WISDOM TEETH — Should they stay or should they go?!

What are wisdom teeth?  Wisdom teeth (or third molars) are the last permanent teeth to form and move into the mouth. Wisdom teeth will usually emerge at around 16 to 18 years of age and become fully developed by the age of 22 or 23. You may not have all four wisdom teeth;  about 30 percent of people are missing one or more.  Often, wisdom teeth don’t grow in properly. A tooth is “impacted” if it’s prevented from reaching its normal position.  Impacted teeth can cause problems with chewing or periodontal problems and may damage adjacent teeth. A tooth can be partially impacted—meaning it has broken through the surface of the gums but can’t grow into a normal position.Why might I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?   Impacted wisdom teeth may hurt, and they can develop cavities, infections or periodontal disease. It’s often when these problems arise (as well as during regular dental exams) that people realize they need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. Some people never need surgery—their wisdom teeth grow into proper position, or the teeth stay in the jawbone and don’t cause problems. Others don’t need surgery as young adults, but their wisdom teeth may cause problems later in life.

With the help of radiographs (X-Rays), we can see if the unerupted teeth are impacted and may be problematic.

Advantages to Early Removal of Wisdom Teeth

Removing impacted wisdom teeth early is usually a less involved procedure than waiting until complications and pain develop. It is best to remove the teeth before the roots are fully formed. Surgery is much simpler for younger patients than older patients as roots are not yet fully developed and bone is not as dense. As well, younger patients tend to heal more rapidly. The healing potential is highest prior to the age of thirty

If you wait until your wisdom teeth cause you trouble, chances of risks and complications are higher, and recovery may not proceed as smoothly as when they are removed electively.

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