The third and final set of molars that form in our mouths are usually referred to as “wisdom teeth” because of their tendency to come in when we’re much older. Depending on the person, wisdom teeth might erupt sometime during the teen years, or continue forming well into their late 20’s.
Not everyone needs to have a wisdom tooth extraction; in fact, some people are “lucky” enough that they’re missing one or more of their third molars. The only way to find out for certain whether they need to be removed is to have them evaluated by one of our Newmarket dentists and determine if they’re interfering with the overall health of your mouth.
Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Extraction
During your examination, we’ll take an X-ray to evaluate the areas around your wisdom teeth and jaws. If we notice any of the following situations, you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed.
1. Partially Erupted Tooth — When a tooth isn’t completely erupted but a portion is visible above the gums, we consider it to be partially erupted. Such areas tend to collect food debris and plaque quite easily but are extremely challenging to clean.
2. Impacted Wisdom Tooth — A fully impacted wisdom tooth can damage the tissues, bone, and nerves around it (especially if a large eruption cyst is present.) More often than not, impacted third molars tend to cause a significant amount of pressure and discomfort throughout the jaws and face.
3. A Cyst Around It — As teeth develop, they form a small cyst around them which aids in eruption. Sometimes these cysts can expand into the jaw and cause significant bone damage.
4. Damage to Adjacent Teeth — The pressure of a wisdom tooth can cause physical damage to its neighbor. If your third molar is leaning or completely sidewise, it could actually dissolve the tooth structure or roots in the tooth next to it.
5. Active Decay or Gum Disease — Because of their location in your mouth, third molars are quite difficult to keep clean. They tend to develop active gum infections and cavities, even in people who typically have good oral hygiene. Since both of these diseases can affect the health of the teeth next to them, it’s typically best to proactively remove wisdom teeth rather than try to treat and keep re-treating the infection.
6. Pressure on Your Overall Mouth — If you’ve ever worn braces, pay attention when your wisdom teeth start coming in. Since they place pressure on the teeth next to them, it’s possible for tooth movement to occur. It’s not uncommon to see crowded or crooked teeth at the front of your mouth due to wisdom teeth not having enough room. This dilemma can cause orthodontic relapse.
7. Pain, Swelling, or Discomfort — Perhaps the most common reason teens get their wisdom teeth removed is because of the pain they’re experiencing. Typically, the discomfort comes and goes on a day to day basis.
What to Expect During Oral Surgery
Wisdom tooth removal in Newmarket can vary from case to case. Generally speaking, most of our surgical extractions are performed in house with local anesthetic and nitrous oxide (laughing gas) sedation to help you relax.
Recovery After Wisdom Teeth Removal
As with any routine dental procedure, it’s important that you follow your home care instructions as directed. Stick to soft foods for several days and avoid any strenuous exercise. If we prescribe a medication, be sure to take it as it’s prescribed.
It can help to have a cold and warm compress to alternate against the side of your face every 20 minutes for the first several hours. Doing so reduces inflammation, which is a leading source of discomfort.
If for any reason you begin to experience an increase in discomfort a couple of days after the surgery, let us know immediately.
Your Wisdom Teeth Consultation
Dr. Jonathan Martinez performs most of our wisdom tooth extractions, as he has extensive training in this area of dentistry. If you have questions about whether you need a surgical tooth removal, you will likely meet with Dr. Jonathan during your consultation and exam.
Together, we will review your X-ray and any oral symptoms to determine if wisdom teeth removal is in the best interest of your smile’s overall health. If it is, we will discuss the next steps. If for any reason the procedure is one that’s quite complex, we may refer you to a specialist for a second opinion.
Call Oasispark Dental in Newmarket today to reserve you or your teen’s wisdom tooth exam.