Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars in the back of the mouth and usually the last 4 of the 32 teeth to erupt. Some people are born without wisdom teeth. Others have enough room in their mouths to accommodate them. For most people, however, the wisdom teeth cannot come in all the way and need to be removed as young adults.
Niloufar Molayem, D.D.S. is an oral surgeon in Pasadena performing wisdom teeth extractions. This is a common procedure, performed under local anesthesia, IV sedation, or general anesthesia in our office surgery suite. Dr. Molayem will release you the same day of the surgery with post-op instructions and medications to relieve pain and swelling, if needed.
Problems with Wisdom Teeth
When a wisdom tooth cannot erupt completely, part of the tooth may be covered with a flap of gum. Food and bacteria can become trapped under the flap, which can cause pain, swelling and a low-grade infection known as pericoronitis, typically in the lower wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth may be impacted – blocked from coming in by bone or other teeth, or tilted under the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth sometimes cause pain, but not always. Some people only become aware of them when they show up on dental x-rays.
Even when wisdom teeth are not causing any pain, swelling, or infection at present, they still may cause problems in the future. Potential problems include decay, infection, crowding, damage to other teeth, and gum problems in adjoining teeth. More serious complications include cysts (fluid filled growths) that can cause permanent damage to teeth, bone, and nerves.
Reasons to Have Wisdom Teeth Extracted
Not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. If there is a chance they will cause problems in the future, it better to have them extracted when you are young, at a time when you heal faster, the roots of the teeth are not fully developed, and the bone around the teeth is not as dense.
Many people have their wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 17 and 25 for any of the following reasons:
- Wisdom teeth are impacted, trapped in the jawbone or gums, and cannot come in normally.
- Third molars are growing in at the wrong angle, pressing against the other teeth.
- Mouth is not large enough and jaw does not have enough room for another set of 4 molars.
- Bacteria and food trapped under gum flaps over the wisdom teeth is causing pain, swelling, and infection.
- Cavities or gum disease have developed in hard-to-reach third molars.
Niloufar Molayem, D.D.S. serves the Pasadena area, providing holistic, conservative, general and cosmetic dentistry services. Her approach is to use the least aggressive methods possible, while ensuring the well-being of the entire patient.
For many people, wisdom teeth can cause a range of oral health issues, from swelling and infection, to crowding of the surrounding teeth, to serious complications. If your wisdom teeth are causing problems, or you’re not sure if you need to have them extracted, schedule a consultation with Dr. Molayem.