Seattle dental patients is it time to have your wisdom teeth removed? As summer arrives, wisdom teeth are always in the back of the minds of parents and high school kids alike. It can be a rite of passage for teenagers, similar to braces.
Most common questions:
- When should I have my wisdom teeth extracted?
- Will it hurt?
- Will I be asleep?
- Do I have to have my wisdom teeth extracted?
These are very important and pertinent questions to ask your dentist.
As humans have evolved and human diets have changed over time, our need for wisdom teeth has become vestigial. Many adolescents and adults do not have space for their wisdom teeth. As a result wisdom teeth can be impacted by gums or bone or wisdom teeth can erupt ectopically. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can cause damage to adjacent teeth. If wisdom teeth partially erupt, bacteria can cause an infection which results in swelling, pain, and cheek biting trauma. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult. Many patients with erupted wisdom teeth will also notice their teeth shifting and crowding.
When should you have your wisdom teeth extracted? Your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older people, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.
Another important question, will it hurt? Extraction is easier in young people when the roots are less developed. The degree of impaction will also dictate the ease of extraction. In general, the easier it is to extract the tooth, the easier the healing will be.
In general, most patients elect to be asleep for wisdom teeth extraction. It is not necessary, but a choice to be discussed with Drs. LeCuyer, Amato or Guerrero or the local oral surgeon we refer you to.
In most cases, we do not have adequate space for our wisdom teeth. If that is the case, it is best to extract your wisdom teeth to prevent future problems or correct current problems. If the jaw has adequate space, wisdom teeth may not be necessary to remove. This is an excellent question to discuss with Drs. LeCuyer, Amato or Guerrero at your next dental visit.