To pull or not to pull, that is the question! Here’s what you need to know about wisdom teeth and making the decision to remove them.
Your wisdom teeth, your third and final set of molars, typically start to come in during the late teen or early adult years of tooth development. Because of the way your jaw develops, wisdom teeth do not always fit cleanly behind your second set of molars. Wisdom teeth that do not have enough room may become impacted (or blocked) below the gum line and push existing teeth out of alignment. For this reason, dentists often recommend proactive wisdom teeth removal before the emerging structures can do any damage. However, more dentists are starting to recommend retaining your wisdom teeth and keeping them under close observation instead.
While opinions may differ, the essential wisdom you need comes from weighing the pros and cons with your dentist. Use your Little Rock dentist as an expert tooth consultant when it comes time to talk wisdom teeth.
Cons of Wisdom Teeth Removal
Since your permanent set of adult teeth are used for the rest of your life, it may not make sense to remove a perfectly good set of molars. Due to the risk of surgical complications, dentists are starting to encourage forgoing wisdom teeth removal if these teeth look properly aligned and in good condition. For some patients, wisdom teeth may not cause any gum pain or affect other teeth.
The main drawback of electing to have your wisdom teeth removed preventively is the risk of infection, bleeding, and other surgical complications. Although these complications are rare, it’s a disclaimer your dentist has to make. Additionally, your Little Rock dentist does use anesthesia to numb your mouth before the tooth extraction and in rare cases, these numbing agents can reduce feeling in your mouth for weeks or months afterward. If you have an allergy or other negative reaction to anesthesia, tell your dentist before you discuss removing your wisdom teeth or having any kind of oral surgery.
Pros of Wisdom Teeth Removal
If your wisdom teeth start to grow in crooked or become impacted, your dentist will need to extract them to protect your teeth, gums, and bite alignment. Wisdom teeth can also cause cysts, gum disease, tooth decay, and infection in some cases. As your teeth grow and develop, your dentist will take regularly scheduled x-rays to closely watch your erupting wisdom teeth for telltale complications. If the x-rays indicate a problem, or you develop intense oral pain, you may need to have the wisdom teeth removal procedure performed.
By electing to have preventative wisdom tooth removal performed, you reduce the risk of developing gum pain, nerve damage, or bite alignment issues from improper growth patterns. Preemptively removing the wisdom teeth before any signs of possible complications appear can also potentially save you time and money in an emergency dental situation. If you end up requiring an emergency extraction after undergoing weeks or months of close observation, all of that effort was for naught. Furthermore, early removal of the erupting wisdom teeth often goes much smoother than extractions done after the root system fully develops.
Schedule a Consultation with Your Little Rock Dentist
Every patient’s wisdom teeth are unique, so the best decision for you is probably going to be different from a decision your friend or family member has made.
Make an appointment for a wisdom tooth evaluation at Arkansas Family Dental in Little Rock by calling 501.683.8886 today. Your dentist will perform an examination, review your x-rays, and speak with you about your options to help determine the best course of action for your wisdom teeth.