Wisdom teeth are a third set of molars that don’t appear until you are older, usually in your late teens or early 20s. These extra teeth can cause some serious problems for someone who has already gone through the process of straightening your teeth with braces or other orthodontic work. Even if you didn’t get braces—either because you already have straight teeth or you weren’t able to get braces—wisdom teeth can present a problem if there isn’t enough room in your mouth to accommodate them.
Part of what makes wisdom teeth challenging, though, is that they’re not the same for everyone. Some people have only one or two, others have three or four, while still some people have no wisdom teeth at all. How many you have, how they are going to grow in, and when they appear is completely unique to each person. It’s important that you are seeing a dentist regularly so they can get x-rays of your mouth and identify when and where your wisdom teeth are located. They can also identify whether they might become a problem.
Removing Your Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are often angled to one side or another, or could grow in angled outward or inward. They can also cause crowding in your mouth, forcing other teeth to move and shift out of place to make room for more teeth. In severe situations they can damage surrounding teeth or cause issues for your jaw and nerves. If they only come partially out of your gums they could also lead to infections and decay. As long as you have a healthy set of molars already, there is no benefit to keeping your wisdom teeth, so many people choose to have them removed. Your wisdom teeth can be removed by:
- Your family dentist
- An oral and maxillofacial surgeon
Which one you choose often depends on the situation with your wisdom teeth.
Wisdom Teeth Removal by a Family Dentist
Most people with wisdom teeth that are growing in normally can have them removed by a family dentist. They will start by getting x-rays to see where your wisdom teeth are located. Wisdom teeth that have already come through the gums can be removed just like any other tooth extraction. Those inside your gums can also be removed with an in-office dental procedure as long as there aren’t serious complicating factors. Your dentist will use local anesthesia (numbing) around the area, then use special tools to take the teeth out. Getting them removed sooner can usually help you avoid future problems or a more complicated extraction procedure.
When to See an Oral Surgeon
In some situations your dentist may recommend that you see an oral surgeon, such as:
- Impacted wisdom teeth that are not growing in straight
- Wisdom teeth that are angled to the side, front or back
- Wisdom teeth embedded in the jawbone
These situations usually require full anesthesia (putting you to sleep completely) and a more advanced surgical procedure than what your family dentist can do.
Schedule an Appointment
If you have wisdom teeth and want to have them checked or removed, schedule an appointment at Young Family Dental today.