Prescott Valley, AZ
Growing wisdom teeth is something that most people will go through, and while it can be a painless change, some patients do experience discomfort during their onset.
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that grow in the back corners of the mouth. Wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17-21, which is why they are called wisdom teeth, because the older you are, the wiser you are believed to be.
Generally, wisdom teeth can be completely harmless and even beneficial, as they can provide strength in grinding food. That way, you can eat harder things without issues.
However, many people are forced to have a wisdom tooth or more removed for a variety of reasons. At Bradshaw Family Dental, we can take care of your wisdom teeth for you with ease.
Do You Need Your Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are actually a byproduct of evolution. Back in the day, humans had to eat much tougher food, so they needed more and stronger teeth. Obviously, you can still use them to grind some hard food. Generally speaking, though, they are somewhat less useful with modern-day diets and eating habits.
This does not mean you should remove them, however, unless you need to. If you have no pain or issues because of your wisdom teeth, then you have no reason to remove them.
Removing healthy wisdom teeth would be unnecessary and you could do more harm than good if any post-surgery issues like inflammation or bleeding occur. Plus, in case of tooth decay in your other molars, having your wisdom teeth as backup is a good idea. Still, you should always keep an eye on your wisdom teeth so they do not suddenly cause problems.
What Are The Disadvantages of Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are prone to a number of problems that may require you to visit our clinic more often.
First of all, wisdom teeth are quite hard to clean, as they are so far back and not as evident as your other teeth. Because of this, they can trap some food. In turn, this can cause other problems down the line.
Wisdom teeth are also more sensitive than your other teeth. Because they are weaker and more fragile, you can develop tooth decay in them easier. In the case of tooth decay or a damaged tooth, you actually have two options. You can either treat the tooth itself using fillings or dental crowns, or you can simply remove the tooth entirely. The second option is occasionally more advisable and hassle-free.
Wisdom teeth can also present you with a wide range of issues, such as periodontal disease, which is also known as gum disease. Periodontal disease involves the infection of the gums themselves, which in turn can affect the bone itself in your jaw. Periodontal disease has several key symptoms, such as swollen gums, bleeding (especially after brushing), pain, loose teeth, bad breath, and other issues. Periodontal disease is easily treatable, and it is also preventable by extracting wisdom teeth.
A way to prevent periodontal disease or treat it is by a dental cleaning. Dental cleaning is just that. It entails extensively cleaning your teeth professionally, removing any plaque or tartar buildup. Other problems that arise because of wisdom teeth include infections, damage to other teeth, cavities, and a build-up of bacteria.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Extracted?
Other than the aforementioned problems, wisdom teeth are extracted
for one main reason: impaction. Impaction occurs when the tooth does not grow out properly because there is simply no space for it. This results in two scenarios. They are either partially exposed wisdom teeth, or wisdom teeth embedded within the gums that did not grow out.
Partial wisdom teeth can trap bacteria and cause infections later. Impacted wisdom teeth can also damage the teeth next to them, with a build-up of cysts that is powerful enough to harm your jaw. With impacted teeth, your jaw simply might not have enough room to accommodate all of these teeth and let them grow out.
Before undergoing any wisdom teeth extraction surgery, our dentist will perform a digital x-ray of your mouth to make sure that the problem is actually the wisdom teeth. Afterward, you will have several options to deal with your affected tooth. If you decide to move forward with the extraction, either our dentist will perform the surgery or we may offer a referral to an oral surgeon.
Do Wisdom Teeth Cause Oral Cancer?
It is extremely unlikely that the mere existence of wisdom teeth can cause oral cancer
or mouth tumors. However, the area around the wisdom teeth is one of, if not the most, common area where tumors and oral cancer occur.
If you have any suspicion of oral cancer, our dentist will perform an oral cancer screening to verify if it is cancer or not.
Oral cancer has symptoms that are different from infections caused by wisdom teeth, such as neck swelling, pain, mouth ulcers, lumps, difficulty in chewing, losing weight, and finding it difficult to move your jaw or mouth for any reason. Oral cancer is often brushed aside, but it is quite dangerous and over half of its cases appear in a more advanced stage.
What Is Wisdom Tooth Extraction Like?
Wisdom tooth extraction is a very simple and safe dental surgery. Once your impacted wisdom tooth shows up in a digital x-ray, our dentist or the oral surgeon will perform the procedure. You may require some form of anesthesia.
The basic process of the procedure is cutting the gum, breaking the impacted tooth into pieces or loosening it up, and then removing it. You may experience some discomfort and swelling afterward.
Wisdom tooth extraction is advisable if your wisdom tooth begins to show any sort of problems, even if they are not as severe as tooth decay or periodontal disease. Just as you do not need to remove healthy wisdom teeth, there is no reason to keep the damaged ones either.
Dr. David Frausto, Dr. Cheryl Ligon, and our other Arizona dentists have many years of experience in treating patients with mild to severely impacted wisdom teeth. You should also follow all basic dental hygiene steps from brushing to flossing to getting a professional dental cleaning if needed.
Schedule an Appointment Today!
For more about wisdom teeth or wisdom teeth extraction, get in touch with our team at Bradshaw Family Dental.
To book an appointment over the phone, you can reach us at (928) 277-0076.