Wisdom Teeth

Amira Hassan, DDS -  - Dentist

Franklin Square Dental

Amira Hassan, DDS

Dentist located in Austin, TX

Wisdom Teeth
Misaligned wisdom teeth are one of the most common dental problems patients face, and also one of the most poorly understood. Amira Hassan, DDS with Franklin Square Dental in Austin, Texas, talks to her patients about whether they should keep their wisdom teeth or have them removed. Patient education is critical when it comes to making dental health decisions, and for many young people, that starts with understanding the wisdom teeth.

Wisdom Teeth

by Amira Hassan, DDS

What are the wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the molars that come in last. When they’re properly aligned, they serve to fill out the dental architecture and are a valuable asset. The problem is, by the time these teeth erupt, the mouth is often crowded, so they sometimes come in angled wrong. Wisdom teeth that fail to grow in properly can lead to complications like damaging adjacent teeth or injuring the supporting tissues.

There are a total of four wisdom teeth, two on top and two on the bottom. They generally erupt between ages 17-25.

What causes impacted wisdom teeth?

Impacted wisdom teeth fail to erupt, or push through the soft tissue. They may even still be enclosed in the jawbone. In some cases, the tooth pushes part way through the gum tissue, leaving a place for bacteria to enter and cause infection.

Symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth include:

  • Swollen gums
  • Redness
  • Bleeding gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Swelling of the face
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste
  • Trouble opening the mouth

Patients may experience any of these symptoms, but sometimes the only sign is that one or more wisdom teeth are still missing well into adulthood.

How can you tell if the wisdom teeth are in place?

That is something only Dr. Hassan can determine for sure. She exams the mouth and may do periodic X-rays to evaluate the development of the wisdom teeth, to see if they’re erupting normally and in alignment, or if they look problematic. She makes a recommendation on whether removal is appropriate based on that evaluation.

For some patients, it's better to take a preventive approach and get the wisdom teeth out before they can cause complications. Wisdom tooth extraction is easier and less painful when done at an early age, too.

How are extractions done?

It depends on the stage of development of the tooth. A wisdom tooth that is through the gum is pulled in the same way as any tooth. If the tooth remains under the soft tissue, Dr. Hassan makes an incision to expose the tooth. If a tooth is still embedded in bone, she may need to take out part of the bone as well.

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