Understanding Wisdom Tooth Extraction

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teen reading overland park ksWisdom teeth, also known as third molars, typically emerge in the late teens or early twenties. While some people’s third molars come in without issue, others may experience complications that necessitate extraction. Understanding when and why wisdom teeth may need to be removed is essential for maintaining oral health and preventing potential problems down the road. In today’s blog, your qualified prosthodontist in Prairie Village and Overland Park, KS will explore when and why these teeth may need to be extracted.

Emergence of Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt, usually between the ages of 17 and 25. While some individuals have sufficient space in their jaws to accommodate these additional teeth, many do not. The development of third molars can vary widely from person to person, with some experiencing no issues, while others face challenges that require intervention.

Crowding and Misalignment

One common reason for wisdom tooth extraction is overcrowding. In many cases, the jaw does not have enough room to accommodate the additional teeth, leading to overcrowding and misalignment. As third molars attempt to emerge, they may grow in at odd angles or become impacted, pushing against neighboring teeth. This can cause pain, discomfort, and increased risk of dental issues such as tooth decay and gum disease.

Impaction and Infection

Impaction occurs when a wisdom tooth becomes trapped beneath the gumline or only partially erupts. This can create a pocket where bacteria and food particles accumulate, increasing the risk of infection and inflammation. Impacted teeth can lead to swelling, pain, and difficulty opening the mouth fully. In severe cases, they may contribute to the development of cysts or tumors, requiring surgical intervention to remove.

Damage to Surrounding Teeth

Wisdom teeth that emerge at an angle or exert pressure on adjacent teeth can cause damage to the surrounding dental structures. This may include tooth decay, gum recession, and even bone loss in the jaw. Additionally, the pressure exerted by impacted teeth can shift the alignment of neighboring teeth, undoing the effects of orthodontic treatment.

Preventing Issues

In some cases, a dental professional may recommend the proactive removal of these teeth before they cause problems. This preventive approach is often recommended for individuals with a history of dental issues or limited jaw space. By removing these teeth before they fully develop, patients can avoid potential complications and preserve their oral health in the long term.

Have Your Third Molars Entered the Smile?

Whether due to overcrowding, impaction, or potential damage to surrounding structures, removing problematic third molars can alleviate pain and reduce the risk of future dental issues. By staying proactive and seeking timely intervention when needed, individuals can maintain healthy smiles for years to come. If you or someone in your family have wisdom teeth that need attention, call your Overland Park and Prairie Village, KS prosthodontist, Dr. Stuart Dexter, DDS at (913)362-8200.