Wisdom teeth are your third pair of molars. They usually develop last, in your late teens or early twenties. If they come in straight and healthy, it may be fine to leave these large teeth intact. In other cases, wisdom teeth cause discomfort and oral problems. You can count on the experienced team at Stevenson, Fairchild & Surber OMS in Valparaiso & Merrillville, IN for evaluation, and removal if needed.
Wisdom teeth: What patients in Valparaiso & Merrillville, IN need to know
Third molars are called wisdom teeth because they emerge when you are presumably more mature and wiser. Sometimes they don’t emerge, though. This condition is called impaction, and it results when there isn’t enough room in the jaw. Partial bony impaction leaves just a portion of the tooth showing, or it may be completely encased in bone. Soft tissue impaction occurs when the tooth makes it through bone, but not through gums. Impaction can be a hygiene challenge and may trigger TMJ pain, headaches, or discomfort chewing.
Other possible complications from wisdom teeth include:
- Pericoronitis – Irritation and infection of gum tissue around the tooth.
- Cyst formation – A fluid-filled sac that develops inside the jawbone, eventually damaging bone and teeth as it expands.
- Crowding – As wisdom teeth force their way into the arch, they may push healthy teeth out of alignment. Tight, crooked, and overlapped teeth are more likely to harbor bacteria that causes decay and gum disease.
Removal of wisdom teeth
The first step to determining if wisdom teeth should come out is a comprehensive examination. We take panoramic digital x-rays for a clear view of third molars and surrounding tissues. This shows precisely where the teeth are in relation to delicate nerves and sinuses, and whether there is adequate room for eruption.
It is never too late to have problematic wisdom teeth removed. However, it may be beneficial to have extraction performed before root structure is fully developed – perhaps in early teen years – to avoid discomfort and difficulties. As we age, roots grow longer and bone becomes denser, adding to the complexity of extraction.
Extraction is performed at our on-site surgical suites, with appropriate anesthesia options to ensure your comfort. Call (219) 307-4382 to schedule a consultation.