Wisdom tooth removal seems to be a universal experience, and it seems that almost everyone has a story about their wisdom tooth extraction. However, not everyone has had this experience, and occasionally you will meet someone who still has their wisdom teeth. If you have never had your wisdom teeth removed or if your teen is getting old enough to consider extraction, you may gave questions about this safe and common procedure. In this post, your Park Ridge oral surgeon explains the circumstances in which wisdom tooth extraction may be your best option.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 and 25, supposedly the age at which people leave childhood behind and enter into the “Age of Wisdom.” Though they may seem useless, this third set of molars is actually a product of evolution. Though they are not vital for modern man, they were indispensible to our ancient ancestors, especially Neanderthals, who had much bigger, stronger jaws. As man evolved and began to eat a more refined diet, their jaws became smaller. The wisdom teeth, however, remained. Nevertheless, thanks to evolution, about 35% of the population never even develops wisdom teeth.
Is Extraction Necessary?
For the rest of us, the question remains: Is wisdom tooth removal the best option? In the past, extraction was considered a standard aspect of dental care, but in recent years, dentists and oral surgeons have become more conservative about recommending this procedure. One of most common reasons for extraction is an impacted wisdom tooth. When there is not enough room for a tooth to come in normally, it may erupt in a crooked or even horizontal position. In some cases, it may never even grow above the gum tissue, remaining trapped between the gum line and the jaw bone. An impacted wisdom tooth can be quite painful and poses a risk of infection, cysts, and damage to surrounding teeth, bones, and nerves. Other factors that may necessitate wisdom teeth removal include:
- Your tooth has not begun to erupt, but there is not enough space, making impaction a probability.
- Your wisdom tooth is causing dental crowding.
- You suffer from gum disease.
- The ligament surrounding your second molar is compromised because of your wisdom tooth.
The best way to determine whether extraction is necessary is with a thorough examination from your oral surgeon. If it appears that your wisdom teeth are not posing any problems, your dentist may recommend careful monitoring to watch for problems in the future and to maintain your dental health.
About Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas
Drs. Maria and Thanasi Loukas are experienced dentists and oral surgeons serving Park Ridge and the greater Chicago area. They will provide you with a thorough examination and will give honest and conservative recommendations about wisdom tooth extraction. To find out whether extraction is necessary for you or your teen, contact Loukas General Dentistry today at (847) 696-1919.