Each tooth has a specific name and specific function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (the incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) grasp and bite food. The back teeth, or molar teeth, grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing. The average person has 32 teeth by age 18 – 16 on top, 16 on the bottom.
But did you know that the average mouth is only made to hold only 28 teeth? Therefore, it’s no surprise that it can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that best holds only 28. The four additional teeth are your third molars, better known as your wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth extraction is an event that most of us can deeply relate to, having experienced the procedure ourselves. While most of us get our wisdom teeth removed, the procedure is still mysterious and clothed in thoughts of fear and anxiety. Wisdom teeth are removed for preventative measures, and there are a number of other reasons why a tooth may need to be removed, such as damage by decay or fracture that is beyond repair, incorrect growth, or the need to make room for orthodontic appliances. As always, we like to educate our patients to reduce as much anxiety as possible, so let’s take a look at 5 of the most important facts about wisdom teeth extraction.
1. Wisdom teeth extraction is very common.
Third molars, also known as ‘wisdom teeth’ are extracted ten million times each year. These molars are the last to grow in and typically surface around ages 17-25 years old.
2. Wisdom teeth can be problematic.
While wisdom teeth aren’t always bad, they can become problematic, causing infections, cysts, or damage to nearby gums. These problems typically occur when the teeth become impacted. However, even before that happens, decay can emerge as a serious problem because the teeth are so hard to reach and properly clean.
3. It can be a good idea to remove wisdom teeth early.
Many dentists agree that it’s best to remove wisdom teeth before they are fully formed. A window for this usually occurs during the teenage years and twenties. Recovery time is quicker and risks for complications are lower during this time.
4. Problems can be asymptomatic.
Problems with your wisdom teeth can occur even if you don’t feel pain. This further emphasizes the importance of consistently visiting a dentist for regular cleanings and examinations.
5. Recovery can be easy.
Recovery from wisdom teeth extraction doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, taking pain medications, eating a proper diet centered around soft foods, and avoiding physical activity, smoking, or sucking on straws are all practical ways to ensure that the recovery process is as easy as possible.
At 6th Avenue Periodontics and Implant Dentistry, we utilize state-of-the-art equipment known as an i-CAT to scan and evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and detect present or future problems.
If you have any lingering questions about wisdom teeth extractions, or if you would like to schedule a dental exam, please contact our team or make an appointment. Our incredible staff will give you the best dental care possible.