Having your wisdom teeth removed has almost become a rite of passage for older teens and young adults, and understandably so. Impacted wisdom teeth can wreak havoc on your oral health, so many patients opt to have an oral surgeon extract these teeth to avoid their consequences.
It is possible to determine whether the wisdom teeth are impacted in patients as young as 15 years old. We recommend that patients who pursue a preventive tooth extraction do so by their 25th birthday. In patients in their late 20s and beyond, the procedure is more complex and the recovery more extensive.
How Impacted Wisdom Teeth Affect Your Oral Health
Your wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, are the largest teeth in your mouth. At one time, these teeth performed valuable functions for our ancient human ancestors. However, in modern humans, the jaws are smaller and often there is no room for the wisdom teeth to erupt correctly.
In such cases, the wisdom teeth become impacted in the bone or gum tissue. Impacted wisdom teeth are more susceptible to many issues, including:
They may also damage surrounding teeth or push those teeth out of alignment as they continue to try to erupt.
As such, impacted wisdom teeth can have a cascade of effects on your oral health. Infections can spread to surrounding teeth and potentially cause them harm. Those oral bacteria can also attack the periodontal tissue, causing gum disease.
In worst case scenarios, the bacteria from such infections and abscesses can access the bloodstream and spread throughout the body, creating the possibility that sepsis will develop.
To prevent such consequences, many patients opt for an oral surgeon to extract their wisdom teeth as a preventive measure.
Wisdom Tooth Extraction: What to Expect from The Procedure
Because it is necessary to remove bone and/or gum tissue in order to access the wisdom teeth to extract them, this procedure is performed by an oral surgeon. The surgical extraction is performed in an outpatient setting, and the patient is discharged with detailed instructions for post-operative self-care.
With a typical uneventful recovery, you can expect to return to most of your normal activities (school, sedentary work, etc.) within a few days. You will need to refrain from more vigorous activity for several additional days.
Post-operative complications can extend that timeline, though, so you should closely follow our instructions to reduce your risk of such complications.
Should you consider having your wisdom teeth removed? Call our office today to schedule an evaluation and get the information you need to make the right treatment decision for you.