A pro answers: Is it time to pull wisdom teeth?

| October 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

Maj. Michael Hoffman discusses an oral surgery procedure by showing his patient a panoramic X-ray. (Capt. Emily A Bragg, DMD, Schofield Barracks Dental Clinic)

Story and photo by
Capt. Emily A Bragg, DMD
Schofield Barracks Dental Clinic

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Between the ages of 17-21 years old, most people start to develop wisdom teeth. Typically people have four wisdom teeth but it is not uncommon for someone to have more or less. When they come in straight behind your last tooth and are cleansable, there is no reason to extract (pull) them. Often times, though, wisdom teeth develop at an angle or below the level of the gums and jawbone.

The following are the main reasons why wisdom teeth need to be pulled:

•The wisdom tooth is positioned correctly but hard to clean. Wisdom teeth are really far back in your mouth and sometimes it’s hard to get a toothbrush back there. When a patient cannot keep the teeth from repeated cavities or gum disease, the teeth should be pulled to avoid problems or pain in the future.
•The wisdom tooth is partially covered by gums. If a wisdom tooth, or any tooth for that matter, is partially covered with gum tissue, this allows a pocket for bacteria to thrive and could cause a local infection, where the gums will be red and irritated all the time.
•The wisdom tooth angled toward the tooth in front of it. When a wisdom tooth is not positioned correctly and is angulated toward the tooth in front of it, it may push against its neighboring tooth and cause irreparable damage. In some cases the damage is so severe that both the wisdom tooth and the molar in front of it need to be pulled.
•The wisdom tooth is buried below the gums and jawbone. Although rare, an impacted wisdom tooth can cause a cyst inside the bone which may damage adjacent teeth and bone.

The mission of the Schofield Barracks Dental Clinic is to provide responsive and reliable oral and dental health services to sustain the readiness of the Force.

Make an appointment
If you would like to speak to a dental provider, please call 433-6825 to schedule an appointment. For more information, visit https://www.tamc.amedd.army.mil/offices/prdc/sbdc.html.

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Category: Health

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