Wisdom Teeth Removal
Walla Walla, WA
The wisdom teeth are the third molars, and they are the last teeth in the mouth that will erupt. The first molars tend to erupt at around six years of age, while the second molars will erupt at around age 12. The wisdom teeth typically erupt at around the age of 18, but for many people, the teeth become impacted and don't actually move out through the gums at all.
The main problem with the wisdom teeth is that most people simply don't have enough room in the back of their mouths for them to fit. When they try to push through the gums, they could cause infection and pain, and they may also cause the rest of your teeth to shift in position. In severe cases, the wisdom teeth could even damage the nearby teeth or result in permanent nerve damage.
Deciding to Remove the Wisdom Teeth
Not everyone will need to have their wisdom teeth removed. In fact, some people have the teeth erupt and align properly, and when the gum tissue is healthy, they can stay in the mouth with no problem. Unfortunately, this is a rare occurrence, and extraction will be needed when the teeth become impacted, meaning they aren't able to properly erupt through the gums. In other cases, they might grow in sideways or only partially penetrate the gums. When teeth are impacted, they can be oriented sideways, at odd angles, or even backwards.
If your wisdom teeth have erupted partially, you can experience some significant problems. A pocket can develop in which food and bacteria are caught, and this can cause infection and severe pain. Symptoms of a problem include pain, stiffness, fever, nausea, vomiting and swelling.
When your wisdom teeth erupt, this pressure can cause the other teeth to move. This can disrupt the natural alignment of the teeth, and if you've had orthodontic work in the past, this movement can reverse any progress that you enjoyed.
Severe problems can arise when the wisdom teeth develop tumors or cysts around them. These conditions are critical and can be extremely destructive, and some patients will need bone grafting or jaw surgery. Fortunately, many of the complications associated with wisdom teeth impaction can be prevented as long as the teeth are removed early.
Examining the Wisdom Teeth
Dr. Laizure will meet with you in order to examine and evaluate the state of your wisdom teeth, and can provide recommendations on whether or not your wisdom teeth might become a problem in the future. To do this, we'll need to take a panoramic radiograph and will review the results of your oral evaluation. Research has shown that early intervention will allow for fewer complications following surgery, so we often start evaluating patients during the mid-teen years to see how the wisdom teeth are progressing.
When your wisdom teeth are removed, you will typically be sedated so that you can be as comfortable as possible throughout the procedure. As always, we will use your consultation to discuss the procedure and any surgical risks so that you know exactly what to expect when you have your wisdom teeth removed.
If you are experiencing problems with wisdom teeth, please contact our office to set up your consultation. Dr. Laizure will thoroughly explain the surgery so you can fully explore your options for successful removal of your wisdom teeth.