We no longer need the extra set of molars that our earliest ancestors used to properly chew their food, but most of us still get them anyway. While some people have space in their mouth for wisdom teeth, most people don’t, and impacted wisdom teeth can cause serious problems for your oral health. At the Dental Office of Dr. Igor Babenkov in Roseville, California, D.D.S., Dr. Babenkov provides gentle and expert wisdom teeth removal so that his patients can keep their smiles healthy and happy. To learn more, schedule a consultation today by phone or online.
Wisdom teeth are your third set of molars and the last teeth to erupt in your mouth. They typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25, when you’re expected to have developed an increased maturity or “wisdom.”
Wisdom teeth are an evolutionary hangover of early humans, who needed them to better crush up their diets of uncooked meat, roots, leaves, and nuts. Modern cooking technology has made wisdom teeth essentially irrelevant to our health.
Many people no longer get wisdom teeth, and some can live with theirs, but most people don’t have enough room in their jaw to accommodate a third set of molars. When a wisdom tooth doesn’t have enough room to erupt through the surface, it becomes “impacted.”
There are a few types of impaction, differentiated by the degree to which the wisdom tooth has erupted:
The crown of the tooth has erupted through the bone, but not all the way through the gum. It can be difficult to keep this area clean and debris and bacteria can get trapped beneath the gum, leading to pain and swelling.
The tooth has partially erupted through the bone, but part of the crown remains below both the gum and jawbone. This type of impaction also frequently leads to infection.
The tooth is trapped inside the jawbone.
Impacted wisdom teeth don’t always need to be removed. Nonetheless, removal is very common, either because your impacted teeth have become infected or because you want to prevent the potential for future complications.
Untreated impacted wisdom teeth can lead to a variety of dental problems, including:
Schedule a consultation with Dr. Babenkov to determine whether you should have your impacted wisdom tooth removed.
Wisdom tooth extraction is an oral surgery and is thus performed by an oral surgeon. It’s one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the American Dental Association. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are specialists who have an additional 4-6 years of training after dental school in order to effectively treat craniomaxillofacial conditions.
Your extraction is a fairly simple outpatient procedure. Dr. Babenkov administers any one or combination of local anesthesia, sedation anesthesia, or general anesthesia to numb, relax, or sedate you. He then makes a small incision in your gum, removes the tooth, and closes up the incision with sutures.
You’ll be able to go home after the surgery and resume your daily activities within a week. It typically takes about six weeks for your mouth to completely heal, during which time you should stick to a diet of soft foods and avoid drinking through a straw. Any pain or discomfort you experience after the surgery should be treatable with pain medications and cold compresses to reduce swelling.
To learn more about how Dr. Babenkov makes wisdom teeth removal a safe and simple procedure, schedule a consultation today by phone or online.