Wisdom teeth are usually the last four teeth to surface in the mouth, usually making their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25.
They are located at the back of the mouth, top and bottom, near the entrance to the throat. The term “wisdom” comes from the idea that the molars start to show at a time usually associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”.
In most cases, inadequate space in the mouth does not allow the wisdom teeth to surface properly and become fully functional. When this happens, the tooth can become stuck, or impacted in a painful or potentially harmful position. If left untreated, impacted wisdom teeth can contribute to infection, damage to other teeth, and possibly cysts or tumors.
There are several degrees, or types of impaction based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw:
Soft Tissue Impaction: The upper portion of the tooth, or the crown has penetrated through the bone, but the gum is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown and has not positioned properly around the tooth. Since it is difficult to keep the area clean, food can become trapped below the gum and cause an infection and/or tooth decay, resulting in pain and swelling.
Partial Bony Impaction: The tooth has partially penetrated the skin, but a portion of the crown remains submerged below the gum and surrounding jawbone. Because it is difficult to keep the area clean, infection will commonly occur.
Complete Bony Impaction: The tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This will require more complex molar removal techniques.
Reasons to remove wisdom teeth
All wisdom teeth do not require removal, and wisdom teeth extractions are most often performed because of an active problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection, or as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems in the future. If impaction of one or more wisdom teeth is causing a problem and left untreated, a number of potentially harmful outcomes can occur, including:
Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars ,which are the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth, can be adversely affected by impacted wisdom teeth resulting in tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and possible bone loss.
Disease: Cysts and tumors can occur in the areas surrounding impacted wisdom teeth.
Infection: Bacteria and food can become trapped under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and other problems.
Wisdom teeth exam
Dr. Kinsey will want to initially conduct a thorough examination of the wisdom and surrounding teeth. Panoramic or digital x-rays will be taken in order for her to evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if a current problem exists, or the likelihood of any potential future problems. The x-rays can also expose other risk factors, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment is recommended in order to identify potential problems and to improve the results for patients requiring wisdom teeth extractions. Only after a thorough examination can Dr. Kinsey provide you with the best options for your particular case.
What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve?
Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure, generally performed under local anesthesia, intravenous (IV) sedation, or general anesthesia by Dr. Kinsey. The surgery does not require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication if necessary, to help manage any swelling or discomfort.
Please call us today at 904-826-4343 and we can answer your questions about wisdom teeth extractions.
If you are looking for a dentist in St. Augustine you have found us! We are located in Palencia, just minutes from World Golf Village, Nocatee, and Jacksonville.