What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are typically the final four teeth that emerge from the gums. These teeth usually erupt when individuals reach the ages of 17 to 25. These teeth appear at the end of the adolescence stage to mark the beginning of adulthood hence the name ‘wisdom’ teeth.

Should you get your wisdom teeth extracted?

People choose to have their wisdom teeth removed for several reasons. For starters, there are those with inadequate space in the mouth so the wisdom teeth don’t have anywhere to go when they begin to come out. This causes the wisdom teeth to get stuck in the gums, which is potentially dangerous. This condition is known as ‘impacted tooth’.

An impacted tooth can cause:

  • Serious infection
  • Cysts and tumours
  • Danger to the surrounding teeth

The impacted tooth can be stuck in different ways inside the jaw:

Soft tissue impaction

When the top of the wisdom tooth comes up through the bone and it is somewhat obstructed by the gum tissue, it’s known as soft tissue impaction. One of the disadvantages of this type of tooth impaction is that it makes it very difficult to keep the area clean. Food can be easily stuck below the gum. This can cause serious decay and infections.

Partial-bony impaction

When the tooth has protruded slightly below the surface of the bone but part of the crown is still underneath the gum tissue, it’s known as partial-bony impaction. This type of impaction is also known to expose the patient to decays and infection.

Complete-bony impaction

This occurs when the wisdom tooth doesn’t erupt at the jawbone. For this reason, removing the wisdom tooth is more complicated and requires a unique approach.

At our dental clinic, we recommend wisdom tooth removal for patients who are experiencing pain, decay, infection or swelling. In some cases, our dentist will remove the wisdom teeth to prevent these symptoms from occurring in the first place.

Why you shouldn’t leave an impacted tooth in your mouth

An impacted wisdom tooth needs to be removed because it can bring several issues. We’ll go over some common issues of impacted teeth below:

Tooth crowding

A common belief is that an impacted tooth can put pressure on the other teeth that have already erupted. They can make the other teeth misaligned or crooked. Although there is no medical evidence to prove this opinion, it’s a widespread belief worth mentioning.

Infection

Impacted teeth can contribute to bacteria and food hiding underneath the gums, causing infections to occur. These infections are often painful and sometimes very dangerous.

Disease

Areas in the mouth close to the impacted wisdom teeth can have cysts and tumours.

Damaging surrounding healthy teeth

The second molars, usually located next to the wisdom teeth can get damaged when too close to the impacted tooth. This especially happens if the area is attacked by an infection, gum disease or even cavities.

Do you need your wisdom teeth removed?

To find out if you need your wisdom teeth removed, walk to our dental clinic for a comprehensive examination of your mouth. The dentist will look at the wisdom teeth as well as the other surrounding teeth to determine whether or not there’s a need for removal. The dentist will look at the condition and determine if removal will solve an existing problem or a future one. He/She is going to take digital or panoramic x-rays to have a close look at the positioning of the teeth as well as any underlying issues that may not be easily identified with a visual examination.

We always advise patients to seek consultation for wisdom teeth early on – ideally in their mid-teenage years. This helps the dentist to catch problems before they become serious and provide treatment to achieve optimal results. A comprehensive examination is a must for the dentist to understand the full extent of the situation and make proper recommendations.

How are wisdom teeth extracted?

The wisdom teeth removal process is conducted at the dental office in a surgery setting. Local anesthesia or intravenous sedation may be used depending on the degree of impaction. There’s no overnight stay needed for this procedure. Once it’s complete, you can return home with special instructions given by your dentist on how to take care of yourself to speed up the recovery process. You may also be given some medication to help relieve the pain, discomfort or swelling after the procedure.

King West Dentistry