What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last set of permanent teeth to emerge in the back corners of the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, with two in the upper jaw and two in the lower jaw. These teeth typically start developing during the late teenage years or early adulthood, which is how they got the name “wisdom teeth” (because they come in later, when one was assumed to be “wiser”).

The purpose of wisdom teeth in our evolutionary history is believed to be related to our ancestors’ diet, which consisted of tougher, coarser foods. These extra molars would assist in grinding and chewing these foods effectively. However, due to changes in diet and jaw structure over time, wisdom teeth have become less necessary for most individuals. Likewise, as our jaws have become smaller due our diet, there is less room for these molars so the crowding is what often causes problems and thus the typical need for removal.

Wisdom Teeth in Orlando, Florida

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are often removed for the following reasons:

Impaction: The wisdom teeth don’t have enough space to grow properly and become trapped, or “impacted,” in the jaw, causing pain and swelling.

Crowding: If the wisdom teeth do emerge, they may push other teeth out of place, causing discomfort and potential orthodontic problems.

Decay: Wisdom teeth can be difficult to clean because of their position in the back of the mouth, leading to cavities or gum disease.

Infection: Pericoronitis, an infection that can occur around the wisdom tooth, can happen when a wisdom tooth partially breaks through the gum and bacteria get in.

Benefits to having wisdom teeth removed include: *put in box

Prevention of Problems: By removing wisdom teeth, potential issues such as impaction, overcrowding, infections, gum disease, and tooth decay can be prevented.

Reduction of Pain and Discomfort: Impacted or erupted wisdom teeth can cause significant pain and discomfort. Removing these teeth can provide immediate relief.

Prevention of Cysts, Tumors, and Damage to Other Teeth: Impacted wisdom teeth can sometimes lead to more severe problems, including the development of cysts or tumors, and can cause damage to nearby teeth.

When Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties, as this is when they are developing and can start to cause problems. However, removal can occur at any age if necessary. Some people may never need to have their wisdom teeth removed if these teeth don’t cause any problems.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Wisdom Tooth Removal?

The ideal candidate for wisdom tooth removal is typically someone who is experiencing issues due to their wisdom teeth. This could include pain, infection, cysts, tumors, damage to other teeth, or significant dental crowding. Some oral surgeons and dentists may also recommend prophylactic removal of wisdom teeth (removing them even if they’re not causing immediate issues) to prevent future problems.

How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

The procedure for wisdom tooth removal usually involves the following steps:

  1. Anesthesia: Depending on the complexity of the extraction, local anesthesia (numbing), sedation anesthesia (conscious sedation with local anesthesia), or general anesthesia (unconscious) may be used.
  2. Incision: The oral surgeon or dentist makes an incision in the gum tissue to expose the tooth and bone.
  3. Removal: The tooth may be divided into sections if it will make it easier to remove. After that, the tooth is removed.
  4. Cleaning: The site of the removed tooth is cleaned of any debris from the tooth or bone.
  5. Stitching: The wound is stitched up to promote healing, though this isn’t always necessary.
  6. Recovery: Gauze is placed over the extraction site to help control bleeding and to help a blood clot form.

Interested in Learning More about Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Dr. Patel and his team at Colonialtown Dental have extensive experience and knowledge regarding Wisdom Teeth and their removal. Colonialtown Dental has been serving Orlando and the surrounding areas for over 28 years. Book online or give us a call at 407-422-3811 today!