Did you know that wisdom teeth are actually just extra molars found in the very back of your mouth? Many, many years ago, our ancestors had larger jaws and needed these molars so that they could grind down plant tissue. Over time, our jaws evolved to became smaller, and while we no longer need to grind plant tissue with our back teeth, wisdom teeth still often appear. Most people have four wisdom teeth, though it is possible to have fewer or more than four.
Wisdom teeth usually appear in a person’s late teens or early twenties. Due to lack of room in the jaw or improper angle of entry, the molars often fail to erupt and become impacted within the gums. Wisdom teeth, whether or not they are impacted, can cause tenderness, swelling and even severe pain. If wisdom teeth do partially or fully erupt, they tend to be difficult to clean, making them susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections and gum disease. Also, in rare cases, wisdom teeth that do not erupt can become cysts that destroy bone in the jaw.
Due to the many problems that wisdom teeth can cause, patients are typically advised to have the teeth removed. It is best to undergo the procedure before the roots have had time to fully develop and while the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. This allows for an easier extraction and a faster recovery time. As such, patients are often advised to have their wisdom teeth removed in their late teens and early twenties.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, the area around the tooth will first have to be numbed with a local anesthetic. If the impacted tooth is imbedded under the gums, in the jawbone, a portion of the covering bone may need to be removed. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, the tooth will typically be removed in sections, through a small opening in the bone.
After the procedure, the amount of time it will take to fully recover will depend on the degree of difficulty that was related to the extraction. At Dr. Hadeed’s office, we will provide you with instructions to make your healing process as easy and as comfortable as possible.