Wisdom Teeth Removal

General information on wisdom teeth:

Wisdom teeth are the very back teeth on either side of the upper and lower jaws, and are more correctly described as the third molar teeth. They are the last teeth to erupt into the gum-line, usually between the ages of 17 and 21.

Early Removal of Wisdom Teeth.

Your dentist may recommend early removal of one or more wisdom teeth due to the following reasons.

  1. There is not enough room for the tooth to push through.
  2. You need orthodontic work and the remaining teeth must not be over-crowded by wisdom teeth.
  3. The tooth has started to cause trouble. It should be removed soon so pain, infection or other problems do not get worse.
  4. It is best to have troublesome wisdom teeth removed while the person is young. In young people, a tooth's roots have not formed totally and the bone surrounding the tooth is softer. This allows easier removal of the tooth, and there is less risk of damage to nerves, bone or other teeth.

Possible problems arising from impacted wisdom teeth.

  1. By far the most common problem associated with lower wisdom teeth is infection of the overlying gum, a condition called "pericoronitis". This is a painful and occasionally serious infection. Treatment often involves use of antibiotics. Wisdom teeth, which are partially erupted through the gums, are most likely to be affected. It is preferable to remove such teeth before they become infected, as there are fewer complications with healing.
  2. There is often a pocket between the wisdom tooth and the tooth in front that is difficult to keep clean. This may lead to food trapping and decay starting in the wisdom tooth, or worse, in the second molar tooth in front. This can cause bad breath and an unpleasant taste.
  3. Many orthodontists believe that pressure from the developing wisdom teeth can cause the front teeth to become overcrowded, and removal of wisdom teeth is often recommended before or immediately after orthodontic treatment is completed.
  4. Pressure from a wisdom tooth pushing on the second molar tooth in front, will occasionally cause the root of the second molar tooth to be absorbed, with subsequent damage to, or loss of, the second molar tooth.
  5. Wisdom teeth buried beneath the surface are sometimes associated with development of a cyst, which may cause considerable damage to the jawbone, or more rarely be associated with development of tumours.
  6. Impacted wisdom teeth constitute a weakness in the lower jaw, and this is the most common site for a fracture when a broken jaw occurs.

General Comments

Although wisdom teeth surgery is not something people look forward to, modern surgical and anaesthetic techniques have now combined to make such surgery a far more acceptable experience than in the past.

If you have any further questions that you would like answered about wisdom teeth or their surgical removal, please do not hesitate to contact our dental rooms.

Any surgical or invasive procedure carries risks. Before proceeding, you should seek a second opinion from an appropriately qualified health practitioner.

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