The first time many patients encounter an oral surgeon is when it’s time to have their wisdom teeth removed. The lack of familiarity with these procedures can seem scary and overwhelming at first, but when patients get more information, they feel reassured. Here is a guide to help you understand why impacted wisdom teeth need to be extracted and what you can expect from the procedure.
You may wonder why we even have these teeth to begin with if they’re only going to be removed. These large teeth helped our ancient ancestors process their diet, which included much tougher foods than those we eat today. Additionally, these early humans had no routine dental care, so they were far more likely to lose their other teeth, and the third molars were standing by as a replacement. However, modern humans have much smaller jaws and there is not enough room for these large teeth in most people’s cases.
Patients may also question why they need to undergo surgery for wisdom tooth extraction if they’re not experiencing pain or any other distressing symptoms. Unfortunately, impacted wisdom teeth can cause a number of problems as they try to push their way into a jaw that’s too small. Cysts, tumors and abscesses are just a few of the risks associated with impacted wisdom teeth. Unfortunately, though, it’s impossible to predict when or whether impacted wisdom teeth will become symptomatic. Rather than take a wait-and-see approach, patients may prefer to be more proactive to prevent these problems.
Furthermore, the procedure is simpler and more predictable in patients younger than 25 years old. As we get older, the roots of our third molars become more entrenched. As a result, it becomes more challenging for the oral surgeon to remove them. Not only is wisdom tooth extraction more complex in older patients, but it takes longer for them to recover, too.
Wisdom tooth extraction takes place in an outpatient setting, and the procedure is usually completed in a few hours. Any surgery, including wisdom tooth extraction, is associated with some risks. Your surgeon will educate you on these risks and give you instructions on how to prevent them.
Would you like to know more about your wisdom teeth and the benefits of having them removed? Call our team at Northern Texas Facial & Oral Surgery to schedule an initial consultation.