If you don’t normally fear the dentist but dread the thought of your wisdom teeth being removed, you’re not alone. Many people who don’t otherwise have dental anxiety get nervous when they think about their wisdom teeth. In fact, many of our patients have asked about them even before they were experiencing symptoms! Denton, TX dentist Dr. Samantha Leatherwood offers personalized and compassionate dental care to patients who want to learn more about their wisdom teeth and whether they need them removed.
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to erupt, usually between the ages of 17-25. They are clinically called “third molars” because they are similar to the first two sets of molars. Wisdom teeth often erupt in pairs, although some patients notice them coming in all at once. Chances are, your dentist is able to spot them beneath the gums on a dental X-ray before you are able to feel them or know they are there.
Why Do People Need Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Dentists look for specific indicators that signal a possible need for removing wisdom teeth.
- Pericoronitis: When wisdom teeth begin erupting (coming out) of the gums, a flap of gum tissue can develop, which may trap leftover food particles and oral bacteria. This infection, called pericoronitis, irritates the surrounding gums, making the spot difficult to clean and can even occur in wisdom teeth that have not erupted yet.
- They become impacted: Many people see “impacted” and think “infection,” but this is not always true. When the wisdom teeth are blocked by teeth and are unable to erupt, they are referred to as impacted. While some patients experience pain or discomfort when this happens, many others don’t realize they have impacted wisdom teeth until a dentist finds it on an X-ray.
- The dentist suspects a risk of future problems: If your dentist determines there is a risk of future problems by leaving the wisdom teeth in, they may suggest extraction. Performing wisdom tooth extraction is easier on younger patients, so even if you haven’t experienced problems yet, your dentist may recommend removal to prevent a more difficult procedure in the future.
Conservative Wisdom Teeth Treatment in Denton, TX
It’s important to know that not everyone with wisdom teeth will need them removed. Sometimes they erupt with no problems, or they can be managed without surgery. There are several factors to be considered, so it’s important to have regular dental check-ups, especially as a teen and young adult. Patients in the Denton, TX area who want to learn more about wisdom teeth removal can schedule an appointment with our dental team at Leatherwood Dental online or call us at 940.398.0181.