Wisdom Teeth Removal
Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth in the jaws to develop. Typically, they develop in your late teens or early twenties. Wisdom teeth either come through the gums, called erupting, or they are blocked, which is called impaction. Impaction can vary in severity, from gum tissue blockage to complete bone coverage.
In most cases, we find that there is not enough room in the mouth for wisdom teeth to function properly and be easily cleaned, and extraction is recommended.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
When wisdom teeth are impacted, problems with the jaw and adjacent teeth can develop. An impacted wisdom tooth can cause gum tissue infections, decay on the second molar, and possible crowding of other teeth. Serious problems can develop with infections spreading to the throat and neck, or cysts or tumors that can destroy jawbone to the point of fracture.
Evaluation and Removal
Dr. Greeff will evaluate your jaw structure and wisdom teeth status with regular oral exams and x-rays. In many cases, routine x-rays are not enough for a full evaluation of the wisdom teeth, jaw and surrounding structures. A panoramic x-ray is typically done, which allows for a complete assessment of the jaw and teeth.
When current or potential issues with the wisdom teeth are identified, early removal is recommended. Removing wisdom teeth at an earlier age can be easier, as the jawbone is less dense. In addition, if the teeth are removed before the root develops, it involves a less invasive procedure. Removal recommendations can be as early as age 12, or may be delayed until patients are in their later teens. Patients older than 30 typically have higher complication rates and lengthened healing time.