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WHY DO WE HAVE THIRD MOLARS (WISDOM TEETH)?
The first humans didn’t have modern luxuries like grocery stores, kitchens, or forks and knives, so they had to eat whatever they had, even if it was raw or tough. A diet like this made the delayed arrival of the third molars very useful, which fit nicely in their wider jaw. Today, humans have evolved to have a thinner jaw, but we still grow third molars, which are no longer necessary and typically don’t fit. More often known as the wisdom teeth, the third molars usually need to be extracted to avoid problems, like infection, impaction, and pain. Our experienced team at DentalWorks – Cary Crossroads offers surgical wisdom tooth extraction for Cary, NC patients both young and old. Employing state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, we help patients determine if and when they need their wisdom teeth removed, which we perform with modern techniques so you have a faster recovery. Read on to learn more about extracting your wisdom teeth before you contact our office in Cary, NC to schedule a consultation for you or your children.
AT WHAT AGE TO THE THIRD MOLARS ERUPT?
The wisdom teeth are the last to develop, typically when a person is about seven years old. However, the wisdom teeth don’t actually appear until you are about 15 – 22 years old. By comparison, the rest of your permanent (adult) teeth start to emerge when a person is in first grade and are fully visible by age 13. While it’s infrequent, some people don’t develop all four wisdom teeth, and even rarer, a few lucky people never develop these third molars.
IS IT NECESSARY TO HAVE MY WISDOM TEETH EXTRACTED?
Since the modern person’s jaw is slimmer and our diet is less abrasive on our teeth, there is typically not enough room for the third molars when they are ready to erupt from your gums. Typically, if the wisdom teeth are not extracted by a dentist, they can become impacted. When a tooth is impacted, it is unable to properly erupt out of the gums so it might result in an infection known as pericoronitis. Indicators of an infected, impacted tooth include swollen gums above the third molar, pain in your nearby teeth or ear, trouble opening your mouth and chewing, as well as persistent bad breath. Even though the majority of folks will need to get their wisdom teeth extracted to prevent an impaction or infection, some people are able to keep their wisdom teeth. The decision to extract or keep your wisdom teeth should be made together with your dentist.
DO MY WISDOM TEETH NEED TO BE REMOVED RIGHT AWAY?
When possible, patients should get their wisdom teeth removed before they’re 20 years old. The longer you wait, the wisdom teeth roots get stronger and are more difficult to remove. Although not everyone will need to get their wisdom teeth pulled, if you do, it’s better to get it done once you’re younger. The extraction process is more difficult and the recovery usually takes longer in older patients. Hopefully, you are visiting your dentist in Cary, NC for annual oral health assessments with digital x-rays so they can monitor the development of your third molars and schedule an extraction as soon as it is needed. If you are not visiting a dentist twice a year, schedule an appointment if your teeth are shifting out of place, you have pain and swelling in your back molars, or a feeling of pressure in your jawbone. These are signs that your wisdom teeth are trying to erupt and only your dentist will be able to ascertain if they ought to be removed to prevent an infection or impaction.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN MY WISDOM TEETH ARE EXTRACTED?
The wisdom teeth can be removed with a tooth extraction process if the teeth have not fully erupted from the gumline. In your initial consultation, your dentist will discuss your sedation options based on your procedure and comfort level. Most patients are given intravenous (IV) sedation so they are asleep during the process, but others may receive a combination of local anesthesia to numb the gums plus nitrous oxide gas or oral-conscious medication. Whatever method of sedation is chosen, your team will make sure you are relaxed and comfortable before the procedure begins. To reach the tooth, your dentist will make a small incision in the gums above the third molars. The tooth will be removed with special tools and then the area will be sterilized before the dentist closes the incision with stitches. The process is repeated until all four wisdom teeth are extracted.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT AFTER MY WISDOM TOOTH EXTRACTION?
In your initial consultation, your dentist should go over what to expect both during and after your surgical extraction. It’s crucial to comprehend and follow your dentist’s aftercare instructions to avoid problems like an infection or dry socket. Depending on the type of anesthesia used, you will probably need to have a responsible adult drive you home from your procedure. You should plan to rest for at least the rest of the day, but a few days is usually suggested. Most patients choose to follow a soft food or liquid diet after their wisdom tooth extraction. It’s important not to use a straw, chew or smoke tobacco, or spit to avoid pulling the blood clot loose that forms at the incision site. You need to rinse out|] your mouth with warm saltwater for 1 – 2 days before you get back to gently brushing your teeth. Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics or pain relievers to help you heal after surgery. After a few days, your teeth and gums should look and feel much better, so contact your dentist if you have inflammation, a fever, pain, pus in the wound, or other concerns.
IS IT POSSIBLE FOR WISDOM TEETH TO GROW BACK?
As soon as your wisdom teeth are removed, they will not re-grow. Nonetheless, in a very small fraction of the population, there is a fourth set of molars that may appear. Also known as supernumerary teeth, these extra teeth develop in about 1 – 2 percent of people. If you do have extra molars or teeth, your dentist should be able to spot these with digital x-rays at your annual oral health examination. Depending on where the extra teeth develop, your dentist may recommend a simple or surgical extraction.