Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last of the large chewing teeth toward the rear of the mouth to emerge during a person’s oral development. For most people, the teeth appear either on an X-Ray or by erupting through the gums between the ages of 17 and 25. Occasionally, wisdom teeth erupt normally with no complications. However, the arrival of wisdom teeth usually causes some problems. 

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure; nearly 85% of people who develop them will need them extracted, and it’s just one of the many comprehensive dental care services offered at Dental Depot of Oklahoma. We understand that wisdom tooth extraction can be intimidating no matter what age you are; that’s why our staff is professional and compassionate. Your oral health and personal comfort are always our top priority at Dental Depot. Our dentists will work with you to determine the best course of action regarding your wisdom teeth to ensure you receive the highest quality care for your needs.

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Why are some wisdom teeth extracted?

Some wisdom teeth emerge just as the other molars did, perfectly normal and with little to no consequence to the other teeth in the mouth. However, wisdom teeth often have difficulty erupting due to limited space in an already almost fully-developed mouth, resulting in impacted or partially emerged wisdom teeth. 

Here are some common reasons why wisdom teeth are extracted.

Problems with impacted wisdom teeth. An impacted tooth is trapped beneath the gum line and has not broken through the gum’s surface. Occasionally, an impacted wisdom tooth is left alone because it’s not causing any problems. In many cases, an impacted wisdom tooth will put pressure on the second molar because it’s trying to emerge at an undesirable angle. This may cause pain or misalignment of the already existing teeth. Lastly, an impacted wisdom tooth can cause serious complications, including pericoronitis (a painful gum condition) or oral cysts that can become infected. 

Problems with partially emerged wisdom teeth. When a small portion of the tooth has broken through the gums, but the rest remains trapped, this creates a passageway that attracts bacteria, often resulting in gum disease or infection. Both of these conditions can be not only painful but potentially dangerous, with long-term and expensive effects. Moreover, because there is very little room for the tooth to erupt, it probably comes in at a crooked angle and places pressure on adjacent teeth.

Problems with fully erupted wisdom teeth. If the wisdom teeth have erupted, they are often very difficult to clean. Even patients who practice the best oral hygiene often have difficulty cleaning and flossing around wisdom teeth due to their challenging locations. Leaving bacteria on the teeth for an extended period because it isn’t being cleaned properly regularly will result in decay and possibly a painful infection. 

Considerations for orthodontic work. Wisdom teeth in any state of emergence are known to cause misalignment issues because of the angle at which they sit. If you and your orthodontist are considering braces for alignment or simply maintaining completed treatment, extraction may be the best choice. Your dentist may also recommend removal to maintain the existing molars’ functional bite pattern and keep your smile beautiful and confident. 

Like all dental care and procedures, the right answer to wisdom teeth is specific to each patient. Wisdom teeth concerns are unique, and the solutions are just as diverse. You and your dentist must discuss your options before deciding to extract. If your dentist does recommend extraction, it’s best not to wait. Not only are younger patients less likely to experience complications during the healing process, but leaving wisdom tooth complications untreated increases the chances that alignment problems will escalate and vulnerable areas may become infected. 

How are wisdom teeth extracted?

Extraction procedures are generally quick and simple. You can expect the following during your scheduled wisdom tooth extraction:

1. Numbing. To start the procedure, you will be numbed and sedated. An anesthetic will be used to numb the areas of extraction. You may be sedated with laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or general anesthesia to make the treatment as comfortable and effective as possible.

2. Removal. Depending on the state of the wisdom tooth, the oral surgeon or dentist may make an incision in the gum line allowing the tooth to be exposed. Next, using specialized tools, the tooth is gently removed from the socket.

3. Cleaning. The site is then thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection.

4. Closure. Finally, the open wound is sutured closed to promote healing with either dissolvable sutures or stitches that must be removed later. A gauze is placed over the extraction site to help form a blood clot and control bleeding. 

Swelling, discomfort, and bruising are very normal side effects after extraction. You’ll likely be sent home with medication to help you manage your pain as you recover. There can be other side effects following an extraction, including dry socket or infection. Your dentist will discuss ways these issues can be avoided. If, at any point, you feel the healing process is not progressing, or your pain level is not reducing, be sure to reach out to your dental team to be seen right away.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction in Oklahoma at Dental Depot

Dental Depot is committed to educating and empowering our patients to make the best oral health decisions for them and their families. Our team strives to keep you informed and included in everything from when you receive your care to payment solutions that fit your budget. You’ll find resources about all our services–like wisdom teeth extraction–on our website, and you’re always welcome to call or schedule an appointment with one of our friendly staff members to discuss questions and concerns. 

At Dental Depot, we want all Oklahomans to access the affordable and convenient care they deserve, including necessary procedures like wisdom teeth extraction. With multiple locations from Norman to Tulsa, a Dental Depot office is nearby to help ensure you and your family enjoy healthy, confident, and beautiful smiles for life.

Wisdom Teeth Extraction FAQs

What is the wisdom teeth extraction treatment like?

Whether your dentist or a specialist is removing your wisdom tooth the procedure is the same:

First, a local anesthetic is given to make the procedure more comfortable. In some cases, your doctor may elect to administer nitrous oxide gas in addition to the anesthetic or use a general anesthetic to put you under entirely. 

Once the area is numb, the extraction begins. A dental instrument called an elevator is used to wiggle the tooth in its socket. 

After the tooth is loosened it is removed using forceps or in some more complicated cases, a surgical handpiece is also used to assist with the removal of the tooth.

When Should I Remove My Wisdom Teeth?

There is no single right answer for everyone; however, if your dentist has advised you that your wisdom teeth look potentially problematic it’s generally best to remove them sooner rather than later. This advice is based on the fact that the younger you are, the faster you heal. The likeliness of lingering numbness, jaw fracture or other complications also increases with age. Lastly, the longer you leave a troublesome wisdom tooth in your mouth, the longer it has to cause further problems in the future.

Request an appointment to get advice on wisdom teeth removal!

What does it mean if my wisdom teeth are impacted?

When your wisdom teeth get stuck under the gumline and don’t erupt, or don’t have enough room to break through the gum, they can become impacted or partially impacted. This can result in misalignment of the jaw and other teeth and can cause swelling, pain and even infection of the surrounding gum. If your wisdom teeth are impacted it can also put pressure on the adjacent teeth, which can result in permanent damage to these otherwise healthy teeth and their surrounding bone. 

If your wisdom teeth are impacted, you will likely need to have them removed.

Does everyone need wisdom teeth removed?

No, not everyone needs their wisdom teeth removed, especially if they are not causing any pain or problems with other teeth. If healthy and functional, your wisdom teeth can be useful. In other cases, some people never even develop wisdom teeth at all. Your dentist can discuss your wisdom teeth situation and identify any potential concerns during your bi-annual dental check-up. 

What happens if I don’t have my wisdom teeth removed?

If there is no immediate need to have your wisdom teeth removed, such as pain or misalignment of adjacent teeth, then it may be perfectly fine to leave them in. However, should your dentist recommend removing your wisdom teeth, he or she will explain why they should be removed and explain to you the potential risks of not having them extracted. 

Impacted wisdom teeth that are not removed can produce cysts under the gumline, which can potentially lead to tumors that can destroy entire sections of your jaw. The location of these teeth also makes them hard to clean, making them and adjacent teeth susceptible to tooth decay. This risk can be exacerbated if the wisdom teeth come in crooked, crowd other teeth, or push other teeth out of alignment, all of which can then impact your bite, your jaw, and your oral health in the future. 

Am I too old to have my wisdom teeth removed?

There is no age limit on having your wisdom teeth removed. However, if your dentist is recommending that you remove your wisdom teeth, the sooner you address this concern, the better. Extracting problematic wisdom teeth when the procedure is first recommended minimizes the risk of future problems. And, getting them removed when you are younger improves your chances of a faster, more complete healing process.

How do I know if I need my wisdom teeth removed?

Some common signs and symptoms that you may need your wisdom teeth removed include: 

  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw swelling
  • Headaches
  • Red or swollen gums 
  • Tender or bleeding gums 
  • Bad breath 
  • Difficulty opening your mouth

Your dentist can identify if you need your wisdom teeth removed during your bi-annual dental check-up. She or he will take x-rays of your mouth to see how the teeth are developing and if they might need to be removed. Should you have concerns, or if you are experiencing pain in your jaw, call Dental Depot Oklahoma to request an appointment with one of our general dentists and discuss your options for wisdom teeth removal.  

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