Wisdom teeth are the final teeth to erupt from the jaw. Wisdom teeth are the third and last molars on each side of the upper and lower jaws. For most people, wisdom teeth arrive when a person is in their late teens or early 20’s. Some people have a fairly straightforward eruption process, while others have more complications. At Eten Dental, we know that no two people are alike. Since wisdom teeth extraction causes many patients significant anxiety, let’s take a look at these complicated molars.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
There are four wisdom teeth: one on each side on the top and bottom of your jaw. However, not everyone has four wisdom teeth. Some people are born without any wisdom teeth, while others have just one or two. For some people, wisdom teeth emerge just like the person’s other permanent teeth. Other people experience the wisdom teeth beginning to come in, but then find the process stalled, with the teeth stopping just below the gum line. This creates significant pressure and swelling, which in turn causes pain. When wisdom teeth erupt, they can start to shift the person’s other teeth, impacting the person’s bite and teeth alignment. Wisdom teeth are commonly extracted because they create overcrowding or pain in a person’s mouth.
If wisdom teeth are not treated by a dentist, they can pose significant oral health problems. Don’t neglect your wisdom teeth health, but instead, see a dentist like Dr. Hwang as soon as possible.
What is An Impacted Wisdom Tooth?
There are two ways that a wisdom tooth can be impacted. A tooth that is partially impacted has erupted only part of the way from the jaw bone. Usually, partially impacted teeth sit at the bone at an angle. This means they crowd the other teeth in a person’s mouth.
The second kind of impacted wisdom tooth is fully impacted. A fully impacted wisdom tooth usually remains completely buried in the jaw bone. Since it will not erupt, it is often embedded on its side. In these circumstances, the head of the tooth faces the root of the back molar. This causes pain for the patient.
An oral surgeon will be needed to remove partially or fully impacted wisdom teeth. Oral surgeons specialize in teeth extractions. If Dr. Hwang determines that you need to have your impacted wisdom teeth extracted, he will refer you to an experienced oral surgeon.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
Normally, as soon as the teeth start to erupt from the gum line, a patient will start feeling pain. This is a good time to see Dr. Hwang. He will be able to determine if the molars are impacted and whether they are shifting your other teeth. All four molars may come in at different times. They rarely appear all at once. Since there are so many different ways wisdom teeth can erupt, it is essential that you see a dentist and get x-rays of the jaw.
You should have your wisdom teeth removed when:
- You are in pain. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, don’t delay in seeing a dentist. The teeth should be extracted before they cause more problems.
- You are receiving orthodontic treatment. If you are already undergoing orthodontic treatments, then you should have the wisdom teeth removed as soon as possible. Orthodontists often recommend removal so that the teeth do not overcrowd the other teeth or change a person’s bite.
- You have poor oral hygiene. Wisdom teeth are prone to infection. They are also susceptible to decay. Wisdom teeth are located in the back area of the mouth, which makes them difficult to reach for thorough brushing and flossing. As a result, people often experience tooth decay or infection when their wisdom teeth begin to erupt. This decay can spread to other teeth. As a result, most dentists recommend removing the teeth before they can infect other teeth, tissues or bone.
What is the Approximate Time for Wisdom Teeth Eruption?
Wisdom teeth usually erupt when a person is 17 to 25 years old. Typically, a person’s permanent teeth have already settled long before wisdom teeth begin to erupt. This is what causes the pressure and pain in the jaw. When you first experience pain, you should contact Eten Dental.
Some patients do not want to wait for wisdom teeth to erupt. It is possible to have the teeth extracted before they begin to erupt. If you prefer to have them extracted early, talk to Dr. Hwang at Eten Dental. He will take x-rays and examine your teeth. He can then make a treatment plan for you, including a referral to an oral surgeon.
It is usually easier for young adults to have their wisdom teeth removed since the roots are not fully in place. Young patients usually average a faster recovery time and healing process.
How are Teeth Extracted?
After Dr. Hwang completes the exam, he will let you know if you need an extraction. If the extraction is simple, he can perform it himself in his Bayside, NY dental office. If he determines that you need to see an oral surgeon for a more complicated situation, he will refer you to an oral surgeon.
When an extraction is done, the dentist first begins by numbing the area of the extraction with a topical anesthetic. Then the dentist gives the patient a local anesthetic injection to numb the area where the tooth will be extracted. Some patients need sutures after the wisdom tooth extraction. If you need sutures, you will need to return to the office a few weeks later for a follow-up exam.
How to Care for Your Mouth After an Extraction
After the extraction, you will be given a cold pack for your jaw. The cold pack will help keep the swelling and discomfort at a minimum. If Dr. Hwang or the other dentist determines that you need pain medication, medication will be prescribed. However, over-the-counter pain medication should be taken by most patients. You will also be given antibiotics to prevent an infection. You should always finish the course of prescribed antibiotics.