Many parents at our Katy Pediatric Dentist office wonder whether they should have their child’s wisdom teeth pulled or if they should simply leave them in their mouths. While many dentists have varying views on this subject, this article can help answer some of the most basic questions and give patients a great place to start when considering theirs or their child’s own wisdom teeth.
The Basics of Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are a new set of molars that appear in the first several years of adulthood to join the 28 teeth that most adults have. They are called wisdom teeth because of the age at which they erupt.
The reason that wisdom teeth exist is thought to come from the fact that people living thousands of years ago often had poor oral health, lost some of their teeth and needed these four extra molars. While wisdom teeth may have been necessary centuries ago, they are not seen this way these days. In fact, up to a quarter of Americans naturally do not even have any wisdom teeth.
Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Recommended?
Wisdom tooth extraction is a personal question that should be discussed with one’s dentist.
Children and teenagers should have x-rays taken at their regular dental checkups to determine where their wisdom teeth will erupt. Factors that the dentist will look at to determine if they should be removed include oral hygiene habits and tooth crowding. If the wisdom tooth is most likely going to erupt in a place where it will push other teeth around, it should be removed to avoid further problems.
While young patients may not like the thought of having wisdom teeth removed, they may be comforted by the fact that the process is easier when done at a younger age. This is due to the incomplete formation of the tooth’s roots at this age and the good health of most teenagers.
Those who have made it into adulthood with their wisdom teeth intact will need proper evaluation to determine if this remains the right choice. The dentist will examine the teeth, gums and amount of space in the mouth. He or she will determine if the teeth meet up well for good chewing and whether there is any decay.
However, as people age, they are more likely to develop chronic health conditions that may affect how well the body heals. Patients who have diabetes or a heart condition or those who are on blood thinners may develop complications with the removal of wisdom teeth. Therefore, adults who still have these teeth will need to make a decision in conjunction with their dentists to determine what the best plan is.
What Is an Impacted Tooth?
An impacted wisdom tooth used to be left alone as long as it was not causing any pain. However, dentists today know that impacted wisdom teeth can cause untold harm to neighboring teeth as well as the gums. They can push neighboring teeth out of alignment and force these otherwise healthy teeth to be removed. Impacted wisdom teeth can also develop cavities.
How Bad Is a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?
Wisdom tooth removal is not as bad as it may seem with the great medications available today. Very few healthy people experience any complications and most experience excellent pain control. Patients may have a couple of days of minor to moderate pain following the procedure.
Ask for a Consultation
Patients who still have their wisdom teeth are invited to our office to discuss what is right for them. Contact our Katy Pediatric Dentist Office today to schedule a consultation.