Wisdom teeth are the very last adult teeth to grow in. These notoriously problematic molars emerge in the rear of the mouth and can make people who are otherwise fine with dental care, feel anxious. One of the most common questions many patients have is if they will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. People tend to worry about his even if they aren’t having any symptoms!
AH Smiles in Arlington Heights, IL provides high-quality dental care and patient education. Let us tell you more about your wisdom teeth and whether you might need them extracted.
Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth usually emerge between the ages of 17-25. The fact that they come later in life is why they’re referred to as “wisdom” teeth. The thinking is that this age is when young people start leaving home in search of wisdom.
Wisdom teeth are clinically known as “third molars” because they are very similar to the first two sets of molars that erupt in childhood and adolescence. You might have experienced some discomfort in middle school when your second set of molars was positioning itself. The emergence of your third molars is the same, but this time there’s much less room for them to move around.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Dentists look for specific indicators that signal a possible need for removing wisdom teeth.
- Pericoronitis: When wisdom teeth begin erupting (coming out) of the gums, a flap of gum tissue can develop, which may end up catching food particles and oral bacteria, leading to infection. This infection — pericoronitis –irritates the surrounding gums and can be difficult to clean.
- They become impacted: Many people see “impacted” and think “infection,” but this isn’t always the case. When the emergence of wisdom teeth is blocked by the existing teeth, they may be unable to erupt. This is what is referred to as impacted. Although some patients may feel discomfort or even pain when this happens, many others don’t even realize they have impacted wisdom teeth until a dentist finds it using an X-ray.
- The dentist suspects a risk of future problems: If your dentist determines there is a risk of future problems by leaving the wisdom teeth in, they may recommend extracting them. Wisdom tooth extraction is easier on younger patients as they recover more quickly. This is why even if you haven’t experienced problems yet, your dentist may suggest removal to prevent a more difficult procedure in the future.
Conservative Wisdom Teeth Treatment
Remember that not everyone with wisdom teeth will need them removed so you don’t need to worry about them unless you experience discomfort. Often they will erupt with no problems, or they can be managed without surgery. It’s important to have regular dental check-ups, especially as a teen and young adult, so that your dentist can examine your emerging wisdom teeth to head off any problems.
Patients in the Arlington Heights, IL area who want to learn more about wisdom teeth removal or any other dental procedure can schedule an appointment with AH Smiles online or call us at (847) 230-9703.