What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are the last four molars to develop in humans. They often begin to come through into the mouth from 18 – 25 years of age.  They’re located in the back of the mouth, behind our first molars and second molars. Their growth patterns can vary for each individual and may be influenced by a variety of factors, including jaw size and shape,  genetic factors, and the amount of space available for tooth development. For some people wisdom teeth come into the mouth without notice but for others all or one of their wisdom teeth may become stuck or impacted — that is, they don’t have enough room to fit correctly in your mouth. Sometimes they even form on the wrong angle getting stuck behind the other molars. When this happens, complications can be severe. As a result, there can be many benefits to removing wisdom teeth that could cause future problems. 

10 Reasons to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth

Here are ten reasons why you should possibly remove your wisdom teeth:

Difficult to Keep Clean

The most common problem with wisdom teeth is that they can be difficult to keep clean, especially if they are impacted and get stuck part way through the gum. This can lead to plaque and bacteria buildup, which can create dental decay. In some cases, this may also result in gum disease or even tooth loss.

Prevent Infection

One of the most common complications is infection either in the surrounding soft tissue or in the tooth from deep decay. When an impacted wisdom tooth is not fully erupted, it can lead to hard to clean areas that can become a breeding ground for bacteria and can lead to infection. Infection of the gums or teeth  can take time to develop, but when it does, it can be painful and require treatment. 

Damage to Nearby Teeth

Impacted wisdom teeth can often come through on different angles and at different heights out of the gum. This can lead to food trapping and decay in the back of the adjacent molar. In some instances the wisdom tooth can even resorb part of the adjacent molar as it tries to erupt. 

Risk for Complications Increase with Age

Wisdom teeth usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood. However, sometimes they come through earlier or later. The longer some impacted wisdom teeth are around, the more risk that they may develop a problem. Removing them before they cause a problem could have multiple benefits.

Infection May Lead to More Serious Consequences

When wisdom teeth don’t have enough room to fit correctly in your mouth, problems can arise from the buildup of plaque on the surfaces of the teeth and under gums. Plaque is a sticky film made up of bacteria that forms when you don’t brush and floss an area of your mouth regularly. Around partially through wisdom teeth this plaque and trapped food can lead to inflammation and infection. The gum around your wisdom tooth can become swollen, red, tender, and cause pain. This is referred to as pericoronitis. 

This plaque can also lead to dental caries in the wisdom teeth that left untreated can eventually lead to nerve infection and abscess formation. In severe cases a spreading infection causing swelling can also occur. 

Crowding of Teeth

The crowding of teeth is a common issue, and when you don’t have enough room for your wisdom teeth to develop, they can grow sideways or get impacted. These fully or partially impacted wisdom teeth can lead to tooth decay and gum disease in the future. Wisdom teeth that are not able to come out naturally due to lack of space often need to be removed surgically.

Multiple infections Can Lead to Bone Loss

Impacted wisdom teeth that suffer from recurrent bouts of infection or inflammation can have bone loss occur in the bone around them. This can lead to larger areas for food trapping and plaque build up and increase the risk of future infections. 

Alleviate and Prevent Pain

When impacted, wisdom teeth can become infected and inflamed.  This can cause pain in your mouth that can even radiate away from the tooth up your jaw to your ear. Wisdom teeth can also cause problems with adjacent teeth in the mouth leading to them becoming infected or painful also. 

Extensive Tooth Decay

Extensive tooth decay may lead to the need for wisdom teeth extraction. The wisdom teeth are hard to clean and can get dental cavities and gum disease. Once you have extensive tooth decay, you may need a wisdom tooth extraction to remove infection and prevent damage occurring to adjacent teeth. 

Prevent Cysts

When a wisdom tooth is unable to fully erupt and it remains impacted, it can have a  cyst form. These cysts can form around the impacted tooth and press against other teeth. When this occurs, it may lead to resorption. This may result in needing to have the wisdom teeth removed. 

Are There Any Risks with Wisdom Teeth Removal?

Wisdom teeth extraction can be uncomfortable, and you will experience post op pain but your dentist will prescribe you pain relief medications to help control the pain. Often wisdom tooth pain can be managed with over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen or paracetamol. Sometimes, antibiotics are also prescribed. With wisdom tooth extraction, your dentist will remove the entire tooth but may also need to remove some of the surrounding gum tissue or bone. There are a few things to expect post op such as pain, bleeding, bruising, and swelling. There is also a risk of post op infection or dry socket (where the clot is lost from the extraction site). Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to help with infection as well as swelling and pain after surgery.

Summary

Removing your wisdom teeth can significantly improve your oral health and the overall health of your mouth. This procedure can also help you avoid future problems with infection, tooth decay, gum inflammation, and bone loss. Wisdom teeth extraction is a common procedure that is often done in the dental practice. But day surgery for their removal is also common as an outpatient surgery. Your dentist will review the dental health of the teeth next to your wisdom teeth before  performing the surgery to make sure they are healthy and not affected by the wisdom teeth.

To prevent or address problems with your wisdom teeth, see your dentist regularly. They can identify potential problems and help you develop a plan to fix it, which may include a trip to see an Oral Surgeon if your wisdom teeth are particularly impacted or difficult to remove. At Beaches Dental Mona Vale, we can help you with your wisdom teeth and any other dental issue that you might have. Schedule an appointment  with us on our website, or call us at (02) 9997 8822 so we can help you improve your dental health.