Fix a problem - prevent a problem What are commonly referred to as your wisdom teeth are your third molars - generally the last four of 32 teeth to show up in your mouth. These teeth usually make their appearance between the ages of 17 to 25 and are located at the back of your mouth (both top and bottom), near the throat. The term “wisdom” comes from the idea that the molars surface at a time typically associated with increased maturity or “wisdom”. Why extract wisdom teeth? While not all wisdom teeth need to be removed, wisdom teeth extractions are usually performed because of a current problem such as pain, swelling, decay or infection. Additionally, it is used as a preventative measure to avoid serious problems down the road. If impaction is left untreated, a number of potentially destructive outcomes can occur, including: Damage to nearby teeth: Second molars (the teeth directly in front of the wisdom teeth) can be harmfully affected by impacted wisdom teeth, resulting in tooth decay (cavities), periodontal disease (gum disease) and possible bone loss.Disease: Although less common, tumors and cysts can occur in the areas near impacted wisdom teeth.Infection: Food and bacteria can become confined under the gum tissue, resulting in an infection. The infection can cause considerable pain and danger.Tooth Crowding: When wisdom teeth become impacted, it can put pressure on other teeth, causing them to become crowded, twisted and generally misaligned.When wisdom teeth are impacted, it can show up as several different degrees or types - based on the actual depth of the teeth within the jaw: SOFT TISSUE IMPACTIONThe upper portion of the tooth has broke through the bone, but the (gum) is covering part or all of the tooth’s crown. Therefore, the gum hasn't positioned properly around the tooth. Because it is hard to then keep the area clean, food becomes trapped below the gum and causes an infection resulting in pain and swelling. PARTIAL BONY IMPACTIONThe tooth has partially erupted but a part of the crown remains below the gum and adjoining jawbone. Again, because it is hard to keep the area clean, infection will frequently occur. COMPLETE BONY IMPACTIONThe tooth is completely encased by jawbone. This will result in more complex removal techniques. How to know you're at risk To know if your wisdom teeth are presenting you with either current or potential problems, Dr. Khullar will initially suggest a thorough examination. Digital and panoramic x-rays will be ordered to evaluate where your wisdom teeth are and see what problems exist. Additional risk factors will also be exposed through x-rays, such as deterioration or decay of nearby teeth. Early evaluation and treatment (usually performed in the mid-teen years) is suggested to identify problems. Early detection also improves the results when your teeth require extraction. Once your teeth have had a thorough exam complete with x-rays, Dentalways can determine if wisdom teeth extraction is required. What does the removal of wisdom teeth involve? Before removing a wisdom tooth, family dentist Dr. Khullar, will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area. To remove the tooth or teeth, Dentalways will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and removed any bone that may be covering the tooth. Then the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone will be removed, along with the affected tooth. After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches and depending on the severity, a pain reliever will be prescribed. The surgery doesn't require an overnight stay, and you will be released with post-operative instructions and medication to help manage any lingering pain, swelling and infection. Treatment now, relief forever If you have impacted wisdom teeth, they are coming in at an awkward angle or you are experiencing pain and swelling around your wisdom teeth, family dentist Dr. Khullar certainly recommends you take measures now, before problems become potentially worse. Wisdom teeth removal is a common and effective treatment and can save you unnecessary pain, infection and general discomfort in the future.