Wisdom Teeth - What Are They and Why Do We Extract Them?

Wisdom Teeth - What Are They and Why Do We Extract Them?

Dental extractions may sound intimidating, but this is a procedure we safely and successfully complete on a regular basis. Our Southwest Houston patients commonly undergo tooth extraction when it comes to impacted wisdom teeth.

What Are Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

To begin, a wisdom tooth is also known as the third molar; humans typically only have two molars in each quadrant of the mouth. It is not uncommon for our Bellaire and Sharpstown dentists to see patients that have one wisdom tooth in each quadrant, but we have also seen patients with no wisdom teeth at all, more than four, and even less than four.

A wisdom tooth is “impacted” when it does not have enough room to erupt, which is most often the case. This is because, throughout human evolution, third molars stopped being necessary because we stopped using our teeth to tear up our hard, raw food and switched to cooking it and eating it with utensils. Today, wisdom teeth typically begin to appear between the ages of 17 and 21, but in some people, their wisdom teeth appear at age 13 or 14. If wisdom teeth have not yet appeared by 25, chances are they never will. Interestingly enough, many believe that eventually, over the following generations, wisdom teeth will no longer appear.

Why Should Wisdom Teeth be Extracted?

One reason why we recommend extracting impacted wisdom teeth is because they tend to cause a lot of pain in the jaws.

The main reason why we extract them, though, is because they can easily cause damage to other teeth. Since the wisdom tooth is trapped beneath the gums, it is possible for a patient to develop painful cysts. An impacted wisdom tooth may also cause damage by making the neighboring teeth crooked in an attempt to make room for itself. By causing this crowding and crookedness, it becomes more difficult to brush and floss between all teeth, making our patients more vulnerable to dental cavities and gingivitis.

In rare cases, impacted wisdom teeth may become so damaging to a point where they cause an infection. The signs of infection are as follows:

  • Swelling gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Difficulty opening the mouth

Wisdom Tooth Extraction in Sharpstown and Bellaire

If you reside in the greater Southwest Houston area and are experiencing pain in the back of your jaw, please request an appointment so we can do an x-ray and evaluate your oral health. If you have impacted wisdom teeth, we will gladly book another appointment for dental extraction.