Do Wisdom Teeth Need to Be Removed?

Pediatric Dentistry for Avon, Connecticut

Wisdom Teeth Are Useful If They Grow Properly

The first molars usually erupt around the age of 6, the second molars around the age of 12, and the third molars, or wisdom teeth, between the ages of 17 and 21. One wisdom tooth is located in each corner of the mouth. The wisdom teeth are no different than other teeth. They are useful as long as they grow properly, have a good bite relationship, and are surrounded by healthy gum tissue.

Unfortunately, things don’t always work out right. If a wisdom tooth is impacted, it only partially emerges through the gums. This can create a passageway that is difficult to see and clean. Bacteria can grow and cause gum disease or an infection. A wisdom tooth might not have enough room to grow and may erupt at the wrong angle, even horizontally. This can cause pain and other problems. In some cases, a wisdom tooth can remain hidden under the gums. If these problems occur, it may be necessary to remove the tooth.

Many dentists recommend removing wisdom teeth before they are fully developed to prevent problems, such as damage to adjacent teeth, cavities, crowding, and gum infections. Extraction is usually done during the teenage years. It is easier and less painful to remove wisdom teeth from a younger patient because the roots are not fully formed, the surrounding bone is softer, and it is less likely that the roots are growing near the nerve in the lower jaw. If removing the wisdom tooth is put off, there is a greater risk of nerve damage. Younger patients generally have less pain when they have their wisdom teeth removed and recover faster than adults.

If your child’s wisdom teeth are fully erupted, functional, and healthy, it may not be necessary to extract them. Your dentist can examine your child’s teeth, take x-rays, and discuss the best course of action.

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David Epstein
A.B., D.D.S., M.S.D.



15 Dec 2018 02:27 PM