Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Third molars are the last permanent teeth to develop, and typically erupt between the age of 17 and 25. In the 17th century, third molars were given the common name, “teeth of wisdom,” because they developed at the age when people were considered to become adults. By the 19th century, that nickname had been further abbreviated to wisdom teeth, and it is still in common usage today. Wisdom teeth were once a necessary part of human evolution as a coarse diet caused extensive damage and tooth loss early in life, but refined diet and improved dentistry services have made wisdom teeth almost wholly unnecessary. Thus, a majority of people choose to have their third molars extracted shortly after they erupt.
Benefits of Early Wisdom Tooth Removal
At White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our focus is on preventive dental care. We strive to help our patients maintain their healthy, natural teeth for a lifetime. When we recommend removal of one or more teeth, we do so in order to protect and preserve patients’ overall oral health. Wisdom teeth are frequently extracted for numerous dental health reasons including:
- Avoid crowding – most patients don’t have space for third molars. When they erupt, teeth are crowded together, and this misaligns smiles and can even undo previous orthodontic care.
- Protect oral health – because patients typically don’t have room for third molars, the teeth are more likely to become impacted, unable to surface. When teeth are trapped below the gum line, they are more susceptible to decay, and can cause damage to surrounding teeth.
- Minimize pain of extraction – when wisdom teeth are removed directly proceeding development, they are easier to extract. The longer teeth have to fuse to gum and bone tissue, the more painful, difficult, and potentially dangerous the procedure becomes. More than half of all patients who choose to retain their wisdom teeth need to remove them later in life.
The Extraction Process
Depending on how wisdom teeth develop, there are two common methods of extraction.
- Pulling – When wisdom teeth erupt without becoming impacted or affecting the alignment of surrounding teeth, the dentist can often use local anesthesia to numb the area before gently grasping the tooth with forceps and rocking it back and forth until it can be easily pulled from the bone.
- Surgical removal – If patients have impacted wisdom teeth, Dr. Amaro will refer them to an oral surgeon. Impacted wisdom teeth and those that prove difficult to remove by pulling may need to be removed surgically. Depending on the level of extraction difficulty, patients may need to receive sedation in addition to local anesthesia, or the dentist may recommend general anesthesia to keep patients fully unconscious during removal to ensure patient comfort and safety.
Find out more About Wisdom Teeth Removal
If your wisdom teeth have erupted or are causing pain, contact White Willow Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule a wisdom tooth consultation today. Our dentist and team are happy to examine developing wisdom teeth and make personalized recommendations for extraction or care of third molars.