Third molars are more commonly known as wisdom teeth. This additional set of molars usually begin to erupt sometime in the late teens to early twenties. If healthy and properly aligned, and your jaw has plenty of room, there is no reason to pull or surgically remove them. However, some patients don’t have enough room to accommodate their wisdom teeth which causes them to be misaligned or impacted. In order to avoid further complications, Dr. Cole will suggest wisdom tooth removal.
You may think that partially erupted wisdom teeth are not a big deal, as long as they are straight. However, partial eruptions are prone to decay and gum disease because they are hard to reach and the awkward position makes brushing and flossing difficult. In addition, partial eruptions may cause swelling, jaw stiffness, and pain. Therefore, wisdom tooth removal is required even for partial eruptions.
Dr. Cole will take a series of X-rays to determine if your wisdom teeth are forming and how they are developing in relation to your jaw and teeth. We’ll check on your wisdom teeth periodically to reevaluate any changes in alignment. Once Dr. Cole determines there in an impending problem, he will recommend wisdom tooth removal. Surgical extraction helps you to avoid further complications and more invasive procedures down the road. It is much simpler to remove the wisdom teeth around the age of 18, than to wait several years after eruption has occurred. Older patients will have denser bone and more developed roots making wisdom tooth removal more difficult. In addition, older patients generally experience longer healing times.
When wisdom teeth are still embedded beneath the gum in the jawbone, Dr. Cole will use surgical wisdom tooth removal techniques to extract the teeth. A small incision in the gum is made, and a portion of bone over the tooth removed. We typically remove the tooth in sections rather than as a whole to minimize the amount of bone removal that is necessary.
In some cases, Dr. Cole will refer patients to trusted peers for wisdom tooth extraction procedures.