If there’s a teenager or young adult in your house, it’s probably time to consider having wisdom teeth extracted.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth, so called because they appear much later in life than other teeth when a person would presumably be wiser, are the farthest back of the molars to develop.
Wisdom teeth are situated at the very of your jaw and generally begin to come in between 17 and 21 years of age. Dentists call these teeth “third molars.” Some patients have third molars that erupt and don’t cause any problems. They are able to eat and chew normally, unaware of their wisdom teeth.
For most of us, however, these teeth can cause problems.
Why Remove Wisdom Teeth?
There are many reasons that Dr. Beck and other dentists may recommend wisdom teeth extraction. Sometimes the jaw is not large enough to accommodate all three molars. Due to their location, third molars are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and floss, often leading to cavities and infection.
If there’s not enough room in your mouth for these teeth, they may become impacted. Symptoms that indicate impacted wisdom teeth include:
- difficulty opening your jaw
- swelling the gums at the back of your mouth
- pain when chewing, biting or opening your mouth
- bad breath
If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to see Dr. Beck immediately for treatment and possible wisdom teeth extraction. In some instances, a third molar will only partially erupt, leaving a pocket of gum tissue called an operculum that can lead to an infection. In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth that remain embedded in the bone can develop cysts and tumors that can affect other teeth.
Dealing With Wisdom Teeth
Dr. Beck at Mt. Tabor Dental recommends a comprehensive dental exam to help you determine the condition and health of your third molars. Regular dental visits with Dr. Beck will help ensure just the right time for wisdom teeth extraction. Oral exams and x-rays help Dr. Beck follow the progress of your development, pinpointing any potential problems before they start.
Even if your wisdom teeth currently pose no problems, it’s a good idea to get them taken out during young adulthood. The roots of these third molars are not fully developed, and the bone surrounding the teeth are less dense, resulting in less pain and faster healing. Getting rid of wisdom teeth before they become a problem is a definite indication of true wisdom!