In my twenty years of practice as an oral surgeon, this is the most common question teenagers and adults ask me. I thought it would be helpful to explain this. First, understand that a wisdom tooth or third molar is one of the teeth that is located in the very back of your mouth, most commonly under or partly through the gums. These erupt between the ages of 15 and 20. Most adults have four wisdom teeth, one in each of the four quadrants, but it is not uncommon to be born without one. The vast majority of people do not have space in their mouth for their wisdom teeth and they are “impacted” or lead to a crowded environment that is difficult to clean.
Statistically speaking, your wisdom teeth WILL cause you problems in your lifetime so it is recommended by me and most dentists to have them removed when you are young. I suggest you have your wisdom teeth taken out even if they don’t hurt. Less than 2% of adults age 65 years or older maintain the teeth without cavities or periodontal disease and 13% maintain un-impacted wisdom teeth without cavities or periodontal disease. According to a recent report, every year from about 5 million people have 10 million wisdom teeth are removed. Although I rarely meet a teenager or young adult that wants to go through the extraction, 98% of adults have had to undergo removal of these teeth so believe me that it is far easier when you are under 25.
What impact does an “impacted wisdom tooth” have?
Impacted wisdom teeth (or impacted third molars) are wisdom teeth which do not completely erupt into the mouth because of a blockage from other teeth (impaction). And if the wisdom teeth do not have an open or clear connection/pathway to the mouth, I have seen my patients experiencing some pain which develops with the onset of inflammation or infection or damage to the adjacent teeth. I advise my patients that just because there isn’t any pain due to your wisdom teeth, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing wrong. Generally, impacted or “blocked” teeth can’t break through your jaw and get into your mouth and form there. (Depending on the size of the mouth or any other reason like the teeth grow at an obtrusive angle to other teeth). The impacted tooth can damage the adjacent teeth if they push against it. Even if the tooth erupts into the mouth there is inadequate space for cleaning so they become decayed over time. It is better (and easier) for you to get them removed at a younger stage of your life as the bones in your mouth are denser when you get older.
Impacted wisdom teeth are classified by the direction and depth of impaction, the amount of available space for tooth eruption and the amount soft tissue or bone that covers them. The classification structure allows clinicians to estimate the probabilities of impaction, infections and complications associated with wisdom teeth removal. Wisdom teeth are also classified by the presence of symptoms and disease. Treatment of an erupted wisdom tooth is the same as any other tooth in the mouth.
If not removed, what can happen?
Some people never have their wisdom teeth removed and are fine, but this is uncommon. Research on wisdom teeth is clear that the majority will create problems. They can damage the other teeth around them as the third molars can push them and cause damage to the teeth or gum problems. The jaw bone can develop cysts if formed around these new teeth which needs to be treated immediately to prevent any damage to the nerves or hollowing of your jaw. Tissues around its gum area can swell and make it hard to clean.
Over the years, I have observed that patients have even had sinus problems like pain, congestion. Wisdom teeth can cause swelling of the gums around and these swollen gums can lead to cavities and growth of bacteria. And more often than not, these impacted teeth can be a hindrance for the dental work done by your braces, bridges as it effects the alignment of the teeth and the jaws.
Depending on your age, size and shape of your these teeth, most people just do not have space and eventually have problems. The procedure does not take long and I normally treat my patients while they are pleasantly sedated so do not feel anything. After a short recovery, you never need to worry about them again!
For more information on oral surgery procedures and the wisdom teeth treatment option, contact Dr. Kathleen Isdith or <a href=”http://www.harbourpointeoralsurgery this website.net/meet-us/meet-dr-brian-hart/”>Dr. Brian Hart at 425-353-1009 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.