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Posts for tag: wisdom teeth

By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
October 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

When die-hard music fans hear that their favorite performer is canceling a gig, it’s a big disappointment—especially if the excuse seems less than earth-shaking. Recently, British pop sensation Dua Lipa needed to drop two dates from her world tour with Bruno Mars. However, she had a very good reason.

“I’ve been performing with an awful pain due to my wisdom teeth,” the singer tweeted, “and as advised by my dentist and oral surgeon I have had to have them imminently removed.”

The dental problem Lipa had to deal with, impacted wisdom teeth, is not uncommon in young adults. Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums), generally making their appearance between the ages of 18-24. But their debut can cause trouble: Many times, these teeth develop in a way that makes it impossible for them to erupt without negatively affecting the healthy teeth nearby. In this situation, the teeth are called “impacted.”

A number of issues can cause impacted wisdom teeth, including a tooth in an abnormal position, a lack of sufficient space in the jaw, or an obstruction that prevents proper emergence. The most common treatment for impaction is to extract (remove) one or more of the wisdom teeth. This is a routine in-office procedure that may be performed by general dentists or dental specialists.

It’s thought that perhaps 7 out of 10 people ages 20-30 have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Some cause pain and need to be removed right away; however, this is not always the case. If a wisdom tooth is found to be impacted and is likely to result in future problems, it may be best to have it extracted before symptoms appear. Unfortunately, even with x-rays and other diagnostic tests, it isn’t always possible to predict exactly when—or if—the tooth will actually begin causing trouble. In some situations, the best option may be to carefully monitor the tooth at regular intervals and wait for a clearer sign of whether extraction is necessary.

So if you’re around the age when wisdom teeth are beginning to appear, make sure not to skip your routine dental appointments. That way, you might avoid emergency surgery when you’ve got other plans—like maybe your own world tour!

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
January 20, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.

That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!

Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.

Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”

One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”  Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
June 11, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry
February 19, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Penny Creek Smiles
December 31, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

They are called wisdom teeth because when they appear it’s a sign that you have reached adulthood. They most commonly emerge when you’re between 17 and 21 years old, but unfortunately, getting them is not always a pleasant experience. Many patients have toWisdom Teeth have them extracted to ensure a healthy, attractive and pain-free smile. Explore the various reasons why your wisdom teeth may have to be extracted by a dentist at Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry in Mill Creek.

The Wisdom Teeth Are Erupting at an Angle
When a wisdom tooth grows in normally, it grows straight up and doesn’t interfere with the rest of your smile. They are the third molars, so they should ideally look just like the other two. Unfortunately, in some patients the wisdom teeth come in at an angle pushing through the gums horizontally. This causes pain and could potentially cause the other molars to become damaged. When the teeth come up horizontally instead of vertically, an extraction may be necessary.

The Teeth Are Partially Erupted
In some cases, wisdom teeth come up but they do not fully “erupt.” That means that a portion of each tooth is still hiding beneath the gumline. It is called an impacted wisdom tooth when it doesn’t fully erupt because of some kind of blockage from another tooth. An extraction may be needed because the area can become a magnet for bad bacteria and become infected, swollen and painful. 

You’re Getting Orthodontic Treatment
In some cases, your Mill Creek dentist will have to extract your teeth because it’s necessary for an orthodontic treatment (braces). Sometimes, the erupted wisdom teeth will apply pressure to the other teeth toward the front of the mouth, causing crowding or pain. Your dentist will evaluate whether you need to have the third molars extracted to ensure a successful orthodontic treatment.

Tooth Decay, Gum Disease or Infection
Patients who are diagnosed with gum disease or a tooth infection sometimes have to have their wisdom teeth extracted. This is often the case when the infection is causing extreme pain or has advanced to the point where a root canal won’t help.

Consult With Your Dentist
The dental team at Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry in Mill Creek can help you decide if you should have your wisdom teeth extracted. Call the office at (425) 337-7300 today to schedule a consultation.

By Penny Creek Family & Implant Dentistry
July 10, 2014
Category: Oral Health
At around the age of 17-25, our third set of molars comes in, which are also called “wisdom teeth.” Although all of your other teeth came in smoothly as a child, these are usually not quite as simple. Extracting, or taking out one or more wisdom teeth is a fairly common procedure that is performed on about 5 million patients every year. Mill Creek residents are assured a stress-free experience at Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry. Wisdom Teeth Extractions

Listed below are some usual reasons why wisdom teeth are removed:

  • The jaw in your mouth is too small to and cannot make room for all of your teeth. This can lead to crowding and can cause your wisdom teeth to become impacted and unable to emerge from the gums. This can be harmful to the adjacent bone or teeth.
  • The wisdom teeth are coming in crooked and can damage other teeth and structures of the jaw. This can cause bite problems.
  • If the wisdom tooth does not fully break through the gums, it can increase the chance of a bacterial infection.
  • A cyst can develop around a wisdom tooth that has not erupted and can cause infection.

Wisdom Teeth: What You Need to Know About Having One or More Removed

Taking out one or more wisdom teeth is typically an in-office procedure. Most procedures involve a local anesthetic to numb the area. If multiple teeth are removed, conscious sedation will most likely be administered as well. Our dentist will discuss the best options with you before the procedure.
After you are numb or properly sedated, the gum tissue at the extraction site may need to be opened if the wisdom teeth is impacted. The tooth will then be gently removed. The site will then most likely be stitched to help with healing.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Most patients can expect a few days of recovery after the teeth have been removed. It is important to rest when possible and take any pain medication that our dentist has prescribed you. A number of patients will experience bleeding where the teeth were removed. Biting on gauze pads and resting your head on pillows that are elevated can control it. Swelling of the cheeks is also common, and can be controlled by holding an ice pack on the outside of the cheek for a few minutes at a time.
Having your wisdom teeth removed can be a bit frightening and nerve wracking. If you need your third molars extracted, meet with our dentist at Penny Creek Family and Implant Dentistry. We will do the best that we can to make your experience as easy-going as possible.