Your third molars, more commonly known as the “wisdom teeth,” are the last permanent teeth to erupt and the most likely to become impacted. These teeth are the largest in the mouth, and for our human ancestors, they were essential in processing a rough diet and for replacing teeth lost to injury or disease.
With the advances in oral hygiene and a softer diet, the wisdom teeth have become mostly irrelevant for modern humans. Furthermore, the human jaw is not as wide as it was in our ancestors, and there is rarely enough room for the wisdom teeth to emerge through the jaw. This is why wisdom teeth so often become impacted.
Impacted wisdom teeth can create a host of problems for a patient. It is very difficult to keep the rearmost portion of the mouth clean, so partially erupted wisdom teeth can collect bacteria quite readily. Those bacteria can increase the likelihood that the patient will develop decay or gum disease in the area.
The wisdom teeth are also more likely to develop problems like cysts or tumors when they become impacted. Additionally, the wisdom teeth will continue to attempt to erupt—albeit unsuccessfully—and in doing so, they may cause discomfort and affect other teeth in the area.
To reduce their risk of such negative outcomes, many patients prefer to remove their wisdom teeth proactively, even before they develop any symptoms.
The wisdom teeth are removed in a surgical procedure because the process may entail removal of some bone in order to access the teeth. Our oral surgeons will examine your teeth and take X-rays for a better view of the impacted teeth in order to plan the surgery.
Our oral surgeons typically removes wisdom teeth in an outpatient procedure in our office, and patients are ready to return home a short time later. Many patients choose some type of sedation or anesthesia for this procedure, and those who do need to make arrangements to have a responsible adult escort them home after the appointment.
Younger patients tend to recover more quickly from wisdom teeth extraction, and the risk of complications is lower for those patients. Although patients of any age may be candidates for wisdom tooth extraction, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons recommends wisdom tooth extraction before the age of 25.
If you are considering oral surgery to have your wisdom teeth removed as a preventive measure, discuss the process, benefits, and risks involved with our Doctors. Our DFW Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery team offers wisdom teeth removal in Irving, Mesquite, and Ennis, Texas, in order to protect our patients’ future oral health.