Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth – Must They be Removed?

The teeth furthest to the back on both sides of the mouth in both the upper and lower jaws are called your wisdom teeth.  The name for these molars stems from the fact that they are usually the last teeth to grow in, making their appearance in the late teens or early twenties.

At times, due to lack of room in the jaw, one or more of the wisdom teeth may fail to come through the bone and gum or may come through at a bad angle.  When this happens, the wisdom tooth is referred to as being impacted.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed.  However, if one does become impacted, the only solution may be removal.  Some signs and symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth are:

  • Red or swollen gums
  • Gums that are tender or bleeding
  • Pain in and around the jaw
  • Recurring gum infections
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in the mouth
  • Swelling around the jaw
  • Jaw pain or difficulty opening your mouth

If you think you might have an impacted wisdom tooth, see your dentist.  He or she will usually take an x-ray of the area of your mouth and jaw that appears to be causing the problem.   This will help diagnose the problem and decide if the tooth must be removed.  Each situation must be evaluated on its own.

If a wisdom tooth needs to be removed, it’s best to do so soon, as opposed to postponing the inevitable.  Wisdom teeth are frequently taken out when a person is in their late teens or early twenties.  The removal is made easier and quicker since the roots of the teeth are less fully developed and the surrounding bone is less dense.  This makes the recovery time much shorter and less uncomfortable.

Removal of a wisdom tooth is always done under, at least a local, anesthetic.  The tooth is removed either in one piece or in sections, depending on the dentist’s evaluation of what works best for the removal of that particular tooth.

Healing and recovery time is variable. Depending on the patient and how difficult the tooth was to extract.  Your dentist will let you know what to expect, providing instructions on the care of your mouth during healing and what you can do to help the recovery process.

Contact our Fairfax dental office and make an appointment.  We are here to help: (703) 650-9299

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