Wisdom teeth are your third molars, located right at the back of the mouth. They begin to emerge during the late teens and early twenties, or sometimes even later, by which time people are assumed to have at least some of the wisdom that comes with getting older! When you have all your wisdom teeth, you should have a complete set of thirty-two adult teeth, but all too often, these large back teeth will cause problems. Your wisdom teeth are large and tough as they are designed for grinding food. Some people don’t even have wisdom teeth, and one theory is that this is due to the way our diet has changed over the years. Instead of eating lots of hard to chew foods, our diets tend to contain softer, more processed and easier to chew foods, rendering these large molars unnecessary.
Potential Problems Caused by Wisdom Teeth
Sometimes these teeth will come through without any problems, and they can be an asset. However, all too frequently wisdom teeth are misaligned and must be removed. If wisdom teeth are misaligned, they can try to come through horizontally or may angle towards the second molars, potentially crowding and damaging these teeth. Wisdom teeth can become impacted, where they are enclosed in the jawbone and gum tissue and cannot erupt, or they will partially erupt. When wisdom teeth partially erupt, it creates an opening where bacteria can get into the tissues around the tooth, potentially causing infection and decay. Because of their position in the mouth, wisdom teeth are often very hard to clean and brushing and flossing them is awkward.
How Can I Tell If I Have Wisdom Teeth?
If you visit us here at West Bowmanville Family Dental regularly, we will periodically take digital dental x-rays. We can take an image called a panoramic x-ray and which provides a clear picture of your entire mouth. A panoramic x-ray will show the position of teeth and tooth roots in your jawbone, as well as the location of teeth that have yet to erupt, including wisdom teeth. These diagnostic images allow our dentist in Newcastle to evaluate the alignment of any wisdom teeth that are present. If we can see these wisdom teeth will cause or are already creating problems, we will suggest they are removed.
When is the Best Time to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?
You can have wisdom teeth removed in Clarington at any age. Often wisdom teeth extractions are performed in people who are still quite young and when the jawbone is still slightly softer. When you are older, the jawbone tends to be a bit denser, and tooth roots can become fused in the bone. However, even when this happens, removing teeth shouldn’t be too much of a problem for a dentist. One technique is to ‘section’ or to cut teeth into several pieces when removing them as this makes it easier and more comfortable for the patient.
We make every effort to ensure people feel as relaxed as possible during treatment. The tissue around the tooth will be numbed using a local anesthetic, but if you do feel anxious, then we can discuss dental sedation in Courtice. One option offered is laughing gas or nitrous oxide, which quickly has a calming and relaxing effect. Another choice might be to take an oral sedative before your appointment so that by the time you sit in the dental chair, it will have taken full effect. Intravenous sedation is also called sleep dentistry or twilight dentistry and uses a powerful sedative to ensure you feel very calm during the procedure.