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Posts for tag: wisdom teeth

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
August 09, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

During election season, you'll often hear celebrities encouraging you to vote. But this year, Kaia Gerber, an up-and-coming model following the career path of her mother Cindy Crawford, made a unique election appeal—while getting her wisdom teeth removed.

With ice packs secured to her jaw, Gerber posted a selfie to social media right after her surgery. The caption read, “We don't need wisdom teeth to vote wisely.”

That's great advice—electing our leaders is one of the most important choices we make as a society. But Gerber's post also highlights another decision that bears careful consideration, whether or not to have your wisdom teeth removed.

Found in the very back of the mouth, wisdom teeth (or “third molars”) are usually the last of the permanent teeth to erupt between ages 17 and 25. But although their name may be a salute to coming of age, in reality wisdom teeth can be a pain. Because they're usually last to the party, they're often erupting in a jaw already crowded with teeth. Such a situation can be a recipe for numerous dental problems.

Crowded wisdom teeth may not erupt properly and remain totally or partially hidden within the gums (impaction). As such, they can impinge on and damage the roots of neighboring teeth, and can make overall hygiene more difficult, increasing the risk of dental disease. They can also help pressure other teeth out of position, resulting in an abnormal bite.

Because of this potential for problems, it's been a common practice in dentistry to remove wisdom teeth preemptively before any problems arise. As a result, wisdom teeth extractions are the top oral surgical procedure performed, with around 10 million of them removed every year.

But that practice is beginning to wane, as many dentists are now adopting more of a “wait and see” approach. If the wisdom teeth show signs of problems—impaction, tooth decay, gum disease or bite influence—removal is usually recommended. If not, though, the wisdom teeth are closely monitored during adolescence and early adulthood. If no problems develop, they may be left intact.

This approach works best if you maintain regular dental cleanings and checkups. During these visits, we'll be able to consistently evaluate the overall health of your mouth, particularly in relation to your wisdom teeth.

Just as getting information on candidates helps you decide your vote, this approach of watchful waiting can help us recommend the best course for your wisdom teeth. Whether you vote your wisdom teeth “in” or “out,” you'll be able to do it wisely.

If you would like more information about what's best to do about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.”

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
April 15, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

Is it time for your teen to have their wisdom teeth extracted?

For the majority of teens (and sometimes adults, too!), getting wisdom teeth removed tends to just be a common part of growing up. In fact, around 10 million wisdom teeth are extracted each year. Our Fayetteville, GA, dentist Dr. Jeffery Kendrick at Heritage Dental Associates can easily determine when wisdom teeth need to come out.

Some people may never even notice any pain or discomfort when their wisdom teeth come in, so they may wonder why these teeth need to be removed in the first place. However, wisdom teeth can become impacted or get stuck. If you or your teen’s mouth is too small to make room for these molars, they could even grow in at an angle. This can ultimately cause damage to neighboring teeth. If you wait to have wisdom teeth removed, complications can occur including fractured teeth, severe bleeding, and numbness.

So, when might our Fayetteville, GA, dentist recommend a wisdom tooth extraction?

  • If the wisdom tooth is causing pain, discomfort or other problems
  • If the X-rays show future complications
  • If the wisdom teeth are causing damage to other teeth
  • If the teeth are causing damage to the jaw (this often occurs when cysts form around the wisdom tooth)
  • If they cause sinus-related problems
  • If they cause gum irritation and inflammation
  • If they are causing infections
  • If they are causing cavities
  • If the wisdom teeth could impact the alignment of your teeth (this can be particularly disheartening for a teen who has already had braces to correct his or her smile)

Your teen should be seeing the dentist every six months for dental cleanings anyway, so at some point, your dentist will notice either through X-rays or through a regular exam that the wisdom teeth are coming in. While there is no set age, most wisdom teeth are removed between the ages of 18 to 24.

If it’s time for you or your teen to have their wisdom teeth removed in Fayetteville, GA, turn to Dr. Kendrick and his caring, gentle dental team here at Heritage Dental Associates for an extraction. To schedule a consultation, call us today at (770) 460-9795.

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
June 21, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

If all goes normally, we have most of our permanent teeth as we enter puberty. Except, though, when it doesn't—sometimes incoming permanent teeth don't fully erupt, often because there's not enough room for them on the jaw. This can leave all or part of a tooth still up inside the gum and bones.

This condition is known as impaction, and it can cause problems with a person's bite and their smile. This is especially true of the upper canines, those pointed teeth located just under the eyes. Without them present, a person's smile can look oddly different. Moreover, it can worsen their bite and increase the risk of trauma and disease for nearby teeth.

Fortunately, there may be a way to coax impacted canines into erupting into their proper position on the jaw. It will involve, though, some minor surgery and orthodontic intervention to accomplish that feat.

First, though, a patient with missing canines should undergo a thorough orthodontic evaluation. This exam will reveal not only what may be going on with the missing teeth, but how the whole bite has been affected. Knowing the big picture will help direct the next treatment steps.

After pinpointing the impacted teeth's exact position (usually through x-rays or cone beam CT scanning), we then decide whether it's feasible to attempt to expose the teeth. Sometimes, a tooth's position is so out of place that it may be best to remove it and consider a dental implant or other restorative measures.

If it is in a workable position, then the impacted teeth would be exposed surgically (usually by an oral surgeon or periodontist). The surgeon would then bond a small bracket to the exposed tooth and then attach a small chain.

After suturing the incised gum tissues back in place, the chain extending outward from the gums would then be looped over orthodontic hardware attached to other teeth. This will place downward pressure on the upper canine tooth, and over several months prod it to fully erupt.

This may sound like an elaborate procedure, but it's fairly routine and predictable. As a result, a patient can finally get the full benefit of all their teeth, enhance their dental health and transform their smile.

If you would like more information on dealing with impacted teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Exposing Impacted Canines.”

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
May 11, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

Wisdom teeth usually appear in the later teen years. Unfortunately, wisdom teeth sometimes grow and cause pain and other problems in the mouth. The longer a patient holds on to wisdom teeth, the harder they can be to extract later. Dr. Jeffrey A. Kendrick, DMD performs wisdom tooth extraction at Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA.

Is tooth extraction painful?

Dentists use either general or local anesthesia to sedate the patient. You don't feel the procedure, but you will need someone to help you afterward while you recover.

Several signs could mean you need your wisdom teeth pulled. Do you experience any of the following?

Congestion of the sinus areas

Sometimes wisdom teeth rub against the soft tissues of the sinuses, making it hard to breathe.

Need for straightening of the teeth

If your wisdom teeth do not fit in your mouth, they can cause crowding of the other teeth. Removing the wisdom teeth give your other teeth more room.


Wisdom teeth grow in the back of your mouth. Because of this, it is sometimes hard to brush and remove all the food that may be stuck. This can lead to cavities in the wisdom tooth and the teeth surrounding it.

Pain and inflammation

It can be hard to chew or brush your teeth because of the discomfort. There may also be irritation of the gums and swelling. You may also experience pain in the jawbone.

If your answer is "yes" to one or more of these, you may need to have your wisdom teeth extracted. Check with your Fayetteville, GA dentist to see if wisdom teeth extraction can bring relief from any of these conditions.

Maybe you have been looking for a dentist and are thinking about getting your wisdom teeth removed. If so, reach out to Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA. Call 770-460-9795 to make an appointment.

By Heritage Dental Associates, PC
June 19, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: wisdom teeth  

Find out if it’s time to have your wisdom teeth extracted.

Many people wonder, “Why do we have teeth that we just have to get pulled anyway?” This is a great question and one that experts are wisdom  Teethstill trying to determine. Some believe that these teeth were helpful for our ancestors to tear apart raw meat, vegetables and roots since they didn’t have knives or cutlery. Of course, their jaws were probably larger and able to accommodate that extra set of molars; however, today many people are turning to our Fayetteville, GA, dentist Dr. Jeff Kendrick to have their wisdom teeth removed.


Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

While there are some people who won’t need to have these molars removed, most people will need to. Luckily, we don’t need these molars anymore because we have other methods for being able to soften foods, from cutting them into bite-sized pieces to boiling and steaming.

Of course, as our methods for cooking and eating have changed our bodies have also changed over the centuries. Our jawbones are now smaller than those of our ancestors, which means that 32 teeth are just a little too many. Luckily, we don’t need those wisdom teeth in order to eat properly. The bad news is that because there isn’t enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt they are often impacted, which means that they only partially emerge through the gums. This can lead to a variety of problems such as:

  • Increased risk for cavities or gum disease
  • Increased risk for infection
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Shifting teeth and misalignments (e.g. crowding; spaces between teeth)


How do I know that my wisdom teeth will need to come out?

If you’re visiting your Fayetteville, GA, general dentist every six months for checkups, as you should, then we will be able to take X-rays once a year to monitor the progress of your wisdom teeth, which usually developing around the teen years. Of course, you may want to schedule a consultation with us if you or your teen’s wisdom teeth begin to cause:

  • Pain and irritation
  • Gum inflammation
  • Trouble eating
  • A cyst to form around the wisdom tooth
  • Symptoms of a cavity
  • Crowding or the rest of your teeth to shift out of place

Whether you have questions about a wisdom teeth extraction or you want to find out if you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, call your dentist Dr. Jeffery Kendrick at Heritage Dental Associates in Fayetteville, GA, today to learn more.