If you’re an adult who still has their wisdom teeth, you may be wondering if you need to get them removed. Here, we’ll explain what wisdom teeth are, why they may need to be removed, when they should be pulled, and what you should expect during the procedure.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of your mouth. You may notice a little bit of discomfort when they erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. If they come in correctly, they can assist you in chewing, as they did our ancestors. However, often our mouths do not have enough room for them, they grow in misaligned, or they become painfully and dangerously impacted.
Why Do They Need to Be Removed?
There are a number of reasons why your third molars might need to be removed:
- Wisdom teeth need to be removed when their alignment increases your risk of decay and causes issues for your oral health. For example, misaligned teeth are difficult to properly brush and floss, can damage or crowd neighboring teeth, and can create hard-to-reach areas where food particles and bacteria become trapped.
- They are also occasionally impacted, which means they cannot properly break through your gums. Third molars that are trapped under your gums or still enclosed within the jawbone can lead to the development of a cyst that could damage the roots and supporting bone of surrounding teeth.
- If your wisdom teeth are partially impacted, this means they haven’t fully erupted but have become stuck, creating a vulnerable place for bacteria to enter the gums and infect them.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Pulled?
Here at Arizona Biltmore Dentistry, we will periodically take a panoramic dental X-ray to keep an eye out for growth of your third molars. Once we see them developing, we’ll evaluate whether or not they should be extracted before they erupt. But in general, your wisdom teeth should be pulled if you have any of the following complications associated with your third molars:
- You are experiencing any feelings of pain
- You have an infection, cysts, gum disease, tooth decay, or tumors
- There is damage to the surrounding teeth and/or roots
- Your dental X-ray indicates there will potentially be damage if they continue to grow
What Should I Expect During the Removal Process?
The nature of your wisdom teeth removal process will depend upon their positioning and level of eruption. Either you will be sedated or the teeth and the tissue around them will simply be numbed with local anesthetic in the same way you would be numbed when you’re having a cavity filled. For example, if the wisdom tooth has fully erupted, it will be like a regular tooth extraction. However, if your wisdom teeth are impacted and embedded in the jaw, this is a more extensive procedure and you may feel more comfortable utilizing our sedation dentistry options. But no matter what treatment you need, we’ll explain the entire process so you feel calm and ready to have your wisdom teeth taken out.
Schedule Your Appointment!
Our Phoenix dental practice performs gentle tooth extractions, including wisdom teeth removal. So if you think you need your wisdom teeth taken out, contact us today for more information about this procedure.