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The Wisdom of Wisdom Tooth Extractions

July 2, 2017

Modern dentistry has a focus on prevention. That means we work with patients on a regular basis to stop the majority of oral health concerns before they even begin. Unfortunately, there are some dental health issues that can’t be avoided with regular checkups at Sage Dental Care. One of the restorative treatments patients typically can’t avoid is wisdom tooth extraction, a common procedure for teens and young adults. Typically, we do our utmost to help patients preserve healthy teeth. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth rarely erupt from the jaw line without causing concerns. Around the age of twelve, we should be able to see the developing wisdom teeth on x-rays, and we can begin to create a treatment plan. If you’d like to find out more about wisdom teeth and tooth extractions in our Boulder dentistry practice, please don’t hesitate to contact the Sage Dental Care team.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

The third set of molars were given the name wisdom teeth in the 1700s because they erupt at a time when people are said to achieve adult knowledge. Most people have fully developed wisdom teeth in their late teens or early twenties. Like adult teeth, third molars were an evolutionary trait important to our ancient ancestors whose coarse diets and lack of oral hygiene often lead to tooth loss early in life, necessitating this additional set of teeth. Today, most people maintain their healthy smiles well past their teens and twenties, so wisdom teeth are no longer a necessary development.

Why Would I Need Wisdom Tooth Extractions?

Most of the restorative dentistry services available at Sage Dental Care focus on preserving natural tooth structure. However, there are some cases where tooth extraction is the best way to ensure the health of the smile. Wisdom teeth often fall into this category. Some of the reasons we recommend wisdom tooth extraction include:

  • Impaction – tooth is unable to erupt from the gum line or erupts at a less than ideal angel
  • Crowding – the jaw line lacks space to accommodate the third set of molars
  • Dental shifting – when allowed to erupt, wisdom teeth may move surrounding teeth out of their ideal alignment

How are Teeth Extracted?

The tooth extraction process is largely determined by the position of the tooth. When teeth have recently erupted from the gum line, we may be able to “pull” them. This means we’re able to numb the area around the tooth. Then, we shift the tooth back and forth releasing it from the supportive gum and bone tissue. Teeth that erupt a significant amount of time before removal may require a more complex method of extraction. The same is true of teeth that have failed to erupt. In both cases, surgical tooth removal may be necessary. We may have to cut into the gum tissue or break the tooth into small sections to ensure the safe and effective removal of the tooth.

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