Wisdom Teeth in Twin Falls, ID
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are present at birth but are the last teeth to erupt. Most people have four: two on the top, and two on the bottom. Dental x-rays can reveal the existence of third molars before they become visible. Approximately 15% of patients are surprised to learn that due to genetic factors, they are missing one or more of their wisdom teeth.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth usually appear between the ages of 17 and 25. In rare cases, the teeth erupt properly and function normally. Most of the time, though, these third molars have the potential to cause a host of oral health problems. Their removal can:
- Prevent or alleviate inflammation and pain caused by impaction. An impacted tooth is unable to erupt fully because it is partially blocked by gum tissue, bone, or other teeth.
- Avoid overcrowding. In this situation, the jaw does not have enough space to accommodate an additional set of molars.
- Prevent damage to adjacent teeth. A wisdom tooth coming in at the wrong angle puts pressure on the surrounding teeth, cause them to shift or erode.
- Ensure better oral health. The third molars are difficult to clean and therefore prone to decay.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
Even if you aren’t experiencing problems, Dr. Wright recommends the surgical removal of wisdom teeth as a preventative measure. The surgery can be performed at any age, but the procedure is less complicated for adolescents and young adults. The more established these teeth become, the more difficult they are to remove. Older patients also face a longer recovery time and greater risk of infection.
What Can I Expect During and After Surgery?
Surgically extracting wisdom teeth takes about an hour and is performed under IV sedation. Dr. Wright makes an incision in the gums above the molar and carefully removes any tissue or bone covering the tooth. The root is then detached from the jaw and the tooth is removed. The incision is stitched shut to prevent infection and encourage healing.
Dr. Wright and his staff will provide you with instructions on how to ease any discomfort you might experience following the surgery. Stick to a diet of soft foods for a few days and drink plenty of fluids. Do not smoke or drink through a straw as suction may loosen the blood clots that form as part of the healing process.
Wisdom teeth probably benefitted our ancestors by providing tough surfaces on which to grind coarse foods like nuts and roots. However, for modern humans, wisdom teeth are like the appendix: unnecessary and prone to infection. The timely removal of third molars offers proven health benefits to dental patients. If you still have your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment with the dental office of Dr. Mark W. Wright. He can perform an exam and take x-rays to determine if you’re a good a good candidate for extraction.