It might be during a routine teeth cleaning that you hear the bad news from your dentist: “It looks like your wisdom teeth are coming in.”
Unfortunately, these teeth don’t actually bring you any kind of wisdom. Instead, they get their name because they typically appear between ages 17 and 25, known as an “age of wisdom”, and they usually require treatment or extraction.
Not everyone develops the third set of molars (about 65% of us do), but the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons reports about 85% percent of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth during their lifetime, meaning there’s not enough space for it to break through the gums.
If you do have problems with your wisdom teeth, the worst thing you can do is ignore them or hope that the problems go away.
The good news is that at Prevent Dental Suite, we have all the knowledge and experience necessary to treat any wisdom tooth issue, as well as any other dental or cosmetic issues you might suffer from.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties.
Some people are lucky enough born without wisdom teeth. In fact, 35% of the population is born without them. Researchers are unsure whether the reason for this is evolutionary or cultural. Humans no longer need these teeth for survival and better diet and dental practices actually make wisdom teeth less useful.
Some researchers have also looked into the link between how different cultures use their jaws, and whether or not they have wisdom teeth. For example, in parts of East Asia, it’s more common to find people without wisdom teeth.
Studies are being conducted to prevent their growth. Because most people opt to have surgery to remove their wisdom teeth, researchers are looking into ways to prevent their growth altogether.
When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they may come in horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward. If wisdom teeth suffer from incorrect alignment, they can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, and nerves.
Wisdom teeth can also become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth remain ‘stuck’ within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone or only partially erupt through the gum. Partial eruption increases the chance of infection, decay, and gum disease. Impacted wisdom teeth must be treated, or they lead to far greater dental problems down the road.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction
Before removing a wisdom tooth you will receive a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth. If several or all of your wisdom teeth will be extracted simultaneously, or if complications are expected, a general anaesthetic may be necessary, especially. Your Prevent Dental Suite dentist will probably recommend that you don’t eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery, particularly if general anaesthetic is required.
To remove your wisdom tooth, your dentist opens up the gum tissue over the tooth and takes out any bone covering the tooth. The tissue connecting the tooth and bone is separated and the tooth is removed. If there is little space, or the tooth is deeply entrenched, your dentist can break the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.
After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve by themselves and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. If so, you will visit the clinic for removal. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.
After wisdom tooth surgery you may be asked to bite down on a patch of gauze to control post-operative bleeding. In addition an ice pack applied to the sides of your face for the first 48 hours can minimize swelling. Your surgeon may prescribe medication to help ease discomfort. Dietary recommendations include drinking clear liquids and eating a soft diet. Gentle cleansing of the mouth can begin the next day. Tobacco, alcohol, and vigorous rinsing or exercise should be avoided!
Other Wisdom Tooth Treatment
Even healthy wisdom teeth often need extra care. Regular and careful flossing is a key element of this.
Permanent molars are likely to have deep fissures and grooves. These are therefore most at need of protecting with sealants. Sealing is commonly carried out on wisdom teeth when they come through into the mouth.
In any case, whatever treatment you need, it’s available at Prevent Dental Suite!
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