Wisdom teeth extraction often seems like an unavoidable part of growing up. Much like going through puberty or graduating from high school, it will eventually be time for it, ready or not! But in truth, wisdom teeth do not always need to be extracted. It will depend on your child’s unique oral anatomy and the way that teeth are emerging in the mouth.
At Smiles Dentistry for Kids in Overland Park, KS, Dr. Matt offers conservative, personalized care. He closely monitors children’s dental development from a young age so he can quickly tell if wisdom teeth are likely to be problematic. At the same time, he will never recommend an extraction if it is not necessary.
To learn more about wisdom teeth extraction and to find out if it is right for your child, contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids today.
What are wisdom teeth?
Wisdom teeth are sometimes called the “third molars.” They usually come in between 17 and 25, the age when young adults are supposed to gain in wisdom and maturity. (A thought that may elicit a few eye rolls from parents we know!)
Anthropologists speculate that, at one time, the third molars were necessary for humankind’s survival, allowing us to chew the more primitive food we needed to survive. As our diet changed, our jaws also evolved. They became smaller, meaning that many people now do not have sufficient room for their wisdom teeth.
When Wisdom Teeth Need to Come Out
Wisdom teeth only need to be extracted when they don’t have room to come in properly. They may crowd the nearby teeth, leading to misalignment and an increased risk for dental decay.
The third molars could also become impacted, or trapped beneath a layer of bone or gum tissue. Though they sometimes cause no symptoms, impacted teeth can result in inflammation, pain, and gum disease. In about 80% of young adults, at least one of the four wisdom teeth does not erupt all the way.
Earlier Extraction Is Better
Experts recommend that teens and young adults have their wisdom teeth removed early, typically no later than age 26. This will help to prevent wisdom-tooth related problems. Moreover, since bones tend to harden with age, early extraction will be easier with a faster recovery.
What to Expect from Wisdom Teeth Extraction
The process for wisdom teeth extraction will largely depend on whether a tooth has come in all the way. If it has, extraction simply involves loosening the tooth by gently rocking it back and forth. The dentist can then quickly and easily lift it from the jaw.
If a tooth is impacted, on the other hand, surgical extraction is necessary. An oral surgeon will need to remove the obstructing bone or gum tissue before taking out the tooth itself.
In either case – simple or surgical extraction – patients will receive local anesthesia. An oral surgeon may also provide sedation for a surgical procedure.
Contact Smiles Dentistry for Kids Today
To learn more about wisdom teeth and teen dental health, contact Dr. Matt and his team. Reach us online or give us a call at (913) 685-9990.