Industry Insider: Test Your Wisdom
What are wisdom teeth and why am I getting them now?
Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in the mouth. They are called “wisdom teeth” because they usually appear during a person’s late teens or early twenties, which has been called the “age of wisdom”. The normal position of wisdom teeth is behind the upper and lower second, or 12-year molars. Many times the jaws of modern humans are not normally large enough to accommodate these extra wisdom teeth. This is why wisdom teeth oftentimes cause more problems than any other teeth. In fact, nine out of ten people have at least one wisdom tooth remain under the gum tissue due to lack of space in the mouth.
What does “impacted” mean?
When a wisdom tooth is blocked from erupting or properly coming into the mouth, it is termed “impacted”. A wisdom tooth may be partially impacted or totally impacted.
What is the best way to identify an impacted wisdom tooth?
The best way to identify an impacted third molar or wisdom tooth is by a panoramic x-ray and an examination by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Can an impacted wisdom tooth cause me trouble?
Pain, infection, crowding and damage to adjacent teeth are some of the serious problems that can develop from impacted wisdom teeth.
How are wisdom teeth treated?
Treatment of impacted wisdom teeth often involves their removal using special surgical techniques appropriate for each individual case. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons best treat wisdom teeth.
When should I have my wisdom teeth removed?
Proper evaluation of your wisdom teeth is best performed in your late teens to early twenties with timely panoramic radiographs of the mouth. With this specialized x-ray, the oral and maxillofacial surgeon can often predict if the wisdom teeth are going to cause trouble, either in the near future or later in life. If so, chances are the oral and maxillofacial surgeon will recommend their removal rather than wait for trouble to occur.
Removal is easier in younger patients because the roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older patients, removal before complications develop is key to a shorter recovery and healing time, minimizing discomfort after surgery.