The average adult has thirty-two teeth by age eighteen: sixteen teeth on the top and sixteen teeth on the bottom. Each tooth in the mouth has a specific name and function. The teeth in the front of the mouth (incisors, canine and bicuspid teeth) are ideal for grasping and biting food into smaller pieces while the back teeth, or molar teeth, are used to grind food up into a consistency suitable for swallowing.
The average mouth is made to hold only 28 teeth. It can be painful when 32 teeth try to fit in a mouth that holds only 28 teeth. These four other teeth are your Third Molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.” Studies show that approximately 85% of wisdom teeth will eventually need to be removed.
Why Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly, and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting by overlying tissue, bone or adjacent teeth within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and will eventually cause an infection. The result: swelling, stiffness, pain and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
Should My Teeth Be Removed if I Have No Symptoms?
Many problems that occur with your wisdom teeth show no symptoms at all. Damage may occur to the area without you being aware of it. As one ages, the teeth become more firmly anchored in the jaw. The roots lengthen and the bone becomes more dense, therefore teeth with less developed roots are generally easier to remove. This will allow you to heal faster and decrease the risk of complications. Research has found that older patients may be more susceptible to infection and/or disease in the soft tissue around the wisdom teeth as well as around the adjacent teeth.
With an oral examination and x-rays of the teeth and jaws, Dr. Delgado & Dr. Kuzmik can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and determine if there may be existing or future problems. The ease with which the wisdom teeth can be removed depends on the tooth position and root development. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
All outpatient surgery is performed under appropriate anesthesia to maximize patient comfort. Dr. Delgado & Dr. Kuzmik have the training, license and experience to provide various types of anesthesia. These services are provided in an environment of optimum safety, utilizing modern monitoring equipment and staff experienced in anesthesia techniques.