If you have a tooth that is severely damaged either because of decay or a severely abscessed tooth, it may need to be removed. Wisdom teeth, when present, are often extracted even before problems develop for reasons explained below.
Impacted teeth are teeth that fail to emerge through the gums or emerge only partially. The most common teeth to become impacted are the wisdom teeth. An impacted tooth may remain stuck in gum tissue or bone for a number of reasons which can give rise to various complications including:
- Abscess of the tooth or gums
- Malocclusion of the teeth
- Chronic formation of plaque trapped between teeth and gums
- Frequent infection
- Frequent discomfort in the mouth
What Are Wisdom Teeth?
Wisdom teeth are the third, and final, set of molars that develop in our late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be valuable when healthy and properly aligned, but more often than not, they are misaligned and require removal. When wisdom teeth are poorly aligned, they can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone or nerves. In some cases, they may lean towards the second molars, making those teeth more vulnerable to decay by entrapping plaque and debris. Issues also arise when wisdom teeth become trapped within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone, or only partially break through the gum. This allows for an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, resulting in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. This can also lead to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location, and awkward positioning, makes brushing and flossing difficult.
How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?
By simply performing an x-ray periodically, we can evaluate for the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth. We may also decide to send you to an oral surgeon for further evaluation. Once we have evaluated your wisdom teeth, a course of action can be determined. Many times, wisdom teeth are extracted before any complications occur. This helps to avoid a more painful, or more complicated, extraction that might have to be done a few years later.
How Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?
Wisdom teeth that have fully emerged from your gums, can be extracted as easily as any other teeth. However, wisdom teeth that are underneath the gums and embedded in the jawbone may require oral surgery.
No Need To Fear!
Our office cares deeply about you and your dental health. We also understand the anxiety some feel when they need to visit the dentist, which is why we are also trained in the use of sedation. Sedation is a safe and effective method that has helped many who experience a level of anxiousness, or fear, when having dental work performed. Call our office today to make an appointment, and have your questions answered about wisdom teeth, sedation, or other dental concerns.