Fairbanks Dentist Offers Wisdom Tooth Removal
Wisdom teeth may not make you wiser, but they can cause you pain if they become impacted or erupt only partially. The third set of four molar teeth erupt at the back of your mouth behind your existing set of molars when you're around 18 to 25 years old. These teeth got their name from when they appear; as a visible sign of approaching adulthood, they also implied a more mature outlook on life.
Modern dental care has made wisdom teeth obsolete. When tooth loss and erosion was normal, having a third set of molars grow to replace the missing teeth was beneficial. Better dental care means keeping your teeth, leaving little room for the new set. Fortunately, your Fairbanks dentist who has taken such good care of your teeth that you have no room for new ones can also schedule your wisdom teeth for removal when necessary.
Why Extract Wisdom Teeth?
Without sufficient room to grow in straight, wisdom teeth may come in crooked, grow sideways through tender gum tissue or fail to erupt completely from your gums. As your wisdom teeth push their way in, they change your dentition, often causing your teeth to become crowded. Crowded teeth are more difficult to keep clean, leaving you susceptible to tooth decay and gum infection. As your bite profile changes, you may have trouble chewing properly. Incomplete eruption leaves pockets around new wisdom teeth that can become havens for infectious bacteria. Teeth that grow sideways can be painfully rough against your tongue or inner cheek.
Aside from the health reasons to slate wisdom teeth for removal, cosmetic reasons also enter into the decision to schedule an appointment with your dentist in Fairbanks AK. Your wisdom teeth are too far back in your jaw to be seen by anyone but your Fairbanks dentist, but the changes they cause are readily visible. Growing wisdom teeth slowly jostle other teeth out of position like pushy people at the back of a crowded elevator, causing misalignment in your front teeth. A beautiful smile starts all the way at the back of your mouth, so have crowded wisdom teeth removed to keep all your teeth straight and healthy.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
In some people, there is so little room for wisdom teeth to grow that the new teeth never manage to breach the gumline. Teeth that remain submerged beneath your gums are considered impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth may cause pressure and pain as the growing tooth presses on nerves. You might not notice discomfort from your impacted teeth, but below the surface of your gums, the new wisdom teeth still press against your existing teeth, altering your bite and creating crowding problems.
While fully impacted wisdom teeth never show themselves above the gums, partially impacted teeth crest the gumline only slightly, leaving most of the tooth hidden within the bone and soft tissue of your jaw. When you chew, food particles make their way into the pocket of tissue surrounding the partially erupted tooth. Brushing and flossing can't reach into those pockets and clean them thoroughly, so they become reservoirs for bacteria.
What to Expect from Wisdom Tooth Removal
X-rays remain the diagnostic tool of choice for impacted wisdom teeth. If the x-rays show your wisdom teeth growing in unwanted ways, you can make an appointment for extraction. Once you've scheduled impacted or otherwise problematic wisdom teeth for removal, your Fairbanks dentist will give you a list of things not to do after the removal procedure. Your dentist in Fairbanks AK can give you more specific advice on recovery time based on your individual case. Plan for some down time after the removal; even a simple extraction may leave you uncomfortable for a short time after the procedure. It's a small price to pay for a lifetime of better dental health.
John P. Bast, D.D.S., Inc.
570 University Avenue
Phone: (907) 479-2206