Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to emerge, typically during the late teenage years or early 20s, and they vary in number. Some people may develop two, and some may have four or more or none at all.
Wisdom teeth frequently do not completely emerge through the gum line and become impacted. If left untreated or not extracted, wisdom teeth can cause inflammation, infection, tenderness, swelling, pain, headaches, chronic bad breath, and more.
Wisdom teeth are the least necessary of all teeth, and their emergence can lead to a whole host of problems, such as:
- Overcrowding: As wisdom teeth are the last to come in, they must try to find a way to fit with all other teeth, which can cause overcrowding in the mouth and force existing teeth to move.
- Pain: For some patients, wisdom teeth bring pain in the jaw, other teeth, and neck and even cause headaches.
- Pericoronitis: As they come in, wisdom teeth can loosen the gums around teeth, allowing food to become trapped in between, causing pain, infection, facial swelling, bad breath, and difficulty chewing, biting, swallowing, or closing the mouth, fever, and loss of appetite.
- Gum disease: Problematic wisdom teeth can cause infections that increase the risk of gum disease and lead to enamel deterioration. The responsible tooth and others around it may require extraction in severe cases. If left untreated, the infection can spread to the rest of the body resulting in serious medical complications.
- Cysts: When sacs next to wisdom teeth fill with fluid, they develop into cysts that cause damage to the roots, soft tissue, and bone.
- Sinus complications: As they develop and grow, the roots of upper wisdom teeth can put pressure on the sinuses, causing congestion, sinusitis, and headaches.
Removing Wisdom Teeth
The ideal age for wisdom teeth removal is between 18 and 24 years old before roots completely form. Tooth extraction in people over 24 years old increases the surgical difficulty.
Wisdom teeth removal is either a preventive measure or performed to correct other complications caused by the teeth as they erupt. Wisdom teeth that have fully come in can be easily removed by pulling them out. Teeth that are impacted or misaligned with the other teeth often require the removal of each tooth, typically by making an incision in the gum and drilling the bone for extraction.
Impacted wisdom teeth are common. Depending on the level of difficulty of the procedure, wisdom teeth removal will involve a local anesthetic with possible sedation or a general anesthetic.
Recovery time varies depending on the complexity of the procedure, the type of anesthesia, and the damage the teeth have caused. Most patients recover quickly and within a week from wisdom tooth extraction. Be aware that it will take months for the wound site to heal completely. This healing should not affect your everyday activities except the cautions mentioned above immediately after the surgery. However, it is essential to pay attention to any signs of trouble and see your oral surgeon if needed.
South Jersey Oral Surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons Can Alleviate Your Wisdom Teeth Pain and Problems
Wisdom teeth problems can cause debilitating pain and other difficulties. There is no need to suffer through painful wisdom teeth. Our South Jersey oral surgeons at Lanzi Burke Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons are experienced in wisdom teeth extraction. Call us at 856-582-4222 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. Located in Washington Township, Haddonfield, and Woolwich Township, New Jersey, we are dedicated to helping patients throughout South Jersey.