San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, CA
Most people, 85%, have their wisdom teeth extracted at some point. In fact, if you are an adult you probably had the procedure done years ago. But, here are some things you need to know about wisdom teeth.
What are wisdom teeth?
There are typically four of these third molars, and they develop or emerge in the very far back corners of your mouth, right behind your last tooth where the little bump of gum tissue is located. For some patients, their wisdom teeth are impacted, which means the teeth grow sideways, and remain under the gum line. The problem with this scenario is that the wisdom teeth can cause a great deal of pain, and will exert pressure against your other teeth, causing crowding or crooked teeth.
Other times, wisdom teeth only partially emerge, because there simply is not enough room in the mouth for them to fully erupt. This can pose a problem since they remain partially covered by gum tissue. Keeping these hidden teeth clean can be difficult, and often results in severe tooth decay, and eventual extraction.
They aren’t smart
Did you know wisdom teeth aren’t named wisdom teeth because they make you smart? It is because they typically emerge by the time a person is in their mid-20’s or during those college years. So, the idea behind the name wisdom teeth is because a person is generally considered “older” and “wiser” by the time they reach that age. Not to say that everyone is of their wisest by their mid-20’s!
They aren’t always extracted
You may have heard the saying that three is a crowd, but that isn’t always the case with wisdom teeth. As long as there is adequate space in the mouth to allow these third molars to erupt, and you are able to keep them clean, wisdom teeth do not need to be extracted. But, for some people, erupting wisdom teeth may cause crowding, or infection if not kept clean. The dentist will determine if your wisdom teeth need to be extracted.
18 isn’t the standard nowadays
The American Association of Maxillofacial Surgeons has taken a new stance on the timing of wisdom teeth extractions. So, there isn’t such a rush to have them extracted before age 18. The dentist will discuss the pros and cons of removing wisdom teeth between the age of 18-24. However, if your teen experiences pain or discomfort in the back of their mouth (in the location of where wisdom teeth erupt) or gum sensitivity in this area, consider a consultation with the dentist. There may be a need for removing the wisdom teeth before an infection begins or they cause crowding of the other teeth.
If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, consider a consultation with the dentists at Glen Park Dental. We can determine if wisdom teeth removal is necessary for you or your teen. Tooth extraction is one of the most common surgical procedures in the U.S., and at Glen Park Dental, we make an effort to ensure you are comfortable throughout the entire tooth removal procedure. We also offer sedation dentistry that is even safe for teens. Sedation dentistry can calm anxiety for those patients who are apprehensive about their upcoming extraction procedure.
Glen Park Dental provides comprehensive, compassionate, quality oral health care for patients in the areas of San Francisco, Marin, and Oakland, California.
Contact our office at (415) 585-1500 to schedule an appointment.