Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last teeth to grow in and are located far in the back of your mouth. Depending on your circumstances, your wisdom teeth may need to be removed to prevent various dental problems.
In this article, we take a look at the main reasons why it’s important to have your wisdom teeth removed, and what the risks are if your wisdom teeth are not removed.
Medical reasons why you should have your wisdom teeth removed
Wisdom teeth extraction is not always necessary. It depends on your individual situation. In this section, we’ll explain the main medical reasons for removing wisdom teeth. This will help you understand why it is sometimes the right choice to have your wisdom teeth removed.
Removing wisdom teeth to keep your teeth aligned
Depending on the amount of space in your mouth, your wisdom teeth may not have enough room to grow in properly. As a result, they may cause your entire dentition to shift, which could lead to the need for costly orthodontic corrections.
Aside from the aesthetic issues of misaligned teeth, a lack of space can also lead to dental malocclusion, or a misaligned jaw or bite, which will require treatment.
Preventing the risk of infection and inflammation
Wisdom teeth are often difficult to clean due to their location. This can lead to the accumulation of bacteria and food debris, promoting gum infections (gingivitis) and inflammation. Preventive removal of wisdom teeth can play a crucial role in preserving the health of all your gums and teeth.
Avoid the development of cysts
Another concern related to wisdom teeth is the potential formation of various oral pathologies, including cysts or lesions.
Wisdom teeth develop in a kind of “pocket” inside your jaw. In some situations, wisdom teeth can become trapped within their enclosure, leading to the formation of cysts or lesions.
This can lead to damage (or even deterioration) to the jawbone and the structure of neighbouring teeth. Wisdom teeth may need to be removed to avoid these types of problems.
Limit the risk of tooth decay
Partially impacted wisdom teeth are sometimes difficult to clean. As a result, it is possible to develop cavities that are painful and difficult to treat.
What is the procedure for removing wisdom teeth?
If you decide to have your wisdom teeth removed, you can rest assured that the operation poses few complications and is relatively quick. Note that the exact procedure for removing wisdom teeth will depend on your situation.
If your medical situation is straightforward, you may go through the procedure using a local anaesthetic. On the other hand, if all of your wisdom teeth must be extracted, or if your case is more complex, the operation will probably be performed under general anaesthetic.
When should wisdom teeth be extracted?
There’s no perfect time to have wisdom teeth surgery, as circumstances vary from one individual to another. Age, tooth alignment and other symptoms all play a role in the timing of the intervention.
If you have regular check-ups or are experiencing pain, you can ask for a 3D X-ray to determine whether or not you need to have your wisdom teeth extracted.
Here are some symptoms that may indicate it’s time to have your wisdom teeth extracted.
When a wisdom tooth is partially erupted
Wisdom teeth sometimes tend to erupt only partially. If you find yourself in this situation, the surrounding tissues may become irritated, leading to inflammation that encourages bacteria to proliferate in the gums. This condition is called pericoronitis. The associated inflammation of the gums can cause considerable pain in the jaw, making it difficult to open the mouth, creating a bad taste and making chewing difficult.
To resolve this problem, local oral hygiene measures are recommended. However, if inflammation and pain persist, it may be necessary to have your wisdom teeth extracted.
If you lack space in your jaw
As wisdom teeth begin to develop, they can disrupt your dental alignment. If the jaw doesn’t have enough space to accommodate these new teeth, they may become blocked. For this reason, it’s a good idea to consult a specialist about the layout of your jaw, even before the first signs of your wisdom teeth appear.
Dental X-rays are an invaluable tool for identifying problems related to jaw size and shape, allowing a surgeon to intervene quickly and extract wisdom teeth while they are still forming. Preventive extraction is designed to avoid future complications associated with the eruption of wisdom teeth.
If you notice symptoms linked with your wisdom teeth
As your wisdom teeth grow in, you may experience some unpleasant symptoms. If this is the case, it’s important to make an appointment with a specialist like us to analyze your situation. Here’s a list of symptoms related to wisdom teeth growth:
- Bad breath
- Pain in jaw or teeth
- Tooth decay in the back of the mouth
- Gum inflammation and difficulty eating
- Swelling of the face
- Sinus problems
Who can remove wisdom teeth?
Now that you know more about your wisdom teeth and why they may need to be removed, you may be wondering what type of specialist you should contact for help.
To have your wisdom teeth removed under the best possible conditions, contact a maxillofacial clinic. If you live in the Greater Montreal area, you can contact us using our online form. We look forward to welcoming you to our clinic.