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Wisdom Teeth Extractions: Following The Dentists Recommendation
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Have you recently been told by your dentist that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed? I would guess that the majority of people reading this have received the same unexpected news at a dental visit at some point in their lives. These same individuals have heard all of the horror stories associated with wisdom teeth extractions and would prefer to avoid the whole ordeal.

What a lot people have difficulty understanding is why? Why, when the teeth do not bother them, do they need to have them removed? Can't they just leave them alone until they bother me? I am going to explain to you the many reasons why it is important to follow the dentist's recommendation to have them removed sooner rather than later.

A big reason for wisdom teeth extractions is the lack of space. The wisdom teeth are the teeth that come in behind the 12-year molars in the very back of the mouth (Wisdom teeth usually show up between the ages of 16 and 25.). If you are able to fit the pad of one of your fingers on your gums behind this tooth and it fits there without touching the arch that goes up to the top teeth, then there is a slight possibility that the lower wisdom teeth would be able to fully erupt. Most people do not have this amount of space and need to have them removed for this reason.

Another reason for wisdom teeth extractions is poor hygiene. Now, I know you are saying that you are a good brusher and flosser - that you have good hygiene and I'm sure you do. The problem here is that this part of the mouth is very difficult to correctly brush. You are very close to the throat which can trigger the "gag reflex". I will be the first to admit that if something causes me to gag, I will avoid it. If brushing a certain area is triggering this response, I am sure that it won't be getting done regularly. Also, maneuvering a brush to thoroughly clean all areas of the wisdom teeth is difficult because it just doesn't fit. The cheek muscles will press against the teeth and it can be very difficult to fit the brush between the two.

Even if a wisdom tooth does have enough room to erupt, sometimes a flap of gum tissue (called an operculum) may cover the tops of these teeth and will hold food debris and bacteria. This can cause decay and bad breath rather quickly. Trying to extract a tooth that is damaged from decay can sometimes be very difficult and may require more trauma to the jaw bone when trying to remove the tooth fragments.

Another reason for wisdom teeth extractions is impacted teeth. Many people have wisdom teeth that are trying to erupt at the wrong angle. If you looked at a radiograph (x-ray), these teeth may look like they are lying on their side. If the top of the tooth, or crown, is angled toward the last tooth that is present in the mouth, many problems can occur. The patient may have waves of pain in their jaw that can be spread over weeks or months at times. This pain is the tooth trying to push through and erupt, but is unable to go anywhere because it is blocked by another tooth. This pushing can cause the root of that last tooth that is present in your mouth, the 12-year molar, to be damaged because of something called "root resorption". This damage cannot be reversed once it occurs and it can cause the 12-year molar to become unstable.

Another reason for wisdom teeth extractions is the completion of recent orthodontia (braces). If the wisdom teeth appear to be coming in at the wrong angle and will be pushing against that last tooth in the mouth, it can cause all of the teeth to shift. After someone has gone through years of being in braces, the last thing that they want to happen is to have all that progress erased. Many orthodontists will recommend the wisdom teeth be removed soon after the braces come off if they are present on the radiograph. Removing the wisdoms will prevent any shifting of the teeth and any retainers that the dentist makes to hold the new position of the teeth will not be affected.

A reason for wisdom teeth extractions at a younger age is the ease of healing. A lot of people that have been told they need to have their wisdom teeth removed, did not have them removed until later in life. They may have decided that they will deal with it when the teeth bother them, they may have been too busy, they may have been too afraid, or they may not have been able to financially. If you are young and are able to afford the procedure, don't wait to do it. People don't realize that there is more healing time involved the older you are. Your bones in general are harder the older you are and you do not regenerate bone as quickly as when you are younger. A teenager may have the teeth removed and bounce back very quickly, where an older person may be more uncomfortable for weeks. If you are older and employed, you will also have to take time off of work to do this procedure as well. This can be frowned upon by many employers.

Also, when someone waits until they are older to have their wisdom teeth removed, they give their teeth time to completely form the roots of the wisdom teeth. Sometimes the root is so long that it is very close to one of the main nerves in the jaw. These nerves runs along the ridge of the chin, one on each side. If the root of the tooth is close to this nerve and the tooth needs to be removed, the nerve can become damaged. If this happens, there is the possibility that you will lose feeling on that side of your jaw - possibly permanently. Your dentist and the oral surgeon will let you know prior to the surgery if this is a concern with the extraction. If the teeth were removed at an early age when the dentist first recommended it, the root would not have been completely formed and possible damage to this nerve would not be a concern.

Obviously, wisdom teeth extractions are not something that anyone wants to do. If you have been told by your dentist that you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, take his/her advice and schedule the procedure the first chance you get. They have your best interests in mind and will not advise you to do something that isn't necessary. They have seen enough patients to know who will have problems down the road and who won't. If you follow their advice and have them all removed at an early age, the recovery is quicker, less involved, and less of an interruption than you would have at an older age. You may be uncomfortable for a couple of days, but you will be glad that you took the advice and got it over with.

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