Monday, May 10, 2010

Wisdom Teeth - Why do they have to be removed?

Why did we get born with wisdom teeth if they just have to get removed?

Well, let's start with some facts about wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth in the dental world are referred to as "third molars", and they generally erupt into the mouth (if they aren't impacted) between the ages of 17-21.

The average person's mouth comfortably holds about 28 of the 32 teeth we have, and since those wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, there is often little room to accommodate their size.

The x-ray image we use to check wisdom teeth is known as the panoramic x-ray and looks like this:
With this full mouth x-ray, we can see if the patient has wisdom teeth, and where they are at.

Why are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

* They are erupting into an abnormal position, are tilted, twisted, or sideways.

* An infection has developed from trapped food or bacteria

* They are trapped below the gum due to lack of space

* The erupted wisdom tooth is so far back in the mouth that it is not getting cleaned properly and results in tooth decay, or gum infection.

Many wisdom teeth can be removed at our office. Dr. Don and Zach Meiners both remove wisdom teeth when they are non-complicated.

For Patients that either have a complex surgical case, or wish to be sedated for their wisdom teeth removal, we have a wonderful group of Oral Surgeons that we refer to.

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