WISDOM TEETH Are Not So Wise

Wisdom teeth are molars and the last in line in the upper and lower jaws.

Wisdom teeth are the last to develop and grow in when you are “older and wiser”,

 usually between 16 and 20 years of age.

 

YEARS OF ORTHODONTIC THERAPY

ARE AT RISK

 Impacted wisdom teeth can grow in almost any direction.  Often there is not sufficient room for wisdom teeth to erupt into the proper position and they can cause pressure and pain.  Frequently they will contribute to shifting of the teeth, including the front teeth.

TOOTH DECAY

Wisdom teeth can be hard to clean leading to decay of both the wisdom tooth and damage to the adjacent molar which may also have to be extracted.

CYSTS AND TUMORS

Wisdom teeth develop inside a sack of tissue called a follicle.  If the tooth does not erupt fully this tissue can develop into a cyst or tumor. People who have elected not to have wisdom teeth removed should have them examined and x-rayed regularly in order to detect pathology early.

JOINT PROBLEMS (TMJ)

The lower jaw swings closed with the lower teeth meeting the upper teeth much as the hinge on a door allows the door to swing closed smoothly.  The presence or eruption of wisdom teeth can influence the position of the teeth so that the teeth do not meet exactly and thus transmit excessive forces to the temporomanibular joint (TMJ) causing pain.  Persistent pain in the joint can lead to destruction of the joint requiring joint therapy, surgery or in some cases joint replacement.

INFECTION

When the wisdom tooth partially erupts, it is particularly susceptible to infection (pericoronitis) and decay.  Recent studies draw a strong correlation to generalized gum disease (periodontitis) and wisdom teeth.  Severe infection can spread to the cheek, neck and throat requiring hospitalization.

TRAUMA

The presence of impacted wisdom teeth results in an increased possibility of jaw fractures from facial trauma. A wisdom tooth growing sideways can irritate the cheek or tongue, and interfere with your bite. 

As we age, the risks associated with wisdom tooth removal, as well as post-operative complications increase. The best time for removal is before the roots fully develop, usually 15 years old for girls and 16-17 years old for boys.  A consultation exam and x-rays allow us to evaluate the level of development of the tooth and jaws and determine when it is best to have wisdom teeth removed.

 

WISDOM TEETH CAN BE REMOVED PAINLESSLY WITH:

 

  • Local anesthesia (“novacaine”)
  • Sedation
  • General anesthesia in the office or surgical center  

 

The costs of removal are often covered by medical or health insurance, not only dental insurance.   

  All wisdom teeth are usually removed in one visit, however fewer can be removed to reduce expense.


If the wisdom teeth will not erupt normally and become functional, have the potential to cause severe problems, and since the risks of removal are lowest with early removal, it is beneficial to avoid a problem rather than wait for one.

 


 JEFFREY A. KIMELMAN, DMD PC                                                             

 TOWER COMMONS                                                  

 123 Egg Harbor Road, Suite 500                                       

  Sewell, NJ  08080                                                                       

  856-227-8888                                                                                  


  
PAVILIONS OF VOORHEES   

  2301 Evesham Road, Suite 404

  Voorhees, NJ 08043
  856-770-1222

   NJ  Specialty Permit   3468 

   Anesthesia License 0396
  Member American Association of Oral And Maxillofacial Surgeons