Wisdom teeth are usually the last teeth that erupt -- usually around the age of 17 or 18. Not everyone has their wisdom teeth: most people require wisdom tooth extractions, for a number of reasons. A common misconception about wisdom teeth is they must be removed. Realistically, this is not the case.
Wisdom teeth are generally removed because:
·They are erupting in to an abnormal position -- tilted, sideways or twisted.
·They are trapped below the gum line, orimpacted, due to lack of space in the dental arch.
·An infection, or pericoronitis, has developed from trapped food, plaque and bacteria.
·The way the patient's teeth bite together has changed, causing malocclusion of the teeth and misalignment of the jaws.
·The erupted wisdom tooth lacks proper hygiene because it is hard to reach, resulting in tooth decay.
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons specialize in dental surgery. Your dentist may choose to refer you to see a surgeon for your wisdom tooth extractions, or he might perform the surgery in his dental office. The most common reason for a referral to an oral surgeon is because of where the wisdom teeth are positioned and the difficulty level of the extraction. If you request general anesthesia, or IV sedation, you will likely be referred to see an oral surgeon.
The thought of having your wisdom teeth removed can be intimidating. Keep in mind that this procedure is done in your best interest. Recovering from wisdom tooth removal is not as tough as you might think. When followed accurately, the instructions given to you before your oral surgery and after your oral surgery will ensure that your recovery is as smooth as possible.