WISDOM TEETH: NOT SO SMART
Wisdom teeth or third molars arrive in the mouth between ages 17 and 25. They are at the very back of the mouth, left and right, with two on top and two on the bottom.
More often than not there is little or no room for wisdom teeth to grow, which may cause problems. They can crowd other teeth. They may become impacted causing pain and infection. If wisdom teeth come part way in they often get cavities or cause damage to the second molar.
If you are in this age group and get pain in your very back teeth, ear pain, or sinus pain this could be caused by your wisdom teeth.
The best way to find out if your wisdom teeth are or going to be a problem is with a panoramic x-ray. Digital panoramic x-rays are now available with low radiation and are cost effective. With this x-ray the dentist can talk to you about your condition and usually quote you a price.
Most wisdom teeth need to be removed. Age 18 is usually the best time for wisdom tooth removal. If you chose to wait the surgery can be more complex and healing time may increase.
If you wait (many do) until you have pain and swelling you will need antibiotics. Ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) will help the pain, but will not treat the infection. With an x-ray, a dentist will be able to best advise you on needed medications and treatment.
The cost of wisdom tooth removal will vary. These variables include difficulty of removal, type of anesthetic, amount of infection, and the number of teeth removed,. Some offices offer a free examination while others only charge for the x-ray. Ask before you make an appointment so you will not be surprised. The price for one wisdom tooth may be as little as $234 or could cost $800 or more. Be sure to check the variables (including necessary medications) before you commit to the surgery. This is not a good place to cut corners since it may lead to more problems down the road.
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