Your wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last four teeth to come in, usually emerging in your late teens to early twenties. While for some people, the wisdom teeth are no big deal, for many others these teeth cause several problems, and the solution is extraction.
At Downtown Dental Care, Dr. Christianson has been practicing for over 10 years, and is highly skilled at performing these extractions, which can greatly help to protect the health of your mouth.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?
While some people have their wisdom teeth come in without anything other than some minor discomfort that is gone once the teeth have erupted through the gums, many others have a completely different experience. When your wisdom teeth don' come in properly, you might be faced with a number of different issues that warrant extraction:
Gum infections. When your wisdom teeth only partly emerge, you are at an increased risk of developing pericornitis, or a localized gum infection. This happens because there isn't enough room for the tooth to come all the way through, which leads to irritated gum tissues around it. Food can also get stuck here, providing fuel for bacteria, which then infect the red, swollen tissue. You'll most likely experience continual pain and swelling.
Cysts. Cysts are fluid-filled sacs. They often develop as a result of tooth impaction. If you don't have the issue addressed, the sac continues to grow, destroying any bone mass in its way. It can even harm adjacent teeth.
Crowding. If there isn't enough space for your wisdom teeth to grow, you might start to experience crowding. Crowding can also occur if your wisdom teeth are impacted, and growing toward the adjacent teeth. As the wisdom teeth push on your other teeth, it can cause them to shift, throwing off your smile and your bite. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, they can also cause damage to adjacent teeth. This type of damage leaves the affected teeth, and surrounding gums, susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. You may even experience bone loss in your jaw.
If you suspect that you have issues with your wisdom teeth, an official diagnosis will be needed before treatment can be considered. Dr. Christianson will do a complete oral exam in order to make the call. This exam includes X-rays, which can show the condition of your wisdom teeth, your adjacent teeth and the condition of your jawbone.
Having your wisdom teeth removed around the time you notice the pain is important, rather than waiting several years. If the teeth are left to grow, the roots become longer, and the bone denser. These factors can make surgery more involved and your healing time longer. It is important, then, to have the extractions done when you first notice the issues.
On the day of your procedure, you will receive an anesthetic. You can choose to be completely sedated, or you may opt for a milder form. The type you choose will depend upon your personal preferences, as some suffer so much anxiety, they don't want to be conscious during the procedure.
After the anesthetic is administered, Dr. Christianson will begin the procedure. This entails wiggling the tooth loose and prying it out. If your tooth is still buried under the gums, or there are complications, a more invasive procedure involving cutting the gums and some bone, becomes necessary. Some healing time is required after removal, but the benefits of the procedure far outweigh the minor discomfort you may feel for a few days following.
If you are experiencing chronic pain or infections in the back portions of your jaws, and suspect the culprit is your wisdom teeth, give us a call today at (503) 420-7600 to schedule your consultation!