61% OF OUR PATIENTS POLLED CLAIM TO GRIND THEIR TEETH. Many people grind their teeth…
Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars that appear most commonly in your late teens. Not everyone has wisdom teeth. They, unfortunately, often grow in misaligned and will require removal. Misaligned wisdom teeth can be angled towards your second molars, which can lead to crowding and damage other teeth, your jawbone, and nerves. When there are issues with your wisdom teeth, we might recommend extraction to avoid complications.
What are impacted wisdom teeth?
Impacted wisdom teeth are prevented from fully erupting. They can remain under the soft tissue and/or the jawbone, but can also be partially exposed through the gum. When teeth are unable to erupt, there is often a physical barrier, such as other teeth. If the angle in your teeth is incorrect this will also prevent erupting.
Do you always have to remove wisdom teeth?
When your wisdom teeth are not impacted, we will not recommend removal if:
- Your wisdom teeth are healthy.
- They have fully erupted without issue.
- They are positioned correctly without causing issues with bite or your other teeth.
- They can be cared for without causing hygiene issues.
There is no reason to go through the extraction procedure with healthy, aligned, and fully erupted wisdom teeth. In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth that are completely covered by bone and gum tissue that do not appear to be changing in their position will not require removal.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
Other issues that will require wisdom teeth removal including:
- Not having enough room for the teeth to grow in properly.
- Teeth growing in at extreme angles.
- Teeth that are impacted and remain completely hidden within the gums.
- Partial eruption that leads to hygiene issues.
- Risk for the crowding of your other teeth.
It is often easier to remove wisdom teeth at a younger age, as this allows for faster recovery. Patients in their teens do not have fully formed roots and bone.
Why can’t I keep my partially erupted wisdom teeth?
When your teeth have partially erupted, they are exposed to bacteria, which can cause an infection. Infected wisdom teeth lead to pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and a feeling of general illness. Partially erupted teeth can also be prone to decay. This can lead to gum disease and cavities because these teeth are harder to keep clean.
Can we watch and wait to see if issues develop?
In cases where wisdom teeth aren’t fully covered by bone, it is often okay to take a watch-and-wait approach to see how the teeth progress. We can review the potential risks of taking this approach to help you decide what is best for you. We will also consider things such as how close the teeth might be to nerves, as well as issues such as partially erupted teeth developing cavities. Other things we would monitor include cellulitis and episodes of pericoronitis.
We will often decide to take an X-ray to look for signs that circumstances have changed. If we determine there is more risk to keeping your wisdom teeth, then we will recommend removal. It is important to keep track of the progress, as it will not always be obvious that a problem is developing.
Are there other reasons wisdom teeth should be extracted?
There are some changes to your teeth that could make extraction necessary, including:
- Ongoing pain
- Repeated infection
- Cysts or tumours
- Damage to nearby teeth
- Gum disease
- Extensive tooth decay
We will discuss these issues to determine if they are, in fact, caused by your wisdom teeth.
Why do some people not believe in removing wisdom teeth?
One of the main concerns about wisdom teeth removal is whether or not the extraction is justified. We will only recommend removal if there are issues that can lead to complications. The cost of wisdom teeth extraction is also a concern for those without dental benefits. When the extraction is required, it is far more cost-effective to make a simple financial plan with our office than it is to risk further, more costly complications down the road.
If you would like more information on wisdom teeth, contact Dawson Dental here.