12 July 2022
Wisdom teeth removal is an incredibly common oral surgery procedure. Extraction at an early age can help prevent complications, infection, and crowding of existing teeth. Your dentist will usually monitor the development of this final set of molars as you enter adolescence. While everyone is different, you may be wondering if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed if they are not causing any pain.
Even if you are not currently experiencing pain around your wisdom teeth, a major factor in deciding to remove them is whether they are likely to cause problems in the future. An experienced oral surgeon can perform a thorough examination, including x-rays, to determine whether extraction is recommended.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Your wisdom teeth are the final set of teeth to erupt, and they are located behind your second molars in the very back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth generally emerge when you are in your teenage years. As humans have evolved our diets have changed, and dental care has improved resulting in these molars becoming less important. Because we are now able to chew our food effectively without wisdom teeth, they have become non-essential and oftentimes create more problems than they provide benefits.
Why Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?
There are a variety of reasons why your doctor may recommend wisdom teeth removal. You may not be experiencing any pain now, but you could in the future as your wisdom teeth continue to emerge and grow into place.
Some common issues include:
- Impacted teeth that become trapped under the gums or only partially erupt.
- Infection or cysts that develop under the gums around the root of the tooth.
- Decay or gum disease due to difficulty properly cleaning wisdom teeth.
- Crowding of other teeth because there is not enough room in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars.
- Damage to adjacent teeth or pain because wisdom teeth are coming in at an angle.
Some of these issues may be noticeable on x-rays or digital images before you ever feel any pain. Your doctor can see how your wisdom teeth are developing, whether they are in the proper position, and if there is enough space in your jaw for them. Extraction may be recommended as a preventive measure before problems become more painful or complex.
When Should I Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Your wisdom teeth can be removed at any age, but it is typically safer and easier when you are a teenager. Once you reach your twenties the wisdom tooth roots become fully grown. Longer tooth roots grow closer to surrounding nerves, and your jawbone hardens as you age making removal more difficult and potentially dangerous. Additionally, recovery is generally faster when you are younger.
What to Expect with Wisdom Teeth Removal Surgery
You may be referred to an oral surgeon at Mid-Kansas OMS by your dentist, or you may come in on your own if you are concerned about your wisdom teeth. In either case, one of our surgeons will review your dental and medical history, discuss any pain or issues you may be experiencing with your wisdom teeth, and examine your x-rays to identify what stage of growth your teeth are in.
Surgery may be recommended if the doctor notices any existing or potential problems, and they will develop a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. The doctor will discuss sedation options to help you relax and keep you safe and comfortable during the procedure. The removal process is generally fairly quick and is performed in our state-of-the-art facility.
You will be able to go home the same day with post-surgical instructions for your recovery as well as prescriptions to help minimize any discomfort and prevent infection. Many patients are ready to go back to school or work within two or three days.