Wisdom Teeth

Male dentistMost people accept that wisdom teeth removal will happen at some point in their life. However, those same people might also be thinking about why such an extraction may be necessary or what the actual procedure is like.

At Mint Dental Alaska, we’re happy to provide wisdom teeth extraction services to patients in Anchorage, but we also want our patients to know the extractions are necessary. Here, we’ll explain some of the most common reasons why our dentists recommend wisdom teeth extraction.

Why do I need my wisdom teeth removed?

So, why do so many patients need their wisdom teeth removed? The simplest answer is that wisdom teeth have the potential to create a number of oral health issues in the future. Some of them become issues as soon as the wisdom teeth erupt from the gums, but others are high-risk future problems that could develop if the wisdom teeth are left to grow on their own.

wisdom-teeth-impacted2The most common issues related to wisdom teeth are:

  • Impacted teeth: For some reason, although humans have developed a third set of molars called the wisdom teeth, the jawbone didn’t develop to adapt to the change. A lot of the time, a patient’s jawbone might not be large enough to allow the wisdom teeth through. As a result, when the teeth do begin to grow in where there’s not enough space, they become impacted. Impacted teeth can be very painful and can have repercussions throughout the mouth, extracting the wisdom teeth early on prevents these side effects.
  • Crooked teeth: Like ordinary teeth, wisdom teeth can also grow in crooked, sideways, or otherwise misaligned. Because of space issues, it might not always be possible to fix the alignment via orthodontia. In situations like these, it could be easier to extract the teeth than to go through the trouble of maintaining the teeth.
  • Infection: Sometimes, the wisdom teeth don’t erupt from the gums completely. This might not sound too bad, but when the wisdom teeth only grow in halfway, the resulting “flap” of gum tissue can trap all sorts of food and germs that can circulate through the mouth. Because it can be hard to reach areas like these with your toothbrush, infection can easily develop, causing much more serious problems that will require more expensive and extensive dental treatment.
  • Accessibility issues: Wisdom teeth can develop cavities and gum disease just like every other tooth in the mouth, but, unlike the other teeth, they aren’t as easily accessible to a dentist. Because of how deep in the mouth the third molars are, it’s not always easy or even feasible for a dentist to reach all the way in to clean and maintain the teeth. If you are particularly vulnerable to cavities or gum disease, your dentist may recommend that you have them extracted just to prevent future struggles with taking care of them.

As you can probably tell, the majority of dental patients fall under one of the at-risk categories listed above, which is why so many people get wisdom teeth extractions done as soon as the teeth are ready, sometimes as early as age 16.

If you or a family member need to get your wisdom teeth removed, or if you have more questions about potential risks you might be facing, make sure to talk to an Anchorage dentist! At Mint Dental Alaska, our dentists are qualified to diagnose and treat patients with wisdom teeth related issues. Simply call us today at (907) 646-8672 to set up an appointment!