Wisdom teeth, or third molar management, is one of the most common issues that the Oral and Facial Surgery Group deals with on a daily basis. Knowing what wisdom teeth are and how to manage them can prevent problems for both adolescents and adults. Treatments can vary based on age and typically are managed with surgery for removal or observed for development of disease.
Wisdom teeth are the third molars in the very back of your mouth. Often times, people end up needing to have them removed due to pain and discomfort that they begin to cause them. This can be due to:
- Wisdom teeth becoming trapped (impacted) within your jaw: this could potentially result in infection or can cause a cyst that can damage other teeth roots or bone support.
- Emerge partially through the gums: since this area is hard to see and clean, wisdom teeth that partially emerge create a passageway that can become a magnet for bacteria that cause gum disease and oral infection.
- Crowding nearby teeth: if wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to come in properly, they may crowd or damage nearby teeth.
Wisdom Teeth In Younger Patients
Getting a consultation for your wisdom teeth by the age of 16 is encouraged regardless if you’re experiencing pain or not, to ensure that you get a headstart on potential treatment. The recommended time to have third molars removed is during early adulthood before the roots and bone are fully formed, and when recovery is generally faster after surgery. Having the surgery when an individual is in their twenties can help with the healing process, and it’s a lot less disruptive for the patient’s overall routine.
Wisdom Teeth In Older Patients
Older patients who have impacted wisdom teeth that aren’t fully erupted or may not even be visible at all don’t automatically get referred for surgery. If radiographs show that there is no evidence of disease, then some molars can be maintained in place. Although if they begin to experience pain, decay, or gum disease, then it is recommended to have a consultation with your oral surgeon to evaluate the risks and benefits of having them removed.
If you suspect your wisdom teeth are causing you problems, please contact your general dentist for a referral to our office or schedule a consultation directly with one of our offices here.