Wisdom teeth are the last set of adult teeth to grow in the mouth. They typically erupt during a person’s teenage years or early twenties, but they can start developing under the gums as early as ages 10–12. We refer to these teeth as wisdom teeth because they usually finish growing in around the time a person transitions from adolescence to adulthood, or their wiser years.
Also known as third molars, they grow in behind your existing molars at the very back of your upper and lower jaws. Most people have four — one for each corner of the mouth — but it is not unusual for people to have three or fewer. In rare cases, people can have more than four. Over time, humans have developed smaller jaws, and today most people’s mouths are too small to fit the four additional molars. This lack of adequate space can cause a variety of oral health problems, including crowding or shifting of teeth, impaction or infection, and other issues.
Why should I have my third molars removed?
For many reasons, our oral surgeons in Sioux Falls, SD, recommend removal before the teeth have fully grown into the mouth. Usually, the early to mid-teen years is a good time to make sure they are not posing a risk to your oral health. Regular dental checkups are crucial in the management of wisdom teeth-related oral health conditions because even wisdom teeth that appear to be growing in properly can change course and start to cause problems.
Although removal is easier at earlier development stages, sometimes it is hard to know that there is a problem with your third molars before it is too late. When they have already grown in, it is still a good idea to have them checked regularly. Removal is possible even if they are fully developed, and taking preventive measures is important to preserve your oral health. Additionally, having wisdom teeth removed gives patients a chance to have their stem cells banked for future medical treatment.
What are the benefits?
There are many benefits to having your molars removed in our Sioux Falls, SD, office before they are fully developed:
- Easier procedure and recovery for patients. Third molars are smaller at earlier stages of development, which leads to a less invasive procedure and a faster healing time for patients.
- Prevention of oral health problems. Extracting the molars early can prevent oral health problems before they occur, saving you time, money, and discomfort later.
Wisdom Teeth Removal Procedure
Your pre-surgery consultation will involve a full oral exam by one of our oral surgeons. Your surgeon may take additional scans of your mouth to determine the exact location of your teeth before forming your treatment plan. If it is determined that your molars pose a threat to your oral health, then your surgeon will work with you to form an extraction plan. You will also be able to discuss your anesthetic options and any other questions you have during this appointment.
After administering the agreed-upon form of anesthesia, your oral surgeon will begin the procedure. First, your surgeon will lift the gum tissue to expose the tooth and remove any small pieces of bone or abnormal structures blocking the growth path. (If your tooth is already fully grown in, this exposure step will not be necessary.) Then, the tooth will be removed through the newly cleared area. Sometimes the tooth will be broken into pieces to make it easier to remove. After your teeth are removed, the surgeon will suture the surgical sites, and you will rest until your anesthesia wears off. Your designated driver will bring you home once the surgery is complete.
Wisdom Teeth Removals in Sioux Falls, SD
Our oral surgeons are experts at extracting third molars at any developmental stage. All oral surgeons are experts at administering anesthesia for the most comfortable extraction procedure possible. Most patients don’t even realize the procedure has begun by the time it is already over. If you think your molars may be in need of removal, contact us for more information. One of our staff members would be happy to schedule a consultation appointment at our Sioux Falls, SD, office with one of our skilled oral surgeons.