What are wisdom teeth?
Third molars are commonly referred to as wisdom teeth. They are usually the last teeth to develop and are located in the back of your mouth, behind your second molars. Their development is usually completed between the middle teenage years and early twenties, a time traditionally associated with the onset of maturity and the attainment of wisdom.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Although most people develop and grow 32 permanent adult teeth, many times their jaws are too small to accommodate the four wisdom teeth. When inadequate space prevents the teeth from erupting they are called impacted wisdom teeth. This indicates their inability to erupt into the proper position for chewing and cleaning.
Wisdom Teeth Evaluation
With a thorough clinical exam and x-ray of the teeth, Dr. Haupt will evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if your wisdom teeth should be removed. Similar to other medical and dental conditions, wisdom teeth are best evaluated and treated before pain or infections occur.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
Multiple studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment of impacted wisdom teeth results in a superior outcome. Ideally wisdom teeth should be evaluated by the age of 14, with many being removed by age 20.
Your general dentist or orthodontist will likely monitor the development of your wisdom teeth.
Why should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
It is very common to have impacted wisdom teeth, and several potential complications can occur if left untreated. The risk of these complications increases as we get older, especially over the age of 25, and can include the following:
- Pericoronitis (localized gum infection) – most common
- Cyst formation
- Possible crowding and misaligned adjacent teeth
- Damage to adjacent teeth and roots
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Depending how impacted your wisdom teeth are, Dr. Haupt may need to make a cut in the gum tissue and gently remove bone around the teeth. After the wisdom tooth is removed and the site is cleaned, a dissolvable stitch will be placed to help hold the gum tissue in place.
Most patients choose to have their wisdom teeth removed under IV sedation, allowing maximum patient comfort and an overall pleasant experience. Various sedation and anesthesia options are available and will be discussed with you during your consultation appointment. Dr. Haupt and his surgical team are all well trained, licensed, and highly experienced in providing the various types of anesthesia.