We have found that while many of our patients with wisdom teeth know that they should be extracted, very few of them understand why.
So here you go…A Little Wisdom about Wisdom Teeth.
There are several reasons your Apex Dentist might recommend having your third molars, also known as Wisdom teeth, extracted. Very few people have adequate space in their dental arch for wisdom teeth. If you are one of the lucky ones that does have enough room, be sure your toothbrush is reaching all the way back to those teeth, as they are often very difficult to keep clean. If/when 3rd molars develop cavities (as they often do), it is usually better to put financial resources towards having these teeth extracted rather than filled as they usually only cause more problems down the road.
For patients who do not have enough room in their dental arch, the 3rd molars are often unable to properly erupt, making it difficult or even impossible to keep clean. The improper eruption can cause a variety of problems including but not limited to, periodontal infections, dental decay, and dental abcesses.
The first radiograph was of a patient for whom Dr. Hansen had to perform an extraction not only the partially erupted wisdom tooth but the 2nd (more important) molar as well due to the decay caused by the wisdom tooth.
The second radiograph demonstrates another reason that 3rd molars often need to be extracted: dental abcesses. This particular abcess was so large that this patient was a risk of her lower jaw breaking. The radiograph also demonstrates the importance of routine dental check ups, as this patient did not have any pain associated with the dental abcess. She literally would not have ever known that it was there except that she was consistent with her dental examinations, including dental radiographs.
Understanding dental problems that can arise from wisdom teeth is important so patients are able to take necessary steps to seek treatment. Typically, your Apex dentist will recommend having wisdom extracted between ages 15 and 25 because healing and recovery is much easier for younger patients.
If only our wisdom teeth made us all-knowing and wise…that would make for a good case in keeping them!