Your wisdom teeth also referred to as the third molars, are the very last teeth to erupt. Where most of your adult teeth erupt by around the age of 13, the wisdom teeth come in later, often erupting in your late teens to early 20s. These teeth are also the most likely to cause complications due to being impacted. At Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center, we can help to restore your oral health with wisdom teeth extractions.
Looking Back at the Wisdom Teeth
The wisdom teeth were once very important. Thousands of years ago, before the invention of cooking, they used to be crucial for chewing the coarse foods that made up the human diet. The jaws were also much larger, meaning that there was sufficient space for them to grow in. With cooking, foods were made softer and easier to chew. As a result, the wisdom teeth became obsolete. Even though the human jaw began to grow smaller over time, the wisdom teeth continue to develop.
Causes of Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Your wisdom teeth can become impacted for some reasons, including:
- Insufficient space in the jaw.
- Growths in the bone or soft tissue that prevents proper eruption.
- The wisdom teeth are angled.
What Happens if the Wisdom Teeth are Impacted?
While some adults develop their wisdom teeth without complications, many experiences impacted wisdom teeth. When your wisdom teeth are impacted, you may be faced with several issues, including:
- Overcrowding. If you do not have enough space in your jaw, the erupting wisdom teeth can push your adjacent teeth out of alignment. These teeth push against other teeth, pushing all of your teeth out of alignment. Not only does this affect your smile, but it can also affect your oral health.
- Damage to adjacent teeth. If the teeth are growing in at an angle, they can grow into adjacent teeth, causing serious damage.
- Infections. Partially erupted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria that can cause a localized infection.
- Cysts. A cyst is a fluid-filled sac that often forms as a result of an infection. It can also form as a result of impacted teeth. It continues to grow larger the longer it goes untreated and can damage the jawbone in the process. Too much damage can lead to the need for a bone graft.
Extracting Impacted Wisdom Teeth
The best way to deal with impacted wisdom teeth, restoring the health and functions of your mouth, is to extract them. Typically, wisdom teeth are removed with a surgical extraction. This type of extraction is done under a local anesthetic. Sedation may also be provided. Surgery begins with incisions at the back of the jaw to expose the wisdom teeth, their roots, and the bone surrounding them. We then work to remove the teeth. This may mean removing small amounts of bone blocking them or cutting the teeth into pieces and removing them in smaller sections. Once the teeth have been extracted, the sockets are cleaned, and the gums are sutured closed. Following the extraction of wisdom teeth, there is no need for a tooth replacement.
Removing impacted wisdom teeth can significantly help to improve your oral health and your overall quality of life. Unlike other teeth, the wisdom teeth do not need to be replaced following extraction. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Susquehanna Oral and Facial Surgery and Dental Implant Center today at (570) 323-1900.