Wisdom Teeth Extraction
Wisdom teeth are the most commonly extracted teeth due to their poor positioning and often impacted growth. At Colin M. McKinney, DMD, we are happy to review and discuss your third row of molars, or wisdom teeth, and what we feel your best options are. We never take the extraction of teeth lightly, and understand that keeping otherwise healthy teeth is always the preferred option. Let our team examine your wisdom teeth and help you make this possibly important decision.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Often Pulled?
For most, wisdom teeth extraction is the best option in their oral health. This is due to a variety of reasons including:
|Lack of Room: For most patients, there is a lack of sufficient room for the wisdom teeth to come into position correctly. This is due to a decrease in size of the human jaw over evolutionary time. The late arrival of your wisdom teeth means that all of the other adult teeth have already come into position and generally do not leave enough space. Insufficient space can lead to multiple problems including pushing neighboring teeth out of alignment, causing pressure or pain to other teeth, and the wisdom teeth being impacted or unable to fully ascend or descend.
|Bad Angle: The lack of room for wisdom teeth often causes them to change their angle while below the gumline. Wisdom teeth can often be turned or twisted by pressure from the neighboring teeth that their angle no longer makes them able to come into position.
|Impacted: An impacted tooth is a tooth that is unable to fully move into correct positioning. This can be assessed by multiple degrees, some teeth are fully unable to move, some partially, and some are mostly out but not fully. An impacted tooth can leave open pockets below the gum tissue for bacteria to settle and attack the tissue.
|Susceptible to Disease: Disease causing bacteria can be found in food debris and plaque in our mouths. The goal is to remove it daily through brushing and flossing. The distant positioning of our wisdom teeth makes it difficult to effectively clean, and nearly impossible if the tooth is impacted. We often recommend the removal of even well positioned wisdom teeth because of their increased likelihood of developing infection.
|Preferred Time Frame: There is a preferred time frame to have your wisdom teeth removed. We like to recommend their removal when there is enough tooth present to grab, but before the roots of the tooth have extended and formed a hook shape. This is generally in young adulthood.
Wisdom Teeth Removal
Depending on the number of wisdom teeth being removed, and the work involved, we may refer you to an oral surgeon to complete the work. Wisdom teeth removal is often a surgical procedure, meaning cuts are made.
We begin with ensuring the comfort of the patient. Wisdom teeth extraction can be an uncomfortable procedure, but we have options to help. The tooth is then quartered, or broken into small pieces, and then removed in pieces. A simple extraction is the removal of a tooth intact, but this is generally not an option for wisdom teeth. Once removed, we then suture the tissue closed and the patient is sent home for healing. We will provide you with care instructions at that time.