Wisdom Teeth, To Be or Not to Be?

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Wisdom Teeth, To Be or Not to Be?

  • Client: Pediatric Dentistry Goodyear, Avondale, Surprise, PVPD
  • Date: Friday, 16 August 2013
  • Info: Palm Valley Pediatric Dentistry - Avondale, Goodyear, Surprise
  • URL: http://PVPD.com/

"Wisdom teeth", a rather curious name for teeth if you think about it, is the folklore name for third molar teeth, which usually make their appearance later in life. 

So-called because a moderate amount of wisdom is supposedly achieved at about the same time these teeth typically make their appearance, between the ages of 17 and 25. Interestingly, current research shows that the brain is not fully mature until age 25, so there may actually be some truth to the myth.

Most adults have four wisdom teeth/ although, it is possible to have more (supernumerary teeth) or fewer to none at all (hypodontia). However, there is little wisdom to the problems that seem to be associated with them more often than not. Wisdom teeth commonly affect other teeth as they develop by becoming impacted, coming in sideways, or in fact it seems - every which way, but up!

The natural history of wisdom teeth. While it is not possible to predict the way your wisdom teeth will erupt (become visible) or come into proper position and useful biting function, in all cases adequate space seems to be necessary to allow for successful eruption. Simply put, there has to be enough room for them in the mouth. Assessment of this space can be determined using a variety of radiographic (x-ray) and other imaging techniques. However, the fact they can erupt does not guarantee they will, and if they do surface, that they will arrive healthy, particularly with respect to the surrounding gum tissue.

Consequences of impacted wisdom teeth. The most common consequences of impacted wisdom teeth are periodontal problems and are the most request consideration for their removal. Their presence can adversely affect the periodontal tissues of the adjacent second molars by disrupting the periodontal tissue attachment - the mechanism that anchors the teeth in their surrounding bone - leading to their loss by predisposing them to bacterial, plaque-induced , periodontal disease.

It is especially important to have routine dental exams between the ages of 17-25, when third molars are typically coming in, because impacted wisdom teeth may cause no pain.

Consideration for removal of wisdom teeth. If wisdom teeth need to be removed, it is better to remove them early when you are young rather than waiting until periodontal disease has started. However, regardless of age, removing impacted third molars can potentially have a negative impact on the periodontal tissue of your adjacent second molars.

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 a specially trained dentist in an office surgery suite. 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.