Wisdom teeth are the last molars to emerge, and they’re also the only teeth that don’t fully develop. Interestingly, not every mouth develops wisdom teeth. However, most people have at least one or two, while others will have four complete molars.
Unfortunately, wisdom teeth are often misaligned and don’t erupt properly. When this happens, they’re called “impacted” teeth. The good news is that impacted wisdom teeth are often untroublesome, but they can cause serious problems depending on the person.
Many people do not need to have their wisdom teeth pulled when it’s not an issue. Below, we provide comprehensive answers regarding wisdom tooth extraction.
What Are Wisdom Teeth, and Why Do We Have Them?
Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars at the back of your mouth. They are the last teeth to emerge and are used for biting and chewing. Our wisdom teeth should help us chew our food better, but since they often don’t erupt properly, they do not serve their purpose.
The problem is that many people don’t have enough room in their mouths for their wisdom teeth to grow properly. This causes problems when these molars try to erupt because they can get trapped under other teeth or gum tissue, causing infection, pain, and gum problems.
Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
The removal of wisdom teeth is often necessary due to prolonged and severe pain from the teeth. Usually, the pain and discomfort can affect other body parts. Thus, many people decide to get a tooth extraction. They may opt for wisdom tooth removal for the following reasons.
- Crowding: The jawbone isn’t large enough to accommodate the incoming teeth — causing them to become crowded. This can result in gum disease and tooth decay.
- Impacted: Wisdom teeth didn’t erupt at all. Instead, they remain beneath the gums or partially erupt into an abnormal position inside the jawbone, causing pain or infection.
- Infection: If a tooth becomes impacted, it creates pockets in the gums where bacteria can thrive.
- Cavities: The crowded nature of wisdom teeth makes them especially prone to developing cavities.
Who Should Perform the Procedure?
A wisdom tooth extraction should be performed by a licensed dentist or oral surgeon. An oral surgeon will have more training in bone surgery.
When it comes to wisdom teeth, there are certain risks involved in the procedure. Thus, it’s imperative to talk with your dentist or oral surgeon about any concerns you have before the process.
When Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?
If you’re experiencing symptoms (such as pain and swelling) that suggest the presence of an impacted tooth, it is crucial to seek professional advice. A dentist can assess your situation and advise if tooth extraction would be beneficial.
Wisdom teeth should not be removed unless they are causing problems, or there is a good reason to suspect they will cause problems in the future. There are no commonly accepted long-term health benefits of removing them.
When Can Wisdom Teeth Stay?
Most patients would rather wait to have a dental procedure until absolutely necessary. However, wisdom teeth must be addressed before they become a painful issue. You don’t need a tooth extraction if:
- Your wisdom teeth have fully erupted with no crowding.
- Your wisdom teeth are healthy and without cavities.
- Your wisdom teeth grew in a good position.
- Your wisdom teeth aren’t crowding with your other molars.
- Your wisdom teeth can chew comfortably.
- Your wisdom teeth are accessible for proper cleaning.
- Your wisdom teeth aren’t causing piercing nerve pain at the back of your jaw.
If the above factors are all checked, then tooth extraction isn’t necessary. However, we suggest visiting your dentist first before making any final decisions.
Get Expert Advice From A Dental Professional
Getting your wisdom teeth pulled isn’t always necessary and should only be done if it’s really needed. If you need help with dental care or have concerns about your teeth, it’s always good to find an oral surgeon who is fully knowledgeable in providing quality treatments for patients.
At Green Valley Oral Surgery, we can help you understand wisdom teeth removal and provide you with all the facts to assure you make the right decision. Contact us today.