Wisdom Teeth Surgeries Are Different for Older Adults
Most Americans get their wisdom teeth removed between the ages of 17 and 25, right when the teeth start to grow in. Some people, though, wait until they are older to consider wisdom teeth removal. Fear, financial difficulties, and poor insurance coverage can all cause a young adult to keep their wisdom teeth.
Issues later in life may require you to have wisdom-teeth removal surgery as an older adult. There are significant differences between teen and adult wisdom teeth removal that you should be concerned about if your dentist orders the surgery.
Older adults may have higher bone density, postoperative complications, and endure a more involved surgical procedure than younger adults.
Reasons for Wisdom Teeth Removal for Adults
Most people have their wisdom teeth removed for the following reasons:
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Growing in at the wrong angle
- Inadequate mouth space
- Cavities or gum disease
Dr. Martin keeps a close watch on his adult patients’ wisdom teeth. He recommends leaving the wisdom teeth intact as long as the teeth aren’t infected and don’t pose a risk to the teeth around them. In some cases, serious complications can occur in adults with intact wisdom teeth, such as eruption or infection due to poor oral health.
“It’s so hard to get back there and floss, and you have so many difficulties with them that sometimes we do suggest taking them out,” Dr. Martin says.
Adults with diabetes also are at higher risk for infection around their wisdom teeth, according to Dr. Martin, and this may cause a dentist to recommend surgical removal. Diabetic adults suffer a higher risk of infection around their wisdom teeth, which can also cause a dentist to order surgery. Dr. Martin recommends placing diabetics on antibiotics for a couple of weeks prior to the surgery to boost immune health and cut risk of infection.
Dr. Martin warns you to be wary of a dentist who quickly orders a removal surgery without reason: “If all of a sudden they say, you’re in your 40s and you’ve got to have all your wisdom teeth taken out, it’s probably a good idea to check with someone else.”
Teenagers and young adults have lower bone density. This means that oral surgery is easier to perform on younger adults than older adults, and young adults’ bones regenerate faster.
Your Dentist may need to cut more bone to remove a wisdom tooth in an older adult, according to Dr. Martin. This can lead to a more involved surgical procedure and a longer recovery time.
Higher bone density and a more involved surgical procedure can lead to a longer, more painful recovery time for older adults.
“So you’re basically planning on probably two weeks’ worth of healing before you get back to normal,” Dr. Martin says. “The bone has to heal and that takes three or four months. As adults, we have longer recovery time than the kids do.”
If you are interested in learning more about wisdom teeth removal for adults, visit Martin Taylor Dentistry today.