The wisdom teeth are our third set of molars, and are a natural part of the body. However, they grow in much later than the rest of the adult teeth. Most people have their adult teeth by the age of 12 or 13, but wisdom teeth usually grow in between the ages of 17-25.
Most people don’t have enough space in their mouths to accommodate this third set of molars properly. This is especially true if you’ve had orthodontic treatment. Because of this, the wisdom teeth often grow into the mouth improperly, and do not fully erupt, becoming “impacted.” Or, they may grow crookedly or sideways, and cause damage to the surrounding molars and jaw structure.
If your wisdom teeth are not erupting properly, or your child has wisdom teeth that are causing them pain and discomfort, it may be a good idea to have them extracted to prevent these complications.
No. Some patients have plenty of space in their mouths for their wisdom teeth, and can keep them without any issues. The best way to find out if you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted is to schedule an appointment at Green Leaf Dental, and have your mouth examined by Dr. Bean or Dr. Lena.
The most common sign that your wisdom teeth may not be growing into your mouth properly is pain, discomfort, and soreness in the rear of your mouth. You may also notice issues like swollen, tender, and bleeding gums.
In some cases, you may even have jaw stiffness that’s so severe that you have trouble opening your mouth all the way. You may also experience pain and difficulty eating. If you're noticing any of these issues, schedule an appointment at Green Leaf Dental to get the help you need in Seward Park, Rainier Valley, Columbia City, and Beacon Hill.
If your wisdom teeth have fully erupted and are not impacted, they can be removed in a process called a “basic” or “simple” extraction. In this process, Dr. Lena or Dr. Bean will clean and numb your mouth, then use a tool called a “dental elevator” to loosen the tooth in the socket. Once it’s been loosened, it will be pulled out with a forceps. Then, the area will be sanitized and cleaned, and the now-empty socket will be sutured to encourage healing.
However, wisdom teeth that have not fully erupted require a “surgical” or “complex” extraction. In this procedure, an opening will be made in the gum below the wisdom tooth. Then, the tooth will be broken apart using a dental drill, and extracted piece-by-piece. Once the entire tooth structure has been removed, the area will be cleaned and sutured shut.