If you’re in your late teens or early 20s, you may hear your friends talking about getting their wisdom teeth out. It is common for people in that age group to do so. And even though it might sound scary, in most cases, it is generally a relatively easy procedure of tooth removal that can save you from having more major problems later in life.
What are your Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth is the name given to the very last set of molars in the back of your mouth, sometimes called third molars. As you age from childhood to adulthood, your teeth appear in stages. First, the incisors, then the canines, the premolars and molars, and finally, the wisdom teeth. They start growing around the age of 7 and generally appear between the ages of about 17 and 25. For many people, wisdom teeth do not cause any problems. For others, these teeth need to be removed.
Why Should My Wisdom Teeth Come Out?
Sometimes wisdom teeth do not fully erupt and remain covered by the gum tissue. This is what is known as impacted wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth can also cause pain, infections, gum disease and tooth decay. Since they are so far back in the mouth, they are more difficult to care for.
Another problem is tooth crowding. Often there is no room for the wisdom teeth to come in, and when they do, they push other teeth out of alignment. Orthodontists often recommend removal of wisdom teeth because of this.
When is the Best Age to Get My Wisdom Teeth Out?
Dentists often prefer to remove wisdom teeth when their patient is in their late teens or 20s, before the teeth’s roots have time to firmly implant into the jawbone. Removing them later in life can be done, but comes with more risks to the jaw nerve called the inferior alveolar nerve. Patients who are younger can also recover more quickly.
How We Determine the Need to Remove Wisdom Teeth
To decide that wisdom teeth need to be removed, we look at our patient’s overall medical health, how badly the tooth might be impacted, and the tooth’s root development stage. We see how the wisdom teeth are situated and how they are affecting the other teeth. Left alone, they could cause pain and bite problems down the line.
We discuss the procedure and the various anesthesia options that include local, intravenous and general. Depending on the severity of the procedure, we might recommend one over another. Following surgery, you may need to take a pain medication for a day or two, and should follow care instructions that we’ll provide.
Wisdom Teeth Removal at Advanced Family Dentistry
Dr. Sonny Kim at Advanced Family Dentistry is a dedicated oral surgeon as well as a family dentist, and is experienced at diagnosing and removing impacted wisdom teeth. Contact us if you’d like to talk to us about getting your wisdom teeth out.
For complete oral health care, make Advanced Family Dentistry your family dentist. We’re located in Reston, Virginia to serve families throughout the metropolitan area.
Dr. Sonny Kim is a Diplomat of the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI), the highest education level for general dentists in this field.