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Why are wisdom teeth removed?

Dec 14, 2023oral surgery

Why are wisdom teeth removed?

In the absence of any concerning symptoms, it is not typically recommended to extract wisdom teeth. This is due to the lack of established advantages in undergoing such procedures and the potential for associated complications.

Dental concerns may arise due to impacted wisdom teeth or the ones that are yet to fully emerge through the gum surface. Plaque build-up can occur around the wisdom teeth, resulting in bacterial accumulation and food entrapment. This occurrence can affect dental hygiene and potentially lead to complications such as:

  • Tooth decay (commonly known as dental caries)
  • Periodontal disease (commonly referred to as gingivitis or gum disease)
  • Abscess: A bacterial infection in the tissue surrounding your wisdom teeth can lead to the accumulation of pus, commonly referred to as an abscess.
  • Cysts and benign growths: On rare occasions, an impacted wisdom tooth may result in the formation of a cyst – an abnormal pouch containing fluid that can swell and cause discomfort.

Antibiotics and antiseptic mouthwash can effectively treat a considerable number of these issues.

When alternative treatments have failed, the extraction of wisdom teeth is commonly suggested.

What are wisdom teeth?

The third molars positioned at the posterior of your oral cavity are commonly known as wisdom teeth. These teeth are the last ones to surface in the mouth, hence their name. Their emergence typically occurs between the ages of 17 and 21, which is a period when an individual may have acquired some level of wisdom.

There are individuals who maintain their wisdom teeth throughout their lifespan, whereas some opt to undergo a wisdom tooth extraction procedure even before these teeth fully erupt from the gums.


When Wisdom Teeth Are a Problem

Typically, the extraction of wisdom teeth is a necessary measure due to their negative impact on neighboring teeth. This is frequently the result of inadequate space for growth due to pre-existing teeth. Despite this, they must still emerge and may even develop in various orientations within the jaw, such as horizontally.

Frequently encountered complications related to the development of wisdom teeth are:

  • Remaining concealed within the gums, ultimately leading to entrapment or impaction in the jaw, consequently causing infection or abscess that negatively impacts the roots of surrounding teeth and causes erosion of bone support.
  • The emergence of certain teeth through the gum line can pose difficulties in terms of visibility and hygiene maintenance, leading to the accumulation of harmful bacteria that can trigger conditions such as periodontal disease and oral infections.
  • The full eruption of a tooth can lead to detrimental effects on adjacent teeth as it grows at an angle, leading to overcrowding and potential harm to surrounding healthy teeth.

In order to prevent potential damage in the future, a subset of dentists may suggest extracting wisdom teeth which may not fully develop. Additionally, certain dental professionals may recommend early extraction before the full development of both the teeth and jawbone. It has been observed that patients of a younger age exhibit quicker recuperation rates and are less likely to experience complications such as growth of impacted wisdom teeth or infections during adulthood.

Understanding the Possible Side Effects of Wisdom Teeth Extraction

A majority of individuals experience post-operative swelling in their mouth or cheeks, causing temporary difficulty in opening their mouth for a few hours or up to several days. While some may experience pain shortly after the procedure, it is typically short-lived.

In the event of pain recurrence after a span of four to five days, coupled with swelling or halitosis, the wound might have incurred an infection. This scenario arises as a result of premature detachment of the dried blood that seals off the wound, leaving it vulnerable to contamination. Complications resulting from oral infections can effectively be prevented by the use of antiseptic mouthwashes or gels. In most cases, resorting to antibiotics is not necessary.

During the procedure, there is a possibility of damage to nerves and blood vessels which can lead to bleeding and temporary numbness in the tongue or face. Although rare, serious infections have been reported as well. It is possible for up to one out of hundred individuals to experience enduring complications following the procedure, which may include the development of numbness or harm to adjacent teeth. The likelihood of such an outcome will be influenced by the scale and nature of the required treatment.

The extraction of wisdom teeth is usually performed with the aid of local anesthesia. In cases where the procedure becomes intricate, the implementation of general anesthesia may be necessary.

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