One of the most common questions patients ask is whether they need their wisdom teeth removed. Even patients who don’t have any symptoms want to know about wisdom teeth, and in some cases the very thought of them induces dread in people who don’t otherwise have dental procedure anxiety.
Russell Street Dental Associates in Worcester, MA provides high-quality, conservative treatments to patients who need wisdom teeth treatments. You might be surprised to learn that you can keep them! Learn more about your wisdom teeth below.
Why Are They Called Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are located in the back of the mouth and are the last teeth to erupt. Many people see them between the ages of 17-25, though some people may not have them until well into adulthood.
They are clinically called “third molars” because they are the same type of teeth as the first two sets of molars that develop in childhood and adolescence. We colloquially call them “wisdom” teeth because the saying goes that young adulthood is when people leave the home to search for wisdom. At least, that’s what the old wives’ tale says!
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Dentists look for specific indicators that signal a possible need for removing wisdom teeth.
- The dentist suspects a risk of future problems: If your dentist determines there is a risk of future problems by leaving the wisdom teeth in, they may suggest extraction. Performing wisdom tooth extraction is easier on younger patients, so even if you haven’t experienced problems yet, your dentist may recommend removal to prevent a more difficult procedure in the future.
- Pericoronitis: When wisdom teeth begin erupting (coming out) of the gums, a flap of gum tissue can develop, which may trap leftover food particles and oral bacteria. This infection, called pericoronitis, irritates the surrounding gums, making the spot difficult to clean and can even occur in wisdom teeth that have not erupted yet.
- They become impacted: Many people see “impacted” and think “infection,” but this is not always true. When the wisdom teeth are blocked by teeth and are unable to erupt, they are referred to as impacted. While some patients experience pain or discomfort when this happens, many others don’t realize they have impacted wisdom teeth until a dentist finds it on an X-ray.
Conservative Wisdom Teeth Treatment
It’s important to know that not everyone with wisdom teeth will need them removed. Sometimes they erupt with no problems, or they can be managed without surgery. There are several factors to be considered, so it’s important to have regular dental check-ups, especially as a teen and young adult. Patients in the Worcester, MA area who want to learn more about wisdom teeth removal can schedule an appointment with Russell Street Dental Associates online or call us at (508) 687-6579.