AKA Third Molars
At Nothing But Wisdom Teeth, our main focus is the removal of, you guessed it, wisdom teeth of all shapes, sizes and levels of impaction.
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt or “come in.” They are also known as third molars because they are literally just that — you have two regular molars in front of each wisdom tooth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, but it is not uncommon to have fewer or even a couple more! (Are people with more wisdom teeth wiser, or less evolved?!) The human skull has changed size over time, leaving less room for wisdom teeth to fit in the mouth. Because of this lack of space, wisdom teeth can cause many problems including the following:
Decay on wisdom tooth and adjacent molar.
Optimal time for wisdom tooth removal. Roots are approximately 1/3 formed. Age 16.
- Roots become embedded in jawbone
- Full roots can cause jaw fracture
- Difficult to clean that far back
- Develop cavities easily
- Adjacent teeth can be affected
Infection & Cysts
- Chronic gum infection can occur
- Best to remove source of infection
- Cysts are fluid-filled sacks around teeth
- Can destroy healthy bone if untreated
The best time for removal of wisdom teeth is when the roots are approximately 1/3 – 2/3 formed as pictured to the right. This usually occurs between the ages of 14 to 18. The unnecessary teeth are removed under IV moderate sedation, allowing the patient to sleep through the surgery and wake with no recollection of it. Below we’ve outlined the different levels of wisdom tooth impactions.
Four Types of wisdom tooth impactions
1. Full Bony Impaction
2. Soft Tissue Impaction
3. Horizontal Impaction
4. Partial Bony Impaction
- This means that the wisdom tooth has grown into the mouth completely.
- You should be able to see the entire crown of the wisdom tooth, much like the rest of your teeth.
- Oftentimes, even fully erupted wisdom teeth need to be extracted because:
- Can be very hard to clean properly
- May become decayed and require fillings or more expensive root canals and crowns
- Can cause decay on adjacent molars that you do need
Soft Tissue Impaction
- Upper wisdom teeth are often soft tissue impactions.
- The tooth is completely covered by gum tissue.
- Partial Bony Impaction – a portion of the crown is embedded in the jaw bone
- Full Bony Impaction – the entire crown of the wisdom tooth is embedded in the jaw bone
- Lower wisdom teeth are often horizontal impactions
Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to come in, which usually happen sometime between the ages of 17 to 24. While some people experience no problems at all when their wisdom teeth come in, there are others who will experience any number of dental problems due to their wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth can be a great benefit when they are able to grow in without causing any problems, which means growing in without affecting any of the surrounding teeth. It is when the wisdom teeth start moving and shifting other teeth that they can become a problem.
Wisdom Teeth Damage
Wisdom teeth can cause damage to the surrounding teeth. Since wisdom teeth are the third and last set of molars to grow in, if a wisdom tooth happens to be misaligned, or there is no more room in the mouth for a new tooth to grow in properly, damage to the surrounding teeth and gums is going to occur sooner or later.
When wisdom teeth emerge from the gum line and there is no room for proper alignment, an impacted tooth is often the result, leaving the mouth vulnerable to infection. Many dentists will choose to extract wisdom teeth in order to prevent the possibility of a future dental problem, damage or pain.
Treatment Options for Wisdom Teeth
Treatment options for wisdom teeth are going to depend on a dental patient’s particular situation. Thus, it is necessary for anyone whose wisdom teeth is either coming in or causing problems to see their dentist for a professional evaluation. Most treatment options for wisdom teeth involve extracting one or more of the wisdom teeth.
Wisdom tooth extractions are a common option when someone has an impacted tooth since it can easily lead to a number of other dental problems. Wisdom tooth extractions are also a common dental procedure for patients whose wisdom teeth are beginning to impact the surrounding teeth in a negative way.
Wisdom Tooth Extractions
Wisdom tooth extractions are a common dental procedure. When wisdom teeth begin to cause dental problems, extracting them is often the best choice. Extraction helps the patient avoid any future dental problems. A general dentist can often complete the wisdom teeth removal. If the wisdom tooth happens to be deeply impacted then an oral surgeon may be necessary.
The patient will receive anesthesia to not feel anything during the procedure. Administering the anesthesia involves making a small incision in order to extract the tooth. After removing the tooth, we will clean the area and apply any stitches that are necessary. The patient will need to follow the after procedure instructions given in order to make sure they heal properly.
An impacted wisdom tooth can create a variety of other dental problems and occurs when there is not enough room for the wisdom tooth to emerge through the gum line. These complications can cause damage to the other teeth, which results from the wisdom tooth placing pressure on the surrounding teeth. This can lead to crooked teeth, which are harder to clean and much more susceptible to gum disease and tooth decay.
Since wisdom teeth are the last teeth to grow in, there is a much higher chance of overcrowding. Even though there may be no immediate problems present when a wisdom tooth is growing in, impacted tooth symptoms are not always noticeable right away. Symptoms can include swollen or bleeding gums, jaw pain, swelling and bad breath.
While a general dentist is able to perform wisdom tooth extractions, there are times when an oral surgeon is needed. Wisdom teeth extraction by an oral surgeon may be required when it is necessary to do more than making a small incision in order to remove the wisdom tooth. If a general dentist believes that there may be some complications with removing wisdom teeth, then they will often refer the patient to an oral surgeon.
An oral surgeon is a dentist who completes additional training in a selected hospital oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program. Since an oral surgeon has the additional training, they are able to utilize surgical dental methods, which includes anesthesia and pain control. An oral surgeon is able to perform a number of complex oral surgeries, including reconstructive surgeries, making them a top option for dental patients who are experiencing problems with their wisdom teeth.