Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are the last teeth to develop and appear in your mouth. They come in between the ages of 17 and 25, a time of life that has been called the “Age of Wisdom.”
Wisdom teeth may not need to be extracted if they grow in completely and are functional, painless, cavity-free, disease-free and in a hygenic environment with healthy gum tissue. They do, however, require regular, professional cleaning, annual check-ups and periodic X-rays to monitor for any changes.
When a tooth doesn’t fully grow in, it’s “impacted”– usually unable to break through the gums because there isn’t enough room or it is growing sideways. 90% of people have at least one impacted wisdom tooth.
Why Do Wisdom Teeth Need to be Removed?
Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to successfully erupt. These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. The pressure from the erupting wisdom teeth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. Because they are in an area that’s hard to clean, partially erupted wisdom teeth can also invite bacteria that lead to gum disease. Oral bacteria can also travel through your bloodstream and lead to infections and illnesses that affect your heart, kidneys and other organs. In some cases, a cyst or tumor can form around the base of the impacted tooth, which can lead to more serious problems as it hollows out the jaw and damages surrounding nerves, teeth and other parts of your mouth and face.
Generally, wisdom teeth should be surgically removed when there are:
- Infections and/or periodontal (gum) disease
- Cavities that can’t be restored
- Cysts, tumors or other pathologies
- Damage to neighboring teeth
Removal of the offending impacted teeth usually resolves these problems. Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
With an oral examination and X-rays of the mouth, Dr. Allen can evaluate the position of the wisdom teeth and predict if there are present or may be future problems. Studies have shown that early evaluation and treatment result in a superior outcome for the patient. Patients are generally first evaluated in the mid-teenage years by their dentist, orthodontist or by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
Because the surgery is done using IV sedation, the patient, or patient’s guardian if a minor, will be given the *Instructions for Intravenous Sedation or General Anesthesia, as well as a prescription for pain medication should it be needed after surgery and antibiotics.
Frequently Asked Questions - Wisdom Teeth Extraction
When do we need to extract the wisdom tooth?
If you have experienced any of these symptoms then you have to opt for an extraction of impacted wisdom tooth.
- Pain and repeated infection on the soft tissues of the gum around the tooth
- Cyst formation, Decay of the adjacent tooth caused by the impacted wisdom tooth, gum disease and tumor forms around the tooth.
Is Wisdom tooth removal procedure more difficult than the removal of another tooth?
Not really, but you may experience mild discomfort because of few reasons
- The roots of wisdom tooth can be multiple and have many anglulations
- Often it is partially covered by gum and the jaw bone
- The jaw bone in the area of wisdom tooth is particularly dense
How can we classify the impacted wisdom tooth?
- Depends on the direction its erupting
- Depth of the impaction
- Amount of space for tooth eruption
- Amount of soft tissues or bones covers them