Learning about Wisdom Teeth Removal from Dr. Dan Chu in Houston, TX.
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt, and since the mouth is only designed to hold 32 adult teeth comfortably, these additional teeth attempting to erupt through the gums can create a great deal of pain.
Wisdom teeth can also become impacted below the gum line, meaning they are attempting to break through but don’t have enough space to erupt properly or completely. When this occurs they can even cause damage to surrounding teeth and require urgent removal and repair to any damage or cracks they have caused in neighboring teeth.
When Does Wisdom Tooth Removal Occur?
When wisdom teeth come through properly and the individual has enough space in their mouth to accommodate them fully, they do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.
Many times due to crowding of the teeth and jaw, wisdom teeth come in crooked or are unable to break through the surface of the gums at all, leading to a painful impaction. Additionally, impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth can create infections by allowing a buildup of bacteria to occur around the openings in the gum line.
Wisdom teeth generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 20, and it is rare for someone over the age of 30 to have wisdom teeth break through. Wisdom teeth removal is commonly performed in early adulthood, after the age of 17, and is frequently performed when the patient is in his or her 20s.
Symptoms of Problems with Wisdom Teeth
Impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth can cause a variety of symptoms that you may not be aware of the true cause of. These can include mild to moderate tooth and jaw aches that come and go, swollen gums around the area where the 3rd molars erupt from, a bad taste in the mouth, swollen cheeks and throat, as well as many others. A prompt evaluation by a dentist can determine if wisdom tooth eruption is at the root of your symptoms and he or she can formulate a treatment plan for their removal if needed.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
As we touched on briefly before, the removal of wisdom teeth is often necessary due to the fact that they don’t break through the gums properly. If they remain only partially erupted, they can cause damage to surrounding teeth as well as painful infections. The most serious complication can be the formation of cysts or small tumors surrounding the impacted wisdom teeth. This can cause destruction to the jawbone that requires surgical correction. The longer the problem goes untreated, the greater the likelihood of more severe complications. Therefore, it is ideal to get wisdom tooth issues taken care of right away by a qualified dentist or oral surgeon.
Why is Wisdom Teeth Removal Considered Surgery?
Wisdom teeth removal is considered a surgical procedure and is many times completed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. There are some cases where wisdom teeth come through without any complications and can be removed in a simple office visit, but more often than not, they require surgical intervention.
This procedure is considered a surgery for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s common for general anesthesia to be performed, which means that the patient is put to sleep entirely for the procedure. Secondly, a series of incisions are performed in the gum line to remove the deeply impacted teeth, and these require closure with sutures or stitches. After care instructions will be provided for you and you will be taught how to keep your incisions clean as your surgical site heals up in the weeks following your surgery.
How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The first step in the process of removing your wisdom teeth is a full and complete evaluation, usually including xrays. This will allow your dentist to fully assess the depth of your wisdom teeth and what type of incisions will need to be made to remove them.
At the time of extraction, your gums will be numbed completely if you are going to be awake during the procedure. Some surgical facilities use general anesthesia, in which case you will be asleep for the procedure.
Extraction can be a simple, straightforward pulling of the teeth if they are straight and are fully erupted through the gum line. Since this is not usually the case due to crowding issues within the mouth, anywhere from one to several incisions will be made around each tooth to allow for the tooth to be removed completely. These incisions are then stitched closed with sutures and you will be observed for a time period after the procedure to watch for any signs of bleeding and to determine how you feel after the anesthesia.
If you are in need of wisdom tooth removal, please contact the office of Dr. Dan Chu in Houston today to schedule an appointment for a thorough evaluation and recommended treatment plan. 713-942-8225.
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