Wisdom teeth are an extra set of molars that grow in the back of your mouth between the ages of 17 and 25. They an extra pair of molars that can become infected and need to be taken out most of the time. These teeth typically are impacted and become trapped in your jawbone or grow in at the wrong angle. A dentist can see the condition of your wisdom teeth by taking an X-ray and examining your gums. Since wisdom teeth can cause so many problems, they need to be removed. If you have braces, the removal process can be done while you are wearing. However, it is recommended to have them extracted before you get braces. They can be removed by a simple extraction that includes the use of Novocain or a surgical extraction. Why do wisdom teeth need to be extracted? It is believed that wisdom teeth are a remnant from the evolutionary process and were used by our predecessors to grind up rough foods. This diet contained roots, nuts and meats that were tougher than the foods we eat today. Since we no longer eat these types of food, we do not need these teeth. So, when they grow in, they contribute to dental problems. Wisdom teeth typically do not grow in straight and tend to come in crooked, are impacted or are too big for your mouth. They can also cause cavities and gum disease because you cannot reach them with your toothbrush and dental floss. When wisdom teeth are impacted, they grow in too far back in your jawboned and can become painful. They can develop cysts, cavities and affect the tissue and teeth around them. Sometimes tumors grow around these teeth and cause complicated issues. Impacted wisdom teeth are also prone to infection, redness, swelling and jaw pain. What are the procedures for wisdom tooth removal? There are two sets of wisdom teeth that grow in your mouth that typically need to be extracted. They come in at the back of the top and bottom of the mouth. These teeth can be removed surgically or extracted. The surgical procedure includes anesthesia that is injected into the area around the tooth. If you have a serious condition, the dentist may employ a general anesthetic. The surgery will be completed in a hospital to ensure your safety. During the procedure, an incision is made into the gum area around the tooth. Since the tooth is large, it is cut into smaller pieces, so the tooth can be extracted. The tooth socket is widened, and it is taken out in pieces. This surgery can be painful and take a long time especially if the tooth has grown in impacted at an angle. Afterward, the dentist will stitch up your gums prescribe pain medication to control pain. If an infection is present antibiotics are given as well, and you are given instructions on how to care for your mouth. Typically, you need to refrain from drinking alcohol, smoking and rinsing your mouth with liquid. How do braces align teeth? Braces shift and align teeth by straightening and aligning them. They are used to correct overbites, crowding and spacing between teeth. They are also used to fix over jetting and underbites. There are several types of braces available that include metal braces, clear braces, lingual braces and dentofacial orthopedics. Metal braces are the most common and contain several components, including brackets, archwire, elastic ties and rubber bands. The brackets are cemented to your teeth and held in place by wire. When the wire is tightened by your orthodontist, the pressure shifts and adjusts teeth. The direction of your teeth is slowly moved into the correct position. The bone also changes to conform to changes in pressure implemented by the dentist. When wearing braces, it is important to take care of them, so your teeth remain healthy. You must brush your teeth twice a day and floss as well. An oral irrigator can be used to remove food debris and clear away gum tissue. You should use an antibacterial mouthwash and toothpaste to keep teeth clean too. Keeping your teeth clean while wearing braces will maintain them and ensure your braces do their job. Does wisdom tooth removal affect the alignment of teeth? If you get braces before your wisdom teeth come in, chances are you will need to have them extracted while they are intact. Your dentist may also choose to remove them proactively to prevent the chance of overcrowding. When these molars grow in with braces, they can interfere with the alignment of your teeth. When wisdom teeth come in after braces are removed, they can cause your teeth to shift. In some cases, patients can wear a fixed orthodontic retainer to keep the results of their braces intact. These retainers are not visible and placed behind your front teeth. Your dentist will need to take an X-ray to determine how your third molars can be removed after your braces are taken off. As soon as you feel these teeth coming in, visit your orthodontist to determine if further action is needed. Wisdom can affect your teeth if your mouth is small, and they come in impacted. If they grow far back into your mouth, they can cause an infection that inhibits the adjustment of your teeth. On the other hand, removing your wisdom teeth relieves pressure in your mouth. The pain caused by overcrowding and impacted teeth is alleviated, and the swelling in your jaw goes down. Since your mouth does not have extra teeth, inflammation and infections are cleared up. Your molars are protected from cavities, and you can clean the back of your mouth accurately. Even though wisdom teeth can cause problems for many people, they do not bother everyone. If these teeth come in healthy and intact, they do not need to be removed. They will not cause an infection, inflammation or pain and can remain in your mouth. There is only cause for concern when they grow in abnormally.
Dr. Marissa Crandall Cruz received her Doctor of Dental Medicine from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fl, and Dr. Mana Nejadi obtained her dental degree from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Both specialize in tooth extractions in King of Prussia, PA. You can learn more about their dental practice at www.kopperio.com.