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Your teeth change a lot throughout your life, with some of the biggest changes happening between the ages of 17 and 21. This is typically when the third molars, better known as “wisdom teeth,” start to grow in. If you are one of the few lucky ones, they will grow in perfectly straight and will never have cavities or gum problems. This is rarely ever the case, however, and the vast majority of people will need to have at least one of their wisdom teeth removed at some point.
If you experience pain or soreness when your wisdom teeth begin to erupt, this might be one of the first warning signs that you will need an extraction. Due to a lack of space in the mouth, wisdom teeth may push on other teeth, come out sideways, or become “stuck” in the bone or (impacted). Aside from maybe looking funny and crooked, if wisdom teeth do come out in the wrong position, you might even see an increase in cavities on the adjacent teeth that have now become harder to keep clean. And if the wisdom teeth remain trapped under the gums, you might experience pain and infections in the jaws.
Because wisdom teeth are easiest to remove before their roots have fully formed and taken hold, we may recommend preventative wisdom teeth extractions in young adults. With age, wisdom teeth become more difficult to remove. Their roots grow longer and deeper, and the surrounding bone becomes more dense and not as pliable. The teeth themselves might even be crumbling down due to cavities or decay, or they may have developed infections that make the procedure longer and more challenging. Finally, older adults may develop medical issues that make it more difficult to control bleeding and healing from medical procedures in general.
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH WISDOM TEETHThere are various dental issues that can only be detected on an x-ray. These include:
- TMJ pain
- Damage to surrounding teeth
- Gum disease
- Tooth decay
HOW DO I KNOW IF I NEED TO HAVE MY WISDOM TEETH PULLED?
Every person’s circumstance is unique. Some patients will require surgical removal of all four wisdom teeth under deep sedation at an oral surgery facility, while others may have just one pulled during their regular hygiene visit. When you come in for your consultation, we will do a thorough examination, including x-rays, to determine the condition of your wisdom teeth and if any further steps are necessary.
If you’re someone who dreads going to the dentist, don’t worry – you’re in good hands! Our dentists and staff are vetted for excellent chair-side manners and will ensure that you remain comfortable throughout your appointment. And if that is still not enough reassurance, we even offer moderate conscious sedation.
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