Wisdom Teeth

What are wisdom teeth?

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Since the 17th century, wisdom teeth were the teeth that young adults develop once they have become mature and “wise.” Wisdom teeth are in fact developed during the teenage or early adult years, but have nothing to do with how “wise” a person is.

In modern society, dentists still use the term “wisdom teeth” to refer to the four back-most teeth in our mouths. These molars begin to develop along with your other permanent teeth, and can actually help you chew as long as they are aligned and are able to properly grow with your other teeth and jaw.

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

In most cases, wisdom teeth position themselves in an obstructive manner, causing the rest of the teeth in your mouth to become unaligned and crowded. This can cause extreme damage to not only your teeth, but the jawbone and the nerves inside your mouth.

Wisdom teeth can also become impacted by bacteria while they begin to break through the gum. If bacteria enter the tooth, it can cause serious infection resulting in swelling, stiffness, and a great deal of pain, and because the wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth, preventative care like brushing and flossing is nearly impossible.

How are wisdom teeth removed?

If your wisdom teeth are already showing above the gum, they can be removed as easily as any other tooth. If, however, your wisdom teeth are still beneath the gum, a small incision is created and small parts of the bone surrounding the tooth are removed in small pieces in order to safely remove the tooth.

After applying a local anesthetic (and possibly administering nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”), your dentist will begin to remove the tooth with minimal pain.

When the surgery is complete, you will experience some swelling, and some pain medications may be taken for minor pain. Caring for your gums after wisdom teeth removal is as easy as rinsing your mouth and avoiding dry sockets.

If you think you are a candidate for wisdom teeth removal, contact us today!