The wisdom teeth (also known as third molars) begin developing in the upper and lower jaws in early childhood. By the time a person has reach 16 to 18 years old, the wisdom teeth begin to erupt into the mouth. For the majority of people who have a full set of teeth, the wisdom teeth are crowded out to the back part of each jaw where gum tissue remains draped over most of the tooth. Rarely, a person who has lost a molar or two during their early years will have space for a wisdom tooth to migrate forward as it erupts, and thus allow a more complete eruption. For the rest of us, that gum tissue draping over the incompletely erupted—and in some cases, entirely impacted in bone—wisdom teeth collect plaque and bacteria, which leads to inflammation of the overlying tissue and progressive bone loss on the adjacent teeth. For those completely impacted wisdom teeth, cysts may develop and grow to large proportions if left unchecked.
The ideal time to remove wisdom teeth is between 16 and 24 years old, as the wisdom teeth roots are smaller and, thus, further away from vital structures such as the mandibular nerve and the maxillary sinus. The shorter roots along with the softer, more pliable bone of a patient between 16 and 24 years old allow these teeth to be removed with less risk to those adjacent vital structures. Furthermore, younger patients heal incredibly quickly, which makes the overall recovery much less uncomfortable. For those patients who still have wisdom teeth at 25 years old or older, there is a slightly increased risk for bruising of the mandibular nerve, exposure on the maxillary sinus, or slower healing. In these cases, Dr. Singh may request a 3D scan to better evaluate a patient’s unique anatomy and risk.
What type of anaesthetic is used?