How many teeth do you think are in the typical adult mouth? If you guessed 28 you are correct. Interestingly between 17 and 21 years of age, there are a total of 32 teeth on the top and bottom. Is it even possible to fit 32 teeth in a mouth that accommodates only 28 teeth? Yes it is possible but more than likely uncomfortable and painful. These four other additional teeth which are the final teeth to erupt are commonly known as “wisdom teeth.”
“Wisdom teeth can cause problems at any age and even though they might not cause pain or infection in the teenage years, it might still be recommended in removing them in order to prevent more difficult, even serious, surgery later in life,” according to Dr. Neff of Los Coches Dentistry. “The advantage of doing this is the fact that the roots of the teeth won’t be fully developed yet, and the bone around the teeth should be less dense. It’s also easier for a younger patient to recuperate from wisdom tooth extraction whereas aging can result in a longer recovery.” Common reasons why wisdom teeth ought to be removed:
- Interference with the bite
- Threat of periodontal disease
- Interference with an adjacent tooth restoration
- Interference with orthodontic appliances
Wisdom teeth do not need to be removed when they align properly and gum tissue is healthy. Because this generally does not happen, wisdom teeth extraction is necessitated when they are prevented from properly erupting. They might partially emerge through the gum, grow sideways, and sometimes remain trapped underneath the gum and bone due to the limited space in one’s mouth. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
Impacted teeth are wisdom teeth which do not erupt into the mouth and grow properly. They may be blocked by bone or other teeth, or may be tilted beneath the gums. Impacted teeth can cause serious problems, like infection, decay, gum disease, cysts (fluid-filled sacs) and even tumors. Cysts are dangerous because they may be able to cause permanent damage to the bone, teeth and nerves.
Common problems associated with wisdom teeth include: Painful, swollen gums since more difficult to keep clean Infection because any food trapped between gum tissues become breeding ground for bacteria Crowding or damaging of surrounding teeth possibly leading to orthodontic treatment Possible damaging of nerves and jawbone due to cyst formation requiring extensive surgery
In most cases for pain prevention, the extraction of wisdom teeth is performed under local or general anesthesia, or laughing gas. An anesthetic is applied to the wisdom teeth area and surrounding tissue. Once you’re completely numb, the wisdom teeth are removed; the gum is sutured. Following the procedure, bleeding and swelling and discomfort may occur. Prescribed oral pain medication for pain along with a cold compress and maintaining a cold liquid and soft food diet for a couple of days after helps the healing process.
In deciding whether or not to keep your wisdom teeth, you really need to understand that you can’t simply forget them. Periodic oral examinations and x-rays of the mouth can help evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there could be present or future problems. Research indicates that early evaluation and treatment result in a more healthy outcome for the individual.
Please make an appointment or call (760) 633-4488 to have your wisdom teeth extraction questions addressed by our knowledgeable professionals.