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Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom Teeth in Spokane, WA
For your long-term oral health, it is best to have your wisdom teeth removed as a young adult. Wisdom teeth also referred to as your third molars, are frequently problematic. Dr. Leale is happy to review the status of your wisdom teeth, their roots, and provide you further information on the best course of action for your specific molars. Scheduling an appointment can help us better determine customized treatment.

Wisdom teeth are the third row of molars in your mouth. They gained their nickname of wisdom teeth due to being the last teeth to erupt, meaning the patient has gained wisdom by the time they come into place. For most patients, this will be between the ages of 16–20 when the patient is in young adulthood.

Why are wisdom teeth problematic?

After considerable time, wisdom teeth are no longer evolutionary relevant. Humans today have a smaller skull, and our current jawline often cannot adequately support this third molar without causing havoc to our other teeth due to limited space. There are several reasons why wisdom teeth are known to be problematic, including:
•  Inadequate Space: Most patients have inadequate space for a wisdom tooth to properly erupt. With insufficient room, wisdom teeth are often pushed out of alignment, or they cause other teeth to be pushed out of alignment, and finally, they can be impacted or unable to fully erupt. Changes to your bite, also known as a malocclusion, can cause jaw problems and pain. Teeth that are impacted are subject to decay from trapped bacteria that the patient is unable to reach.
•  Decay: The distant placement of wisdom teeth leaves them susceptible to decay. Patients can easily miss food, debris, and plaque that naturally gathers around all of our teeth, including the wisdom teeth. They are difficult to brush fully and difficult to floss.
•  Sinus Issues: Besides spacing and decay issues, wisdom teeth can also cause problems with sinuses. The position of the upper wisdom teeth is very close in placement to maxillary sinuses. Patients may be surprised to find that they had suffered problems with congestion, pain or pressure of their sinuses due to these teeth.

Removing your Wisdom Teeth

Though we can, in most cases, wisdom teeth are removed by an oral surgeon. This is due to wisdom teeth removal being a surgical procedure, which patients are often sedated for. A surgical extraction is defined by the fact that cuts are made into the tissue for the removal of the teeth. Patients who have their wisdom teeth removed as young adults will find this process easier, while the roots are still shorter than patients who have allowed the teeth to remain in place long enough for the roots to fully extend and grow a hook shape. The first couple of days following surgery are often uncomfortable; we recommend the patient take the full medication and tips provided. Additionally, they will want to be aware of any unusual effects, such as unusual bleeding, swelling or other symptoms of infection. Within 3–4 days post surgery most patients are able to resume regular activities.
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