No one looks forward to having their wisdom teeth taken out. However, these teeth need to be pulled and time is of the essence. In most cases, the sooner the wisdom teeth can be extracted, the better off the patient will be. A proactive approach is important for a pain-free removal of these teeth and continued oral health progression. The American Dental Association1 is in favor of removing wisdom teeth if the patient experience pain, damage to nearby teeth, tooth decay, gum disease, tumors, cysts or an infection. Here’s a look at why early removal is optimal.
Why Early Removal?
No two dentists can agree on the perfect time to remove wisdom teeth. When in doubt, rely on the judgment of your dentist or oral surgeon. In the end, the decision to have these teeth removed early will ultimately be a judgment call. Even the most experienced oral surgeons and dentists find it challenging to predict a patient’s oral health path across the ensuing months, years and decades. The bottom line is each unique patient’s tooth development is highly idiosyncratic. The timing of wisdom tooth removal is ultimately determined by each patient’s unique oral health situation.
Deciding When the Time is Right
In general, dentists agree the best time to remove the third molars is when tooth roots are one-third developed. This means the patient will likely be between the ages of 16 and 21. The bones are comparably soft when the patient is young. The body is able to heal that much faster at a young age. Some dentists encourage all patients in this age range to have their wisdom teeth extracted2 as the typical patient lacks adequate space in his or her dental arch for the wisdom teeth to completely erupt and chew through food as designed.
The Risks of Leaving the Wisdom Teeth in Place
The teeth require ample space to erupt or there is a heightened risk for inflammation along the gums or a greater chance for the development of cavities. These elevated risks are the result of the increased difficulty in brushing when the teeth fail to fully erupt. Industry experts have also determined wisdom teeth that have not erupted are likely to endure problems ranging from tumors to cysts, infections and inexplicable pain. Though there is certainly some risk o removing the third molars, the benefits are far greater. Once the wisdom teeth are eliminated, the patient won’t have to worry about a potentially painful removal of these teeth at some point down the road after the roots have completely developed.
Those who delay the removal of their wisdom teeth also face a heightened risk for sinus issues. Wisdom teeth can prove obstructive and ultimately create sinus problems that cause considerable pain and seemingly never-ending congestion. The delay of wisdom tooth removal even boosts the chances of tooth overcrowding. Impacted wisdom teeth can lead to the crowding of teeth that ultimately forces the patient to use braces for upwards of several years. If you have consistent halitosis, jaw pain, swelling around your jaw, bloody/swollen gums or issues with opening your mouth, you might have an impacted wisdom tooth. Meet with your dentist as soon as possible if you notice any of these symptoms.
There is no Reason to Fear Wisdom Tooth Extraction
The third molars along the back of your mouth, positioned in the lower and upper corners are your wisdom teeth. These teeth typically appear in the late teen years or as late as the early twenties. There is no reason to keep these teeth in the mouth. About 85% of wisdom teeth require removal at some point down the line. As noted above, these teeth are removed to prevent tooth crowding, impaction within the jaw and a number of other dental issues.
Discuss the wisdom tooth removal process with your dentist and you won’t feel nearly as nervous about this procedure. The removal of wisdom teeth usually requires intravenous sedation or the use of a local anesthetic. The dentist’s goal is to minimize disturbance to the bone, administer sedation to just the right level and keep you as comfortable as possible.
Life Following the Extraction of Wisdom Teeth
Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, you will be sent home to rest. The dentist will provide you with all the information you need for after-care. Follow these instructions to minimize your pain and reduce swelling. Though there is the possibility of a complication, most patients merely experience slight discomfort for a day or so and life ultimately returns to normal. However, if you notice any odd symptoms including but not limited to jaw weakness, the inability to feel pain in the mouth, dry socket, an infection or a damaged sinus cavity, reach out to our office for prompt assistance.
Don’t Play the Waiting Game with Your Wisdom Teeth
If you have not had your wisdom teeth removed, you are likely tempted to wait until you are older and have more free time, more disposable income and are no longer as intimidated by dental treatment. However, waiting to have your wisdom teeth removed is a major mistake. As noted above, 85% of wisdom teeth eventually require removal. There is a very slim chance you are in the 15% of people who do not require wisdom tooth extraction. In fact, some dentists advise the preventative extraction of wisdom teeth from the mouths of healthy patients without oral health issues of any sort.
Even if your wisdom teeth are not currently causing any problems, there is a good chance they will create drama and possibly considerable pain down the line. Extraction becomes that much more challenging as time progresses and the bones harden. It is best to have your wisdom teeth extracted as a young or middle-aged adult when the bones in the mouth are comparably soft. Furthermore, less healing and recovery time is necessary for younger patients. The last thing you need is a fractured tooth, heavy bleeding or the loss of jaw movement resulting from an attempt at wisdom tooth extraction in old age. Get this procedure out of the way now and you will enjoy an invaluable peace of mind as you age.
Schedule an Appointment at Freedom Dental
Our dental health experts are here to extract your wisdom teeth at the perfect time. Meet with us for a checkup, examination, treatment, and guidance for continued oral health. You can reach Freedom Dental by phone at (707) 422-2236. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment3.