Nearly everyone knows someone who has had their wisdom teeth removed. Maybe you have been told you need to have yours extracted. But not everyone really understands what wisdom teeth are and why they are a problem for so many people. Today, we want to answer some of the common questions about wisdom teeth.
What Are Wisdom Teeth? Where Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are your third and final set of molars. They grow all the way at the back of your mouth, both on the top and bottom jaw. Some people have no problem with their wisdom teeth, and they actually become a helpful and functional extra set of molars for these folks. However, in most mouths, the jaw has evolved to not have enough space for these teeth to emerge properly.
When your wisdom teeth grow into an already-full jaw, they may become impacted. Impaction means that the wisdom teeth have been unsuccessful in breaking through your jaw and growing into place properly. You may have partially impacted wisdom teeth, which have erupted partway through the gums and may leave your gums tender, swollen, and in danger of infection. Or you may have fully impacted wisdom teeth, stuck inside the jawbone where they can cause problems over time such as decay or misalignment of other teeth.
Do I Need to Have My Wisdom Teeth Pulled?
If your wisdom teeth are not impacted and are aligned properly, there is no reason to extract them. If the teeth appear to be misaligned in x-rays, Longmont dentist Dr. Bond may recommend extraction even if they are not currently impacted, especially in teens. Wisdom tooth extraction is a much simpler process in younger patients, because the roots and nerves have not fully developed and are easier to remove.
Extraction of wisdom teeth is usually recommended for patients sometime between age 17 and 25, the time when these teeth emerge and impaction risk becomes greater. If your Longmont dentist believes your wisdom teeth could become a problem, he may recommend extraction earlier than this. Some people wait until the impacted wisdom teeth become painful before having them pulled. This can lead to other complications such as infection, nerve damage, and damage to surrounding teeth, and is not recommended.
Are Wisdom Teeth Harder to Pull Than Other Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, like any other tooth, can vary greatly in difficulty when it comes to extraction. Some wisdom teeth come out very simply, others may be more difficult and require different techniques. There are factors which can affect this such as your age, overall oral health, and whether the wisdom teeth have broken through your gums or not.
Our Longmont Dental office has several years’ experience with extractions of all difficulties. We will examine your x-rays and discuss any foreseeable difficulties before the procedure begins. If you are nervous about having your wisdom teeth extracted, we even offer nitrous oxide sedation to help relax you and put you at ease during your extraction procedure.
Don’t Wait If Your Wisdom Teeth Are Bothering You
If you are experiencing pain or tenderness in the back of your mouth and you think you may need your wisdom teeth extracted, call our office today to schedule an examination.