Annual Oral Health Section
A common procedure, wisdom teeth removal can help to prevent infection and crowding of the teeth.
Where Do Wisdom Teeth Fit In?
An average set of adult teeth is made up of 32 teeth, all with their own unique shape and function. At the front are the incisors, canines, and bicuspids, which are used to bite. In the back are two sets of molars, used for chewing. Wisdom teeth make up the third set of molars at the very back of the mouth and are the last teeth to emerge through the gumline. While most permanent teeth come in between the ages of 6 and 12, wisdom teeth are more likely to come in later, between the ages of 17 and 25. Since they’re the last molars to come in, they are often impacted, which means that there isn’t quite enough room for them to fit in the mouth.
Why Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Impacted wisdom teeth can not only be painful, but can also lead to the growth of bacteria around said teeth, which in turn can cause an infection called pericoronitis. Incoming wisdom teeth can also put pressure on neighboring teeth, which can cause misalignment. In some cases, cysts or tumors can grow around wisdom teeth and cause jaw deterioration, but this is rare.
Signs That It Is Time for Extraction
There are many different symptoms you can experience that might indicate that it’s time to speak with your dentist or oral surgeon about your wisdom teeth. If you’ve been experiencing any of the following symptoms, consider scheduling an appointment:
Swelling of the gums in the back of the mouth or side of the jaw
- Bad breath
- Pain when biting or chewing
- Pain or irritation when opening your mouth
- Unpleasant taste in your mouth
- Headache or jaw ache
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
What Is the Procedure Like?
When the time comes to have your wisdom teeth removed, you and your dentist or oral surgeon will have a conversation about whether general or local anesthesia is the ideal option for your procedure. A specialist will examine your X-rays to evaluate the best course of action for the removal before proceeding with the surgery. Post-op, you’ll be given instructions for aftercare, and a follow-up appointment will be scheduled to ensure proper healing of the mouth.