Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last of the adult teeth to erupt into the dental arch. Wisdom teeth usually begin to come in during the teenage years, which some have called "the age of wisdom". The third molars begin to develop during the early teen years and are usually recommended for removal between the ages of 13 and 21.
Most people's jaw bones are not large enough to accommodate this third set of molars, which can pose a number of problems that usually require removal of the wisdom teeth. These teeth are positioned in the back of the mouth behind the second molars. They have little or no utility today, and like the appendix are considered vestigial organs.
Because there is often not enough room in the jaw to accommodate a third set of molars, wisdom teeth often create dental problems for patients. If there is not enough room behind the second molars for the teeth to erupt, they remain trapped beneath bone and tissue, or impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth and partially impacted wisdom teeth can become abscessed, infected and painful. Poorly positioned third molars can cause damage and decay in adjacent teeth. In some cases, cysts and bone destruction can occur which can cause problems for the patient and damage other teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause dental crowding and orthodontic relapse in patients who have completed orthodontic treatment.
Some of the problems that can be caused by wisdom teeth are listed below. Schedule a consultation with your Dallas wisdom teeth expert to find out more about your dental condition.
· Wisdom Tooth pain and swelling
· Jaw pain
· Dental crowding
· Infection and abscess
One of the biggest fears of patients having wisdom teeth removed is the fear of post-operative discomfort. The most common cause of pain following wisdom tooth extraction, especially in the lower jaw, is a dry socket. A dry socket is not an infection, but the result of an interrupted healing process. In a normal extraction site, a blood clot forms which acts as a matrix for healing of the bone and soft tissues. When a dry socket occurs, this blood clot is lost, leaving the socket open to the oral environment. Healing occurs more slowly, and without the protective blood clot, can be painful. Dry socket occurs in about 20% of lower extraction sites. The cause is non-specific, but most oral surgeons advise patients that dry socket can be caused by smoking, poor oral hygiene and wound care, disturbance of the healing site and even naturally occurring components in a patient’s own anatomy. Some patients are just naturally prone to developing a dry socket.
At Texas Wisdom Teeth and Dental Implants, an advanced technique is available in order to help prevent the development of a dry socket and speed the healing process. Using components taken from a patient’s own blood, platelet rich fibrin (PRF) is placed in the tooth socket as a dressing following tooth extraction. This autologous (from a patient’s own body) dressing has been shown to reduce healing time, reduce post-operative discomfort and jump start the healing process by up to three days, instantly. When used in wisdom tooth extraction, the incidence of dry socket is drastically reduced. In addition, the jaw bone itself begins to heal more quickly, making recovery easier on the patient.
Used by only a handful of DFW oral surgeons, PRF is considered the cutting edge of advanced oral surgery techniques. Be sure to ask whether adding PRF to your wisdom teeth removal procedure is the best option for you.