What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the very back molars in your mouth. These teeth are named wisdom teeth due to their later development in life. Most individuals will get wisdom teeth sometime between the ages of 17 and 21. They most often come in two pairs, two on top and two on the bottom, completing the set of 32 adult teeth. These teeth are your toughest and widest teeth, meant to help individuals chew and breakdown their food.
Some people may spend their whole lives without having wisdom teeth emerge from their gums. This does not necessarily mean these individuals do not have wisdom teeth, it just means they have not erupted through the gums yet. In some cases, they may lay dormant for years then breakthrough, in other situations they may never come out.
Should you have your wisdom teeth removed?
Wisdom teeth are usually only removed if they cause problems, or are likely to in the future. There are no scientifically proven health benefits of pulling wisdom teeth that don’t cause any problems. What’s more, removing wisdom teeth is usually unpleasant and may cause side effects.
In many people, wisdom teeth don’t break through the gum and grow out – or only part of them does. Up to 80% of young adults in Europe have at least one wisdom tooth that hasn’t broken through. This is more common in the lower jaw than it is in the upper jaw. The reason is usually that there isn’t enough room in the jaw. Other teeth may then get in the way of the wisdom tooth, or it might come in crooked.
Wisdom teeth that don’t break through (sometimes also called “impacted” wisdom teeth) often don’t cause any problems. But they sometimes lead to pain, swelling, tooth decay or inflamed gums. Impacted wisdom teeth may also push other teeth out of the way. Wisdom teeth that break through the gums may or may not cause problems too.
When is it a good idea to have your wisdom teeth pulled?
The decision about whether or not to have wisdom teeth pulled will mainly depend on whether they are already causing trouble or whether it is highly likely that they will in the future. It is important to get answers to the following questions before having any wisdom teeth removed:
- Have your wisdom teeth already caused pain or damage to your jaw or nearby teeth, or is there an increased risk of that happening?
- Are the wisdom teeth preventing the other teeth from developing properly?
- Might the wisdom teeth interfere with other dental or jaw-related treatments that are already planned?
- What risks are associated with surgery?
Am I under anesthesia during my procedure?
You’ll get one of these types of anesthesia so you don’t feel pain during the removal:
- Local: Your doctor will numb your mouth with a shot of local anesthetic such as novocaine, lidocaine or mepivicaine. You may also breathe nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, to relax or even doze during surgery. You should feel alert again shortly afterward.
- IV sedation: The surgeon will numb your mouth and also give you drugs through a vein in your arm to make you drowsy. You might sleep during the whole procedure.
- General: You’ll either get drugs through a vein or breathe gas in through a mask. You’ll be asleep the whole time and might not wake up for an hour or so after the surgery.
Your doctor may have to cut your gums or bone to get the teeth out. If so, they’ll stitch the wounds shut so they heal quickly. These stitches usually dissolve after a few days. They may also stuff gauze pads in your mouth to soak up some of the blood.
Schedule Your Wisdom Teeth Extraction in Baytown, TX
For some portion of the population, the wisdom teeth are not able to fit inside the mouth without crowding out other teeth or even becoming impacted and causing a slew of other problems. If you are feeling discomfort or have noticed your back molars are beginning to emerge through your gums, schedule an appointment to gain some insight into the changes happening to your teeth.
Our dentists, Dr. Brian L. Porter or Dr. Kelley Joo, can help you determine if removing your wisdom teeth is the right option for you. We will go over all of your options and help you make the best choice for your mouth.
If you are looking into wisdom teeth removal in Baytown, Texas, please call Brian L. Porter, DDS today at 281-422-3415 for more information.
Brian L. Porter, DDS
1109 E. James Ave.
Baytown, TX 77520
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