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Wisdom Teeth


X-ray of jaw with wisdom teeth highlighted at Todd Rogers DentalAs an adult, you develop three sets of molars. Your first set often comes in around the age of 6. Your second set usually comes in about six years later, around the age of 12. Your third set of molars, more commonly known as the wisdom teeth, comes in around the age of 18 (some people get their wisdom teeth in their early 20s). Your wisdom teeth are the very last four teeth to erupt, and the ones that are most likely to cause you problems and a significant amount of pain. At Todd Rogers Dental, we can help to alleviate the pain caused by your wisdom teeth and give you back your quality of life, with wisdom tooth extraction.

Background on Wisdom Teeth


Several thousands of years ago, the wisdom teeth were a critical component in the jaw. They were essential for breaking down the coarse foods that made up a majority of the human diet. Back then, the jaw was larger, large enough to comfortably accommodate all 32 teeth without issue. When cooking became mainstream, the number of coarse foods humans ate decreased, reducing the importance of the wisdom teeth. Over time, the human jaw began to shrink, yet the wisdom teeth, now deemed to be vestigial organs by anthropologists, remain.

What Happens When Your Wisdom Teeth are Impacted?


There is a small percentage of people who have no issues with their wisdom teeth. They emerge without any complications and are properly aligned. For those who have no issues with their wisdom teeth, there is no reason to extract them. For a majority of individuals, however, the wisdom teeth become impacted. Impacted wisdom teeth are those that cannot properly erupt through the gum tissue, and can cause some different oral health problems:
•  Pericornitis. If the wisdom teeth erupt only partway through the gums, a pocket can form. Food particles and bacteria can become trapped in these pockets, and they are very difficult to clean out. As a result, a localized infection (pericornitis) develops.
•  Overcrowded teeth. The smaller human jaw often does not have the space for wisdom teeth. They continue to develop and emerge. If this happens, the wisdom teeth can put pressure on your already existing teeth, forcing them out of proper alignment. Misaligned teeth can cause a whole host of issues, including uneven tooth wear, jaw pain, and an increased risk for tooth decay and gum disease.
•  Tooth damage. If your wisdom teeth are growing at an angle toward your already existing teeth, they can damage the teeth below the gum line. This type of damage cannot be fixed with a crown.
•  Cysts. Cysts are fluid (semi-fluid or gaseous) filled sacs that can form as a result of tooth impaction. Untreated, they continue to grow, damaging your jawbone as they do.

Diagnosing Impacted Wisdom Teeth


If you are experiencing pain in the back of your jaw, it is important to schedule an appointment right away. We first need to diagnose impacted wisdom teeth before we can provide treatment. We begin with a thorough oral exam, checking your gums for signs of infection (redness and swelling). We will also take X-rays so that we can see the condition of your mouth below the gum line. We can see the development of your wisdom teeth, as well as if there is any damage to adjacent teeth or cysts. If we find your wisdom teeth to be impacted, we then create a treatment plan.
Wisdom Tooth Removal
There are two types of tooth extraction – simple and surgical. Impacted wisdom teeth typically require surgical extractions. After a local anesthetic, we make incisions in your gum tissue, exposing the impacted teeth and your jawbone. We then work to remove the teeth. This may involve the removal of a small amount of bone or breaking the tooth to remove it in segments. Once the teeth are removed, we clean the area and sew your gums closed.
If you suspect a problem with your wisdom teeth, it is important to seek treatment right away. Call Todd Rogers Dental today at (719)357-4425 to schedule your appointment.
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2465 Research Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80920

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