The wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the last 4 of your 32 adult teeth to develop. They usually erupt in the late teen years or the early 20s. Not only are they the last to develop, but they are also the teeth most likely to cause serious oral health complications. At Hunter Dental Care, we can help treat wisdom teeth, restoring your oral health and alleviating the issues that they cause.
Looking Back at the Wisdom Teeth
While the wisdom teeth can be problematic for most people today, this was not always the case. Thousands of years ago, they had an important purpose. Back before the invention of cooking, the wisdom teeth were essential for helping our ancestors to chew the many coarse foods that made up a majority of the human diet. Once cooking came to be, and foods became easier to chew, the wisdom teeth essentially became obsolete. Over time, the size of the human jaw shrank, but the wisdom teeth are still present. Without the room to accommodate them, they can often cause serious issues.
Common Complications Caused by Wisdom Teeth
The wisdom teeth are the most likely teeth to become impacted. Impacted teeth are those that cannot properly erupt, or even erupt at all, through the gums. Often, this difficulty is because there is not enough room. Wisdom teeth may also be blocked, or they may be growing at an angle. Common complications that impacted wisdom teeth can cause include:
Treating Troublesome Wisdom Teeth
If you are experiencing pain in the back of your mouth, it is important to be seen as soon as possible. We can perform a thorough oral exam to determine if the pain is your wisdom teeth. We look at your teeth and gums and also take X-rays. The X-rays will allow us to see exactly where your wisdom teeth are and the direction in which they are developing. We can also spot cysts as well as any other damage to your other teeth.
If your wisdom teeth are determined to be the culprit, we then move ahead with treatment. Treating impacted wisdom teeth usually involves removing them. Teeth can either be removed with a simple extraction or a surgical extraction. Wisdom teeth typically require surgical extraction. After a local anesthetic and sedation, incisions are made in the gums. We are then able to begin removing the teeth. This may involve removing a small amount of bone or breaking the tooth into pieces. Once the wisdom teeth are completely removed, the sockets are cleaned, and the gums are stitched closed. Because the wisdom teeth are not essential in your jaw, they do not need to be replaced.
When the wisdom teeth are causing complications, the best course of action is usually an extraction. Removing problematic wisdom teeth alleviates your discomfort and restores your oral health. If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, call Hunter Dental Care today at (503) 622-9730.