WISDOM TEETH REMOVAL
Your third molars, more commonly known as your wisdom teeth, are the last four of your teeth to erupt. They usually erupt somewhere in your late teens and early 20s, which is how the name “wisdom teeth” came about. For some people, the wisdom teeth emerge just like any other tooth. For many, however, the wisdom teeth cause a significant amount of discomfort and many oral health issues. At National Dental Sunnyside, we can alleviate the pain caused by your wisdom teeth, and restore the health of your mouth with wisdom teeth removal.
WHAT PURPOSE DO THE WISDOM TEETH HAVE?
The wisdom teeth serve no real function, at least not today. In the past, however, they were quite important. Our ancestors lived a very different life than we do now. Their diet consisted mainly of very coarse foods. The third molars were crucial in helping them to break down the foods they ate. To accommodate these teeth, the human jaw was also larger. Eventually, cooking was invented, and foods no longer required so much work to eat. Over time, the human jaw grew smaller, but the third molars remain, considered by anthropologists to be vestigial organs.
CAUSES OF WISDOM TOOTH PAIN
Some people never experience any issues with their wisdom teeth. However, there are many who do, and these issues cause a significant amount of pain. The most common issue faced by the wisdom teeth is that they become impacted. This means that they cannot emerge properly through the gum tissue. They might not have enough room, or they may be blocked. Whatever the reason, impacted wisdom teeth can cause several problems:
- Cysts. These fluid-filled sacs simply form as a result of an impacted tooth. If they go untreated, they will grow, and destroy the bone mass that is in their path.
- Pericoronitis. Sometimes, a wisdom tooth will partially emerge through the gum tissue. When this happens, the area becomes difficult to keep clean. Food particles get stuck and oral bacteria build up. A localized infection (pericoronitis) forms as a result.
- Overcrowding. The human jaw is smaller than it was many, many years ago, but the teeth are still the same size. There simply may not be enough room for the wisdom teeth to emerge properly. As they attempt to erupt, they put pressure on your existing teeth, forcing them from their natural positions, causing overcrowding.
- Damage to adjacent teeth. Wisdom teeth that are growing at an angle can run into your adjacent teeth, cracking the enamel and increasing your risk of developing an infection inside the tooth.
DIAGNOSING IMPACTED WISDOM TEETH
Impacted wisdom teeth need to be treated, but first, they must be diagnosed. This is done with a thorough oral exam. First, we take a look at the inside of your mouth. We check your teeth for signs of overcrowding. We will also check the back of your mouth for signs of partially erupted teeth and infections. After a visual inspection, we will then move on to taking digital X-rays. With these X-rays, we will be able to see under your gum line and take note of where your wisdom teeth are, how they are growing and if there are any cysts that have formed. If we diagnose impacted wisdom teeth, your images will be used to design a customized treatment plan.
REMOVING YOUR WISDOM TEETH
Teeth are typically extracted in one of two ways. A simple extraction is very straightforward and usually only requires a local anesthetic. The affected tooth is gripped and moved back and forth in the socket, widening the ligaments that hold your tooth in place. Once wide enough, the tooth is lifted out. Wisdom teeth, however, tend to require a surgical extraction. This can be done under a local anesthetic, or sedation may be used as well (depending upon your needs). We make incisions in your gums, exposing the tooth and bone. We then get to work removing the tooth. In some cases, some bone may need to be removed. The tooth may need to be broken and removed in segments as well. Once finished, we clean the area and stitch your gums closed.
If your wisdom teeth are causing you significant pain, they may be impacted and may need to be removed. Call National Dental Sunnyside at (718) 925-3365 to schedule your appointment today.