.
Another important aspect about wisdom teeth that you should know is the quantity. Like the other sets of molars, you should have four of them – two included in the top teeth and two included in the bottom teeth. Sometimes that is not the case. Some people end up having all four, some have none, and some people might have a random number under four.
Their emergence within the mouth can cause some discomfort, which is normal and not an automatic sign that something is wrong (more on that in a second). Wisdom teeth are a type of molar so they will generally be among the largest teeth in your mouth. This is where problems arise and why you might have to consider wisdom teeth removal.
What dental problems can wisdom teeth cause?
So what exactly is wrong with wisdom teeth? Well, nothing. Problems start to pop up when they begin to emerge (or try to). Some regular symptoms of wisdom teeth coming in that are not signals of major problems include redness, swelling, mild pain and discomfort, and prolonged tenderness. Beyond these, sometimes wisdom teeth become “impacted.”
Since wisdom teeth are big teeth coming into a mouth already filled with teeth, they might not actually be able to surface, or at least not fully. Wisdom teeth can get “stuck” in the gums or run into your other molars. When this happens, the teeth are said to be “impacted.”
If this happens, your dentist will likely recommend wisdom teeth removal to avoid future problems like infection and worse pain. How does this work?
How are they removed?
First, to ease some worries of anyone who might be concerned: wisdom teeth removal is extremely common. Most mouths are just not big enough to accommodate these teeth. With that said, your dentist knows exactly how to get those teeth out and minimize any associated discomfort.
Before removing the teeth is chosen as the correct course of action, your dentist will x-ray your mouth. This is a common practice, especially with wisdom teeth, even if you happen to be one of the people who have enough room in your mouth. The x-ray will give you and your dentist a better idea of what is going on.
When it’s the day to have your teeth removed, your dentist will typically use some type of numbing agent which could be either local anesthetic, IV sedation, or a combination. After this, the dentist will make a few incisions to better expose the teeth. The wisdom tooth might be removed entirely intact or removed in smaller, more manageable pieces. Then, they will clean up the wound and may use stitches. Afterward, you will have some gauze placed in the wound and be on your way to recovery!
For those people who keep their wisdom teeth
As stated, some people have enough space in their mouths for the wisdom teeth to come in fine. If you are one of these folks, you should visit the dentist regularly for them to monitor your wisdom teeth. Since they are hard to clean, problems may arise in the future.
For those who end up needing wisdom teeth removal, rest assured that you will find that Devaney Dentistry has the compassionate dental care you need to have a pleasant experience. Let us be your wisdom teeth dentist!