Third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last four teeth to grow in an adult patient’s mouth, erupting behind the second molars between the ages of 17 and 25. With the addition of wisdom teeth, people typically grow 32 adult (or permanent) teeth; unfortunately, many patients can only accommodate 28 teeth on their dental ridges, leaving little room for wisdom teeth to fit. As they push against existing teeth in an effort to muscle their way into your smile, wisdom teeth can often generate severe discomfort, prompting patients to have their molars removed as soon as possible. In some cases, patients may seek wisdom teeth removal before they begin to hurt to avoid complications in the future. Your Park Ridge oral surgeons are specially trained to address impacted wisdom teeth, and can advise you whether or not wisdom tooth extraction is preferable in your case.
Why Wisdom Teeth Hurt
When a third molar hits an obstruction while trying to erupt, such as a tooth that’s already present and occupying some of the space, the obstacle won’t stop the wisdom tooth from growing. Though impacted wisdom teeth don’t fully erupt from the gums, the molars can push existing teeth out of place, damaging them and increasing their risk of infection. Some wisdom teeth may develop an abscess (fluid-filled pocket of infection) around the base or root, which can hollow out the surrounding the jawbone and damage nerves as well as neighboring teeth.
To Remove, or Not To Remove?
According to the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), approximately nine out of ten adults have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Patients who grow their third molars without any issues, however, often opt to have them removed anyway to avoid the potential for future problems. Some studies suggest that even if wisdom teeth don’t disturb nearby teeth, the area where third molars grow is difficult to clean, and they may be more prone to dental infection than their neighbors. If you’ve developed all four wisdom teeth, and none of them are impacted, then speak with Dr. Loukas to decide if extracting them is a good idea.
About Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas:
Whether you wish to protect your smile from dental disease and damage, or restore your smile after suffering tooth loss, we can help you regain your oral health and confidence through a new and improved smile. Dr. Maria and Dr. Thanasi Loukas are highly-skilled restorative and cosmetic dentists serving the Park Ridge and surrounding Chicago communities. To schedule an appointment, call Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.