Wisdom teeth are the third molars which erupt at the very back of the mouth, usually in a person’s late teens or early 20s. Most people, though, do not have room in their mouth for the development of these “extra” teeth. At La Jolla Dental Image, we perform skilled, careful wisdom teeth extractions to prevent pain, infection, and misalignment problems.
Wisdom Teeth Complications
Most people will opt to have their wisdom teeth extracted on their dentist’s recommendation long before these teeth have the chance to erupt. If the third molars do begin to break through the gum, they could do so incorrectly because there isn’t enough room in the mouth, resulting in impacted wisdom teeth that erupt at an angle. This partial eruption can lead to severe pain and potentially damage your oral health as a whole causing:
- Bite misalignment
- Tooth damage
- Jaw damage
An impacted wisdom tooth does not always break through the gums. If it does break through, this is diagnosed as a partially impacted wisdom tooth. Whether the wisdom teeth stay hidden or erupt out of the gums, symptoms can include swelling, jaw pain, sensitivity, stiffness, and infection.
The goal is always to tend to wisdom teeth before they become impacted or cause discomfort. Seeing your La Jolla dentist regularly every six months for teeth cleanings and check-ups is the best way to stay in touch with this development. If any irritation or aching occurs in between dental visits, it is critical that you reach out to your dentist to discuss the symptoms and determine if immediate action needs to be taken.
The Wisdom Teeth Extraction Process
The extraction of wisdom teeth is done under anesthesia, though the type of anesthesia will depend on the complexity of the case and a patient’s level of dental anxiety.
To remove the teeth, the oral surgeon will make an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone and remove the bone that blocks access to the tooth root. Once the tooth is removed, in pieces if necessary, the site will be cleaned of debris and stitches will be placed to close the wound and promote healing. Gauze will be used to control any bleeding and help a blood clot to form.
Anyone undergoing wisdom tooth extraction surgery will need to be accompanied by someone and driven home from their appointment. Your dentist will provide instructions about recovery and healing, and how to address bleeding, pain management, swelling, bruising, eating and drinking, cleaning your mouth, and when normal activity can be resumed.
The Evolution of Wisdom Teeth
Why do we develop wisdom teeth if they don’t fit in our mouths comfortably and just need be pulled out anyway? It’s an evolutionary matter. Our ancestors needed those additional molars in their larger jaws to help them eat raw meat and chewy plants and more evenly distribute the work of chewing among all the teeth to avoid excessive wear. We have moved past this kind of diet and need.
Wisdom teeth are the only teeth that are extracted from the mouth that do not need to be replaced. We simply do not need them in our mouths. Any other extracted tooth, however, can result in serious oral health complications if the tooth is not replaced with a dental implant or other dental restoration.
Get Wisdom Teeth Extractions in La Jolla
Wisdom teeth are notorious for erupting and causing other teeth to shift out of place, but Dr. Wali Hamidy is a skilled oral surgeon and has years of experience performing wisdom teeth extractions. After reviewing symptoms, conducting an exam, and taking digital x-rays if necessary, Dr. Hamidy will make a diagnosis and discuss all viable options for addressing the problem.
If you are concerned about wisdom tooth development in your mouth or your teen’s mouth, or suspect an impacted wisdom tooth, contact La Jolla Dental Image to schedule a consultation.