Your third molars, more commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the last of your teeth to erupt. They often make their appearance in your late teens to the early 20’s (which is how they received their name). These teeth are also the most common teeth to experience problems, leading to severe pain. At National Dental Williston Park, we can help to alleviate your pain and restore the health of your mouth with wisdom tooth removal.

A Brief History

Many, many years ago, our wisdom teeth served a purpose. They also fit very comfortably in a larger jaw. Our ancestors ate a diet that consisted of mainly coarse foods, and the wisdom teeth were important for helping to break these foods down. With the introduction of cooking, the human diet became less coarse. Over time, the jaw grew smaller, but the wisdom teeth remained. Today, anthropologists classify the wisdom teeth as vestigial organs.

What Causes Pain in Your Wisdom Teeth?

For some people, the wisdom teeth emerge with no issue. However, for many people, they cause significant pain. The most common cause of this tooth pain is due to impaction. Impacted wisdom teeth are teeth that will not erupt through the gum tissue. The wisdom teeth may be blocked, or they may be attempting to erupt at an angle. Your wisdom teeth can cause some different issues:

  • Overcrowding. Despite our jaws being smaller than our ancestors, we still develop the same number of teeth. Many people may not have the space required to accommodate 32 teeth. When your third molars attempt to erupt, they push against the adjacent teeth, forcing them out of alignment.
  • Damage to adjacent teeth. When your teeth are growing at an angle toward your existing teeth, they can cause serious damage, such as fractures. When your teeth are fractured, they become weak and susceptible to infections.
  • Cysts. Cysts can form as a result of impacted teeth. They are fluid-filled sacs that can cause serious harm to your jawbone. The longer they go untreated, the more damage your jawbone sustains.
  • Pericoronitis. In some instances, your wisdom teeth may only partially erupt. This area of your mouth can be more difficult to clean, leaving you susceptible to developing a localized infection known as pericoronitis.

How are Impacted Teeth Diagnosed?

Impacted wisdom teeth are diagnosed through an oral exam. We begin by looking inside your mouth. We check the back of your mouth, looking over your gums for signs of an infection. We will also take digital X-rays. These images allow us to see underneath your gum line. We can then check the angle at which your wisdom teeth are growing, and if there are any cysts that have formed. If we diagnose impacted wisdom teeth, we will use your digital images to develop a customized treatment plan for you.

How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

There are two ways in which teeth can be removed. The first method is known as a simple extraction. As the name suggests, this procedure is fairly simple. After a local anesthetic, we grip the tooth with forceps. The tooth is moved back and forth, widening the socket. When the socket is wide enough, we lift the tooth out.

Wisdom teeth are most often removed with a surgical extraction. We administer a local anesthetic, and sedation if needed. We then make incisions in your gums to expose the wisdom teeth and your jawbone. Next, we remove the tooth. This may require the removal of some bone mass. It may also require that the tooth is broken, and removed in pieces. Once the tooth is removed, we clean the socket and stitch the wounds closed.

If your wisdom teeth are causing you pain, call National Dental Williston Park today at (516) 686-9780.