Wisdom teeth are frequently removed in young adulthood due to their high likelihood of being problematic. On average, more than 80% of the population have their wisdom teeth removed. At Crown Hill Smiles, we are happy to assess the growth and development of your wisdom teeth and provide a prediction of the teeth’s future status based on several factors. If the patient determines that they do in fact want the teeth removed, Drs. Walker and O'Connor can refer the patient to an oral surgeon who would be best for the job.
The extraction of the third molars, also known as wisdom teeth, is a common dental procedure, in fact, it is one that the majority of the population will be unable to avoid. Decades of research and study have shown that wisdom teeth are frequently problematic. The most common reason is due to people just not having large enough jaws to allow the third molar to erupt fully. Teeth that cannot fully extend are known as being impacted or malpositioned. When teeth are impacted, they leave room for bacteria to slip between the tooth and gum, making them much more susceptible to infection. Partially erupted teeth predispose the patient for cavities and periodontal, or gum disease, problems.
In addition to wisdom teeth often not having the necessary room to move into position, wisdom teeth frequently do not get the adequate amount of brushing necessary to remove plaque. Due to their positioning, most people are unable to brush the wisdom teeth sufficiently, often leaving plaque in place to create decay. With decay then leading to a cavity, dentists frequently find that they are unable to reach caries to remove the decay and restore the tooth. In the end, removal of the wisdom tooth is best.
In most situations, the removal of the wisdom teeth is done by an oral surgeon, particularly when sedation is needed. Our staff at Crown Hill Smiles can provide you with the resources you need to find the right oral surgeon for your case. Following an evaluation, and the determination to remove your wisdom teeth, the surgical procedure is done in one visit. In most cases, the surgeon will remove all four wisdom teeth at once. They prefer to remove wisdom teeth in patients who are at least 17 years of age, and before their 25th birthday. This age range is often best because that is when the patient has grown enough of the tooth to have a structure to grab hold of, but the roots are still short enough to make a clean pull. Patients over the age of 25 can have additional issues with the root growing a hook shape, often around a nerve, making the removal and healing process much more painful.
Wisdom teeth extraction is often a surgical procedure, meaning the surgeon has to make cuts into the soft tissue to gain access to the tooth. Following removal, the area is sutured closed, and the patient is provided with pain medication for the next few days. Pain and tolerance can range greatly, but most patients find that they need two to three days before resuming normal activities.
Drs. Walker and O'Connor can evaluate your wisdom teeth and provide information on the best course of action. To schedule an appointment for an evaluation and possible referral to an oral surgeon, contact our front office at Crown Hill Smiles. (206) 204-9623