What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom Teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often there is lack of space for their proper eruption and require removal.
Wisdom teeth can either be fully erupted, partially erupted, or fully impacted. Fully erupted wisdom teeth, if misaligned, can damage adjacent teeth/ gums or cause bite problems. Wisdom teeth that are fully impacted (i.e. enclosed fully with the jawbone) can cause damage to adjacent molars or can develop cysts. The partially erupted wisdom teeth have the most potential for damage. Since it is only partially erupted, it allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, bad breath, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their location makes brushing and flossing difficult, and can have the biggest negative impact on the adjacent tooth.
Dr. Gray may recommend that your wisdom teeth be extracted even before problems develop. This is done to avoid a more painful or more complicated extraction that might have to be done a few years later. Removal is easier in young people, when the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense. In older patients, recovery and healing time tend to be longer.
In most cases, where the wisdom teeth hare impacted patients are sedated by a dental anesthesiologist and generally the recovery is only a few days.