Wisdom Teeth Removal
San Jose, CA
Our last set of teeth to erupt are the third row of molars, more often referred to as wisdom teeth. In general, we value the importance of retaining all of your natural teeth whenever possible. Unfortunately, your wisdom teeth often cause more havoc than good. Depending on their placement, their development, and their health, we will most often recommend the extraction of your wisdom teeth. We invite you to talk with our team at Nancy Shiba, DDS about your wisdom teeth and our recommendation specific to you.
Third Row of Molars
Our molars are a wide, flat tooth designed to break down foods through chewing. Our body is designed with three sets of molars. Three sets worked well when humans had larger jaws, but with time, the jaw has reduced in size and no longer accommodates these late growing teeth. The results of insufficient room can vary. Wisdom teeth can turn sideways below the gum line, they can push neighboring teeth out of alignment to make room, or they can come in impacted. Any of these issues can be quite problematic.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth a Problem?
The two main reasons wisdom teeth are often a problem is insufficient space and difficulty in cleaning them appropriately. Both of these reasons can lead to much larger oral health issues, so we often recommend extraction before it happens.
Wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt. They often make their first appearance in later adolescence, around the age of 17. Overall, most people find that they do not have the jaw space to properly accommodate these late teeth. This is due to evolutionary changes in our jaw structure. With insufficient room available, and the teeth trying to make the room that nature tells them, problems arise, including:
|Turn Direction: The wisdom teeth may lose their positioning before they even erupt, and turn or angle themselves incorrectly below the gum line making it impossible for them to erupt.
|Push Neighboring Teeth: The wisdom teeth may push and move neighboring teeth out of alignment causing problems to your bite. They may even cause significant jaw alignment issues and further oral health problems for you.
|Impacted: The wisdom teeth may begin to erupt, and seem to be coming up just fine, but then stop progress due to insufficient room. This is known as being impacted. The tooth is partially out of the gum tissue, but not fully. An impacted tooth can be a breeding ground for gum disease and infection. Bacteria can find its way easily between the tooth and gums but can not be brushed, flossed or otherwise removed easily.
Difficult to Clean
Even if your wisdom teeth had the necessary room to fully erupt, not be impacted, and in correct positioning, they can still be a problem. The distant positioning of your wisdom teeth makes them more difficult to clean and floss appropriately. Wisdom teeth are at higher risk of developing gum disease, caries, cavities, and infection. Many people find them much more difficult to brush sufficiently and hard to floss. Infection in your mouth can cause problems for the tooth infected, but the infection can also spread to neighboring teeth as well. Infected gum tissue, or gum disease, leads to the loss of gum tissue and bone. This can have dire effects on your oral health.
Does Everyone Need to Have Their Wisdom Teeth Removed?
In general, most dental professionals recommend the removal of wisdom teeth. Increasingly, patients are questioning the need, they are seeking a more holistic approach. We agree, surgery should never be taken lightly. The removal of wisdom teeth is recommended not only due to current problems, but as a preventive measure for future problems based on what we can see. At Nancy Shiba, DDS, we take each patient in consideration when making recommendations. We will look at your teeth and jaw both visually and using digital radiology, when considering both current and predictive issues. We are also happy to monitor the situation until needed. Having your wisdom teeth removed in young adulthood does carry some oral health benefits.
Why Have My Wisdom Teeth Removed in Early Adulthood?
We recommend having your wisdom teeth removed at a very specific time in your tooth development. We are looking for enough tooth material to be able to grab a hold of, but not so far into development that the roots have grown long. Finding this balance is usually between the ages of 17-25. We also want to remove the tooth before damage from insufficient room to neighboring teeth can be done.
Waiting until you are older can bear some added complications. Patients who push off having their wisdom teeth removed until they are older are at added risk of:
|Painful Removal: Any tooth extraction is going to be somewhat painful. Standard wisdom teeth removal is uncomfortable. Letting the roots grow longer and forming a hook shape around the bone is very uncomfortable. Patients often feel discomfort for a longer period of time.
|Longer Healing Time: In addition to pain, waiting until the roots have extended, often causing us to do some bone repair as well, means a longer period of healing. Bone material does heal, but it can take months.
|Adjust Alignment: Besides the removal process being more difficult, letting your wisdom teeth remain in place gives them more time to push other teeth out of the way. This adjustment to your alignment will not be in your favor.
Wisdom teeth removal is often performed by an oral surgeon. A surgical extraction is performed when cuts need to be made. Due to the positioning of the tooth, it is often required to remove it surgically. The process begins by taking measures to ensure your comfort. There will be multiple conscious sedation options available. The tooth is then quartered, or broken into multiple pieces and removed. Cuts to the gum tissue are often needed to remove the pieces entirely. The tissue is then sutured closed and the patient is sent home for healing.
Ask Us About Wisdom Teeth Removal
We want our patients to feel informed and comfortable in their oral health treatment. We invite you to ask questions and feel knowledgeable about the work we do and why. For more information, contact our San Jose office at (669) 306-7669.