Most young adults are faced with the decision of what to do about their wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, also referred to as third molars, are the teeth that grow in at the furthest back position in both the upper and lower jaw on both sides usually in late teens or early twenties.
Many patients will have third molars grow in that never pose any problems. This is because they have sufficient jaw space to accommodate these four teeth and they grow in without creating overcrowding of remaining teeth.
Unfortunately, many young adults will be faced with wisdom teeth that do not grow in straight, or create an issue with overcrowding that can produce an overbite or a malocclusion of another nature. In addition to these problems, wisdom teeth that do not grow correctly can become impacted. This means that the teeth are present, but are not breaking through gum tissue or not growing in properly.
For patients that do not suffer from growth issues with their wisdom teeth, there is no reason to be concerned with them. However, if the bite is incorrect or the patient is experiencing discomfort due to overcrowding or impacted wisdom teeth, having them extracted is usually the accepted option for relief.
Patients with impacted wisdom teeth are usually referred to an oral surgeon for extraction. This is due to the fact that an oral surgeon sees patients all day long with impacted third molars and will be able to provide the most expedient procedure offering the patient anesthesia and a surgeon’s expertise and advice on whether or not to move forward with the procedure.
There are many schools of thought on how a patient should proceed regarding the question of saving or removing third molars. Patients that are not experiencing problems with a malocclusion, overcrowding or discomfort might best be served by taking the conservative approach and leaving them alone.
For patients that decide not to undergo extraction of their wisdom teeth, it is critically important to adhere to excellent oral hygiene habits of daily flossing and brushing to make sure the areas surrounding the third molars stays as bacteria free as possible. Plaque build-up can lead to infection so if third molars are to be retained a professional cleaning and exam twice per year is strongly recommended to monitor and preserve the health of wisdom teeth.
Contact the office of Dr. Judd E. Partridge, serving Sandy Utah and the surrounding areas, to schedule your wisdom tooth consultation today.