At our Dentist office here in Charlotte, we’ve been getting quite a few questions as the summer approaches about wisdom teeth.
What are Wisdom Teeth?
In general, most of us are going to have all 32 of our teeth. There are exceptions where some people will have less, and some people will have more. The wisdom teeth are known as our third molars and are the furthest back tooth.
The first molars are usually called the 6 year old molars, and the second molars are the 12 year molars. They’re called this because of the approximate age that they’ll erupt. Our third molars generally will start erupting a little later, but the age varies because so many of them get stuck and never make it through. But the mid to late teens is when we’ll start to notice issues related to their eruption.
Why do third molars need to be extracted?
First lets mention that not everybody will need their third molars removed. But a vast majority of people will, for the simple fact that there is no room.
With an impacted tooth, there can be several consequences. Pain from the inflammation around the gum tissue and jaw. Erupting third molars can also cause damage to the second molars. And impacted molars can form cysts around them.
When is the best time to get them extracted?
There’s a risk benefit ratio. The earlier they are taken out the less complications one would endure. A great age is the high school years. We’ll take an x-ray to track the development and path of the third molar. If it looks like it’ll be impacted we’ll then check the root development. We like to see about â…” of the roots formed for an extraction. If not enough of the root is formed then we’ll run into problems with the tooth rolling in the socket and not being extracted as easily. If the roots are fully formed we then run into the issue of being close to the nerves of the jaw and potential root tips breaking off. But that’s not to say that we couldn’t remove the teeth at either end of the spectrum.