Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt within the mouth. When they align properly, and gum tissue is healthy, wisdom teeth do not have to be removed. Unfortunately, this does not generally happen. The extraction of wisdom teeth is necessary when they are prevented from properly erupting within the mouth. They may grow sideways, partially emerge from the gum, and even remain trapped beneath the gum and bone. Impacted teeth can take many positions in the bone as they attempt to find a pathway that will allow them to erupt successfully.
These poorly positioned impacted teeth can cause many problems. When they are partially erupted, the opening around the tooth allows bacteria to grow and may eventually cause an infection. The result – swelling, stiffness, pain, and illness. The pressure from the erupting wisdom tooth may move other teeth and disrupt the orthodontic or natural alignment of teeth. The most serious problem occurs when tumors or cysts form around the impacted wisdom tooth, resulting in the destruction of the jawbone and healthy teeth. Removal of the offending impacted tooth or teeth usually resolves these problems.
Early removal is recommended to avoid such future problems and to decrease the surgical risk involved with the procedure.
Benefits of Early Removal
Having your wisdom teeth removed while still in your teen age years, often before symptoms are present, provides many advantages to waiting until you are older. Among the more common advantages are:
- Avoiding the discomfort and risk of infection associated with partially erupted wisdom teeth
- More complete and faster healing
- Decreased chance of post-operative problems such as infection, numbness from nerve injury, or injury to nearby teeth during surgery
- Decreased chance of wisdom teeth causing crowding of your other teeth or cavities in the adjacent molars
- Less disruption of school and work related
These things are possible due to the incomplete root development of the wisdom teeth at the time of their removal. Removing wisdom teeth prior to the roots being fully formed will allow your surgeon to provide you with the best possible treatment. Compare the x-rays below and note the difference in root formation and position of the wisdom teeth.