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Wisdom Teeth- To Remove Them or Not?

dental healthFor a large percentage of Americans, wisdom tooth removal is almost a rite of passage. Teenagers in Saratoga and across the country undergo the treatment to extract wisdom teeth every year. Why should you remove your wisdom teeth, and do they always need to be extracted in the first place? Let’s look at some of the reasons why dentists recommend that you have these teeth extracted.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Most wisdom teeth cause some pain at some period of their growth. For most people pain from the eruption of the teeth (when the teeth break through the gums as they come in) is temporary. Once the teeth have erupted, if they are in a good position and can be kept clean and healthy, then no treatment at all might be recommended. Unfortunately, in many cases, the wisdom teeth continue to cause problems. Most wisdom teeth do not come in straight, and can cause chronic pain or infection. These third molars are also more prone to tooth decay. When problems such as this occur on a regular basis, your dentist will likely recommend that you have the teeth removed in order to prevent continued problems and the potential for damage to your other teeth from decay or infection.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Your jaw might not be large enough for four more teeth to come into position as a teen. For many dental patients, wisdom teeth cannot erupt properly into the arch with the rest of the teeth. As they try to come in, they can turn sideways, or erupt only partially. When this happens, it is a condition called ‘impacted wisdom teeth’. Impacted teeth often become infected, swollen or painful. When the tooth becomes trapped in the bone, it can also form a cyst around it. A cyst is a fluid filled sac that can grow and damage the bone tissue around it. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, or have cysts or other pathology associated with them, your dentist will likely recommend that you have them extracted to avoid further complications.

Dental Crowding From Wisdom Teeth

When the third molars come in, or erupt, they can place a great deal of pressure on the roots of the adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or move out of alignment. In severe cases, the teeth across the jaw can become crooked. This can cause problems with your bite as well as affect the appearance of your smile. When teeth are misaligned, they are harder to keep clean and can develop cavities and gum disease. Wisdom teeth commonly cause orthodontic relapse for patients who have completed orthodontic treatment and braces. This is why so many orthodontists recommend removal of the third molars at the completion of orthodontic treatment.
If you have problems with your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment to find out if they must be removed in order to preserve your dental health. For most patients, wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure that requires very little recovery time. Contact your Saratoga dental office for more information about your wisdom teeth.