Wisdom Teeth Extractions
What is a Wisdom Tooth?
By their name, you’d think that wisdom teeth are a great benefit! The truth is, however, that wisdom teeth often cause more harm than good, leading to recommendations for removal.
Wisdom teeth arrive later in life – somewhere between 17 and 21 years old is typical. In this way, their name makes sense, but it doesn’t take most patients very long to realise that wisdom teeth can cause more trouble than they’re worth.
These teeth have root systems that extend into the lower mandible and up near the sinuses, and they are located all the way at the back of the mouth behind the molars. Just when you think that you’re long done with teething… wisdom teeth arrive. While some wisdom teeth arrive sooner than others, they also present with variations in their number. Most mouths contain four wisdom teeth in total, one in each quadrant of the mouth. Sometimes, however, patients present with fewer than four wisdom teeth – and some present with more!
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Often Removed?
The majority of the trouble with wisdom teeth comes from their size. It is thought that they are an evolutionary leftover from a time when chewing fibrous plant matter was more relevant to the dietary needs of humans. In the aftermath of agricultural discovery, however, the human diet no longer requires these teeth to get the nutrition it needs. The result is a mouth that cannot accommodate these large teeth very well… so they tend to get stuck (known as impacted).
There are several kinds of wisdom tooth impaction, and each can impact the health of other teeth. Some wisdom teeth get stuck in the bone and do not progress beyond that point. Others, however, get stuck between the bone and the soft tissues of the mouth, or progress into the soft tissue and erupt partially.
Even wisdom teeth that manage to fully emerge from the gums and take their place along the dental arches can be a source of concern. This is because the size and position of these teeth makes them inherently more difficult to clean than the other teeth. They are so far back in the mouth that it can be difficult for your toothbrush to reach back there – and it can make it easier for food debris to become trapped leading to the development of plaque and decay. Wisdom teeth are also prone to infection which, due to their size and position, is a significant concern. Teeth that are only partially exposed from the gums become chronically infected as food debris is constantly trapped under the tissue around the tooth.
Less often, asymptomatic conditions (without symptoms) can be present in the mouth. One example of a concern without symptoms is what is known as a dentigerous cyst. This is a cyst that typically forms around the crown of the tooth, which inflates with fluid over time. As the cyst grows in size, it can begin to erode the structures of the root systems of other teeth as it encounters them. Without symptoms of pain or discomfort, the erosion can go unnoticed until swelling or shifting of the teeth becomes apparent. (One more reason to see your dentist for regular digital X-rays – if you needed one).
We look forward to providing you with quality dental care in St. Albert to ensure you have a healthy and happy smile for life! Please give us a call @ 780-458-3218 or request an appointment online.
All services performed by a general dentist.
What to Expect
The position of your wisdom teeth in the mouth determines how easy or difficult they will be to access. For this reason, sometimes your dentist will need to make an incision into the gums to access an impacted tooth. In this case, you may have some stitches in your mouth after the extraction which your dentist will prepare you for, as well as provide all the information you need to ensure that the site of removal heals effectively.
Your dentist will discuss ‘dry socket’ with you – a condition that occurs when the blood clot that forms to seal the socket after an extraction is dislodged. This is a painful condition that requires a visit to the dentist to reverse. Your best bet? Avoid any motion that could remove that clot for several days after extraction, using a spoon to consume soft foods.
Wisdom teeth extractions must be carefully planned to ensure that the root systems are not wrapped around a critical nerve or extending into the sinus cavity. In these situations, your dentist may refer you to a specialist for removal. In most situations, however, removing your wisdom teeth can be safely performed at your general dentist’s clinic using local anesthetic.
WE WILL SEE YOUR SMILE SOON!
We are always welcoming new patients at Wild Rose Dental. Please contact us by phone or online to book with us today!